08 May The Bright Side of Your Concession Stand
In the heat of the moment, literally IN THE HEAT, sometimes, organizations ask themselves if it is even worth the effort to open a concessions stand for events. It takes so much coordination. Getting your volunteers and products, ensuring the chocolates don’t melt, following the health codes, and many other daily challenges related to operating a concession stand. However, there comes a time to step back and reflect on your fundraising efforts. There are some significant pros to using a concession stand to raise money for your programs, which you might still need to remember about in the day’s craziness.
Volunteers are hard to get, but they free labor.
While the volunteer aspect of the concession stand is a major headache, you have to keep in mind that they are volunteering, and you are not paying them. In the past couple of years, we have all had the experience of going to our favorite restaurant to find a huge line and minimal seating. Signs at restaurants remind us that they are short-staffed. Article after article speaks to the woes of the restaurant industry. Hiring signs are taped boldly on every front door or large banners in front of the establishment. You will constantly battle the parents who don’t feel they have time to help or don’t want to help. However, you have one advantage that restaurants don’t have and will never have. You benefit from some leverage with many parents because the booster club pays for so many extras their kids enjoy, directly helping them. Ensure you have good documentation of your organization’s benefits to their kid. Line out the specific items your concessions stand profits go to, including their children. Including the cost per child for those benefits. People will respond. Some people can “write the check,” but we are still in a time when plenty of people need the generosity of booster clubs to help their children have the experience they want. Not having to pay for your help is a significant advantage compared to restaurants offering the same service as you – feeding people. Labor is one of the #1 expenses for restaurants; they envy your situation, believe it or not.
No rent to pay
Another significant advantage is that you are not paying rent and utilities for your space. Again, this is at the top of the list of expenses that restaurants must cover. In some instances, the facility has a small charge, but like labor, this is one of the most significant expenses that most businesses incur. You have the space you can use to make money for your organization. Concessions are an expected amenity for most events and a huge opportunity to capitalize on people wanting or needing to feed their families. Again, you are the envy of any restaurant that has significant overhead. If your group is contemplating whether it is worth taking on the concessions for your school, these two points are vital points to bring up.
What restaurants wouldn’t give to be you? You have “butt in the seat” customers with no other choices if they are at an event. Furthermore, those people that are at your event, by definition, are interested in supporting your program. They are going to eat before, during, or after your event. Most people with kids are running from place to place, getting their other kids, collecting last-minute items for the event, and coming in hot to the event, and they have yet to have time to eat. However, they may need to be more concerned about what kind of food is on the menu, so let them look ahead with our online menus. This is another advantage that you have over other food establishments that have to spend a lot of money every year to get customers in the door. One school we visited does $35,000 gross on one Friday night against their biggest rival.
Online ordering options
According to a recent article about online ordering, the demand and benefits of your stand are increasing. Online restaurant ordering statistics for restaurants will blow your mind, and there is no reason for your concession stand not to benefit in the same way. There is an opportunity for a 30% increase in your sales. The benefits include larger orders, increased accuracy of orders and inventory, and using fewer volunteers to fill online orders. The time you save by not having to “take” someone’s order at the window can be significant. A potential online customer can peruse your online menu, make selections, change their minds, and add to or alter an order with no pressure from the cashier or the people behind them in the line. This allows your volunteers to focus on finished, paid-for orders that only require fulfillment. Blitz Concessions offers you this opportunity to have online orders, with the added benefit of creating some items that are preordered only. This allows you to partner with a restaurant for them to make your food and help create a great menu without the headache of health code considerations and the possibility of over-ordering items.
I am pulling this from a prior post because it is so important. Don’t buy what doesn’t sell to fill your stand! Everyone is dealing with shortages from their favorite vendor. Many people use a Costco or Sam’s to fill their shelves. The prices are great, so we scour online shopping for anything that remotely matches our needs. Organizations are settling for whatever is available to put on the shelves. Word to the wise, that stuff will still be there in 6 months… or a year. You might find a couple of newcomers that take off, but most will go out of date. Consider spending a little more money at another retailer to get the exact mix of chips that sell or the mix candy box that doesn’t include the newest version of chocolate that won’t sell in your stand. Your concession stand is where M&M needs to find its next test market. You need to stock only what sells and stock a lot of it.
Only hang on to things that sell. Promote them on “sale,” get rid of them, and don’t repurchase them. Blitz Concessions allows for inventory and sales reports to ensure you have the information you need to order correctly for the next event. It is better to have fewer options and enough popular items to sell than to have a wide variety of stuff that no one wants.
Everything is a challenge these days! School budgets don’t allow for the “extras” we want our kids to access in school and other youth programs. Volunteers are tricky. So many challenges, but with Blitz Concessions, you have a great tool to help you with your stand. Click here to schedule a demo and see how we can help.
Leslie Harrell developed the Blitz Concessions platform with parent volunteers in mind, because she IS a volunteer parent. Not only does it have preordering capabilities (perfect for these times!), but it also helps you with managing inventory, scheduling volunteers, and staying organized. We know those binders and Excel sheets can be a bear, so consider using Blitz Concessions to make your job easier and continue supporting your school.