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What Athletic Directors Need to Know about the Concession Stand

Advocating for a School Concession Stand in Four Points

As an athletic director, there are many important decisions you must make. Don’t underestimate the impact a sports concession stand can have. It can bring a great value to your school. Here are some key points you need to know.


1. Return on Your Investment

A concession stand is worthwhile as it will earn a return on your investment. With affordable startup costs, the products offer a high profit potential. Costs on concession foods are low. (Most under $1.00 per serving.) Even when sold at a price of $2.00, a serving of popcorn can yield profit margins estimated at 70% or higher. This gives you the opportunity to earn more for your school. (Learn more about strategizing your pricing here.)


2. Menu Planning

When planning your menu, a recipe for success is to keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your menu with too many options or labor-intensive foods. Instead, stick with proven top performers like popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, and pretzels. Have a balance of both fresh and prepackaged foods. Grab-and-go items will save you time. Gold Medal offers ready-to-eat gourmet popcorn, cotton candy, and other snacks.


Ready Series line of self-serve popcorn machines with stadium background


3. Use Technology to Your Advantage

For more labor savings, transform the way you serve popcorn with the ReadyPop® 16-oz popper and popcorn dispenser in one unit. Push-button dispensing is more convenient and sanitary than other options, as it limits contact with staff. Plus, guests will enjoy the novelty of dispensing their own popcorn. (Also available: for larger venues, a 48-inch ReadyServe® popcorn display cabinet, or for smaller locations, the ReadyPop® Jr. 8-oz popper.) See Gold Medal’s Popcorn Dispensing line.


4. Engage Your Fans

You want fans to support your teams. Having a concession stand increases fan enjoyment and engagement. Concession foods are an experience that involves all the senses. Smelling and hearing popcorn freshly popping or watching someone operate a cotton candy machine attracts attention and sales. You can also have fun selling signature items like popcorn in your team colors. Fans appreciate it when you offer customized foods that they can’t get anywhere else.


Gold Medal has worked with schools of all sizes and has the knowledge and experience to help you be successful. Let us consult with you and show you the full potential of your concession stand. As the leading supplier of concession equipment and supplies, you’ll find everything from poppers to cotton candy machines, Sno-Kone® ice shavers, and more. Visit Gold Medal at or call us at 800-543-0862 to schedule a free consultation.

This article was originally published in Coach & Athletic Director Magazine.