Making Food the Main Attraction
5 Tips to Maximize Concession Stand Sales
Games, rides, entertainment, and attractions generate a buzz factor, but often the way to a guest’s heart is through their stomach. It is much more than just satisfying a hunger; fun foods are a vital part of the outdoor amusement experience! Concessions deliver substantial benefits including longer guest stays, increasingly satisfied customers, and attractive profit margins for operators. Customers respond to concession stands that engage all their senses: sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch. If you want to make an impact with food and beverage, let’s take a look at some proven tips that will help drive more sales at your stand.
1. Time for Technology
From the phones in our hands to our choices in entertainment, technology has gone from a luxury to a must-have. But you may wonder how does that apply to a concession stand? Technology advancements have led us to the ease of digital controls on equipment as well as the peace of mind of safety features, like PowerOff Control that turns off popcorn kettle heat after 15 minutes of idle time. Now, technology can transform the way you serve popcorn. No more scooping! With just the push of a button, guests will enjoy the novelty of dispensing their own popcorn. Push-button dispensing is more convenient and sanitary than other options, as it saves on labor and limits contact with staff. These dispensers are available in three different-sized units:
This type of technology is a worthwhile investment that aids not only in convenience but also in attracting customers.
2. Seasonal Specials
Customers want an experience that they can’t get anywhere else. So, the trick is to be innovative, without neglecting your traditional favorites. Find foods that can serve as a canvas for your creativity! Popcorn is an excellent example. You can season it with savory selections, spice it up, or sweeten it. And all you need are the proper ingredients. The Signature Shakes™ includes flavors like bacon, ranch, pizza, or jalapeño. While Signature Blends™ are the sweeter side with black cherry, blue raspberry, strawberry, or cinnamon. Some are shake-on flavors, while others require a cooker mixer. There are also eye-catching color-only options, which are great for holidays. But the idea is to offer something unique. Make your offerings seasonal to add appeal and a sense of urgency, plus avoid a long-term commitment to a permanent menu change. Other fun foods that can serve as a canvas for flavors are fried foods, fudge, waffles, and cotton candy.
3. Packaging and Presentation
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure that your foods look as good as they taste! This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Make a jumbo-sized version of your popcorn or cotton candy bag. Not only can you charge a premium, but it is free advertising when other guests see someone carrying an extra-large version of their favorite fun food. Or choose to go smaller and create a sampler package. If you offer multiple flavors of fudge for example, package it with bite-sized pieces of each. Another option is to offer souvenir cups or containers. It has a fun factor and is something that guests can take home with them.
4. Invest in Time-Saving Tools
Time equals money. Slow lines or long wait times will steer customers elsewhere. Even though this isn’t as flashy or exciting as some of the other suggestions, this practical point can save you where it matters most. Find the tools that will make your job easier. For bagging cotton candy, the Automatic Cotton Candy Floss Bagger is a huge time saver. Don’t struggle to open bags, this 120-volt blower shoots air along the front edge of the bags to keep one open and ready to fill. If you’re making Sno-Kones®, a dipper can make all the difference. Like an ice cream scoop, it gives you the familiar, smoothly rounded shape for picture-perfect snow cones every time. And for caramel apples, how much time are you spending trying to get the stick to stay inserted in the apple? The Stick Setter is a device like a plunger system that will insert the stick directly into the apple, consistently time after time. It saves you the trial and error of doing it by hand. When you implement these kinds of tools behind the scenes, it helps you to serve more customers.
5. Top Yourself
One of the things that makes standard concession foods so much fun is that they can be easily enhanced. A funnel cake with powdered sugar is a classic. But take it up a notch with fruit toppings, chocolate fudge, and/or whipped cream. Because it is customizable, it’s even more appealing to customers. The same principle applies to soft pretzels. You can offer a wide variety of dips from mustard to nacho cheese or chili. Or try cinnamon and sugar or icing for a sweet treat. And for the ultimate in inspiration, look no farther than loaded milkshakes. You can pair traditional milkshakes with caramel corn, cotton candy, candy bars, and even cake! The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Making your concession foods memorable is what will keep customers coming back for more. The most successful concession stands don’t necessarily work harder, but smarter. They recognize the need to enhance menu selections. Give guests an experience they’ll enjoy. And when you invest in these types of equipment and supplies, you’ll reap benefits that you’ll enjoy too!