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5 Concession Stand Tips to Maximize Food Sales

woman serving concession sweet treats to customers at an amusement park


Making Food the Main Attraction


When it comes to festivals, fairs, and outdoor attractions, concession foods are often the way to a guest's heart. Games, rides, and entertainment may generate a buzz, but food is a vital part of the outdoor amusement experience! Whether at a theme park or local festival, concession stands deliver substantial benefits including longer guest stays, increasingly satisfied customers, and attractive profit margins for food vendors.

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 concession stand.

A Close up of Gold Medals ReadyPop® chute dispenser.

1. Use High-Tech Concession Equipment

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. Offer 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 concession 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.

Whether you operate a small snack bar or a large concession stand, 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 concession food ideas that can serve as a canvas for flavors are fried foods, fudge, waffles, and cotton candy.  


Two women stare at each other in theme park holding cotton candy.

3. Consider Packaging and Presentation

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure that your concession 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 Supplies

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 concession supplies that will make your job easier.

For bagging cotton candy, the Cotton Candy Compact Bag Blower is a huge time saver. Don’t struggle to open bags any longer. 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 and reduce wait times at your food stand.


A strawberry waffle with real fruit and creme on a table in the sun.

5. Get Creative with Toppings

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!