Like any business, concessions stands don’t simply run themselves. It takes planning, organization, and hard work to operate a successful concession business that generates significant revenue and adds on to the event experience. While each concession stand is unique to the event, setting and venue, there are a few fundamental rules of thumb that operators should follow to avoid pitfalls. This guide includes 7 handy tips to help you decide if you’re on the right course, and manage a flourishing F&B stand.
All businesses need structure, the same thing goes for concession teams. Make sure to pick reliable and trustworthy individuals to manage your stand, and assign them clear roles and responsibilities according to each individual’s skills and preferences. Your manager should be in charge of keeping everything running smoothly and implementing any changes you ask for, as well as providing feedback on the stand. That includes optimizing the menu on a weekly or monthly basis, and manage the profit margins of each item. It also includes adopting new technology to make the operation smoother, or coming up with promotional campaigns to increase sales or strengthen customer loyalty.
2. Your Team
Just as important as reliable management is a well-structured, organized team. The first key to your staff running smoothly is effective duty delegation, ensuring that everybody knows exactly what they’re meant to be doing. Your manager should be in charge of this, but it’s good to discuss it with them and try out different people at different positions to ensure optimal role allocation.
It’s also crucial to make sure your employees are properly trained and feel confident in carrying out their responsibilities, as well as comfortable asking for assistance if they’re unsure. Try to encourage a healthy and honest work environment where your staff feel appreciated and valued, while ensuring that there’s no blurring of who is in charge.
Some places require stalls to obtain a permit before they’re allowed to trade in that location. So be sure to check with your local government (usually the city hall and the local health department) so that you can avoid a hefty fine or legal complications later on.
4. The Food
You can do all the planning and preparation in the world, but if your food isn’t up to scratch then it’ll all be for nothing. Selling a good product that you’re proud to serve will have customers coming back time and time again. Even in the most tourism-driven areas, winning over the locals will be a godsend for your business, and if the tourism is seasonal, locals will be your bread and butter through the quieter months.
“Don’t be afraid to pay a slightly higher price for quality product instead of simply opting for whatever is cheapest, because your patrons will taste the difference,” explains Maura A. Allen, a blogger at Brtistudent and PhD Kingdom. It’s a good idea to talk to wholesalers and trade vendors to try to build a business relationship that secures you a steady supply of quality product at a better rate than you’d pay as just a regular consumer.
5. Scout the Competition
Just as vital to your success as your own food is knowing what you’re up against. It’s a good idea to look at what else is available, both from other concession stands in the area and from similar indoor businesses, so that you can ensure there’s space for you to be successful with what you’re offering.
6. Utilize Add-Ons
When planning your menu, be sure to have some add-ons available for a small additional cost. Whether it’s just a second scoop of toppings or some multi-item combo deals, often a customer won’t think twice about paying a little extra when they’re already spending, and those bonus cents can really add up.
7. Take Advantage of Seasons and Trends
Once you’ve got your foundation solid and things are running as they should be, you can begin to experiment. Consider adding limited-time variations on your usual menu items, and be sure to take advantage of “in” flavors and styles. Through the colder months, you can try out something warmer, such as a ginger or spiced variation of your product or a hot drink, and during the summer, you can play to the heat with something more refreshing, like ice-cold drinks.
Concession stands are the lifeblood of any busy space; whether it’s a packed arena or a bustling city center, people are going to be hungry. Where there are hungry people, there’s money to be made. If you can perfect your stall and nail your market, you too can have your own thriving stall that’ll keep food on your table just as much as it does in customers’ hands!
Michael Dehoyos is responsible for editing and content marketing at both Next Coursework and Academic Brits. Alongside assisting companies in their marketing strategy concepts, he is a contributor to numerous sites and publications, as well as being a content creator for Academic paper help.