Fall Foods and Agritourism: The Perfect Pairing
Why Selling Fall Foods Will Enhance Your Seasonal Business
Fall is right around the corner, and if you run a pumpkin farm, corn maze, haunted house, or other autumn attraction, planning for the upcoming season should be in full swing. Besides nailing down design and pricing for your attraction, if you’re looking for ways to increase revenue this year, you should consider adding fall foods to your business. Here’s why.
Add Fall Foods to Intensify the Visitor Experience
People visit your farm or haunted house for the experience: the thrill of the scare, the puzzle of the corn maze, the excitement of picking just the right pumpkin for their family. Add to the experience with tastes and aromas that will make even stronger memories.
In an NBC News article, Howard Eichenbaum, director of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neurobiology at Boston University, said, “Olfactory has a strong input into the amygdala, which processes emotions. The kind of memories that it evokes are good and they are more powerful.”
Use enticing snacks like popcorn, pumpkin spice flavors, and caramel apples to evoke happy fall memories in your customers and also to create new positive associations between your concessions and their visit to your attraction to generate return visits year after year.
Increase Revenue with Fall Recipes
Initial costs for concession foods are relatively low, and profits consistently exceed food costs. With average profits ranging from 70-80%, adding food to your fall attraction is sure to increase your bottom line on its own.
But having food available will also help boost any other agritourism ideas you decide to implement. Adding a petting zoo, hayrides, or a pick-your-own pumpkin field? Visitors are more likely to stay – and pay – for additional features if they don’t have to leave when they get hungry. Offering snacks or more filling food options can make your business an extended destination.
How to Get Started – Fall Menu Ideas and More
Whether you’re starting a pumpkin farm or have been in the corn maze business for years, the process to begin selling fall foods and concessions is the same. When you’re first considering which foods to add, think about the amount of space you have available, electrical capacity for equipment, and the most popular times of day customers visit.
If your volume is high enough during peak meal times, you may want to offer heavier foods like pizza or nachos. Often, though, it’s best to start small. Prepackaged foods can be an excellent way to start out while you judge the level of interest your customers have. Bulk caramel corn and pretzels work well to gauge customer receptiveness.
To get the tantalizing aromas and distinct tastes that jumpstart positive memories, consider these treats:
- Caramel apples. Nothing says fall harvest time like fresh apples dipped in gooey caramel. These can be served whole on sticks, or cut in slices with caramel for dipping. They’re also easy to make in advance for busy days. Suggested equipment and supplies: Caramel Apple Warmer, Apple Hacker, Midway’s Finest Caramel Apple Dip.
- Pumpkin spice. The unofficial flavor of fall, pumpkin spice can apply to several kinds of foods. If you’re able to operate a fryer at your location, offer pumpkin spice funnel cakes. Suggested equipment and supplies: FW-12 Funnel Cake Fryer, Deluxe Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cake Mix, Sweet Selections® Pumpkin Spice Flavoring. (No deep fryer? No problem. Try fudge or a flavored drink.)
- Apple cider. Hot for a chilly fall afternoon, or a frozen slush for those days that still feel like summer, everyone loves apple cider. Suggested equipment and supplies: Frusheez® Slush Machine, Apple Cider Mix.
- Popcorn and/or caramel corn. Popcorn is a perfect treat any time of year, but there’s something about the freshly popped smell in the fall that is even more attractive, and adding caramel is a bonus. Suggested equipment and supplies: Gold Medal 12-oz. Easy Starter Popcorn Package, Caramel Glaze Pop®.
If you’re not sure which products will be best for you to start with, don’t worry. Discussing your business’s needs with a concession specialist to get a personalized recommendation will allow you to set up the most effective plan for your space and expected volume.
Find more concession recipes and how-to’s to get inspired for other fall menu ideas for your farm.