Get Smart: Build a Profitable Concession Stand Menu

Concession Stand Menu

Get Smart: Build a Profitable Concession Stand Menu

Ah, menu planning. It may come naturally to you, or maybe you feel like it’s a shot in the dark. Either way, it’s the first step in a profitable and smooth-running concession stand, and we’re here to help!

So, let’s dig in. First, make a list of equipment. Are you well-stocked with a cotton candy machine, ice shaver, popcorn machine, pretzel warmer and hot dog grill? Jackpot! You’re ready to start the year strong with some of the highest concession stand profit margin products around.

Satisfy Their Sweet Tooth

Did you know that cotton candy has a profit margin of almost 100 percent? It costs about 13 cents to make (and yes, that includes the little paper cup!) but you can charge up to $2.50 for the impossibly delicate strands of spun sugar. Similarly, cotton candy’s cooler cousin, shaved ice, is wonderful for early in the school year, while the weather is still steamy. If you’ve already got a functional ice shaver, and maybe a few bottles of syrup left from last year, you’re ready to make at least an 80 percent return on each little refreshing cup.

It’s a festival favorite. It’s a deep fried delight. It brings an 80 percent profit margin. It’s funnel cake time! Everyone loves pulling apart and sharing the sweet swirls, making it a great option for your menu, especially as the weather turns colder. Plus: Put that deep fryer to good work. You can customize your offerings, with funnel cakes on the menu for events that have fans sitting down and digging in. Then, when you’ve got folks up and moving, fries and corn dogs can take over the fryer.

Savory and Delicious Year-round

A big bag of salty, buttery popcorn, or a tray of nachos are classic concession stand fare. Ever wonder why? Smart concession stand managers know that these menu items average a 75 percent profit margin. Join the trend, but set your stand apart with toppings.

You might convert your standard nachos in a food boat to walking tacos. Serve the same taco meat and cheese directly in a bag of Fritos or Doritos with a fork. Plus, get creative with a few flavorful extras on the condiment table. A few jalapeno slices, some salsa or sour cream can make your customers excited to customize their meal.

These days, it’s easy to make the same ol’ commercially-made popcorn special for your customers. You can offer little shaker bottles of flavorings that rotate seasonally (think hot cocoa, or pumpkin spice) or even color-coordinate them to your school. (Pro tip: Most brands put Garlic parmesan and Cheesy jalapeno in a green bottle, Ranch and White cheddar in blue, and Bacon cheddar in red.) Want to really push popcorn personalization? We love the idea of offering your favorite sweet childhood cereals like Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch as mix-ins. Go wild!

We hope you’re feeling a little better about menu planning for your concession stand. Remember popcorn, nachos, shaved ice and cotton candy can bring you big profit margins that will help cover for the more expensive items that your fans will love pre-ordering when you have Blitz Concessions up and running. And just think: Next year, menu planning will be a breeze! Because you’ll have all of the Blitz Concessions reports from this year, it’ll just about do the work for you.

Learn How to Set Up Your Concession Stand

Have you been volun-told to manage the concession stand this school year? Or are you a returning parent volunteer and know there’s a better way to set up and manage the concession stand for success? Join Blitz Concessions Founder and Parent Volunteer Leslie Harrell for a free webinar on July 31st at noon CST to learn best practices for setting up your concession stand for success.