What I have learned about concession stands and volunteering over the years

What I have learned about concession stands and volunteering over the years

I am now a parent of older kids. I have one in college and one that is a junior in high school. My journey as a parent and a volunteer has been an adventure. I am in the waning years of long hours and manufactured energy. Making sure my kids have the best experience in whatever it is that they pursue, whether it is athletics, academics or the arts. Seeing the struggles for funding of these activities and how money is made to support organizations, led me to design and develop Blitz Concessions. Here is what I have learned about concession stands over the years.

Volunteers are hard to get

I have confirmed that the 90/10 rule is real. Only 10% of parents volunteer 90% of the time. It is hard to get people to work concessions, announce, do stats or anything as the years go on. People are not as interested in building community with other parents. You will send a lot of unanswered emails and texts. Do you find that people start to avoid you because they are afraid that you will ask them to work the concession stand?

However, what I feel is true is that if you get to know people, they will tell you what they like to do the most. Using this information as a coordinator makes it is an easier task to get help. For example, it is hard to get a vegetarian to work the grill to make hamburgers, am I right? Find the talents in your parent group and hone in on their interest. Someone who is really good on the computer and organized, is likely a good person to coordinate volunteers through one of the volunteer sign up platforms available. These days, with curbside pick up, it is just helpful to have someone pick up an order you placed online.

Finding volunteers is not a challenge that will go away any time soon. The reality is that it will continue to be a difficult task. However, I have seen a lot of success in giving everyone small tasks in an area that they are interested in helping. That takes a huge weight off of the 10% of the parents that are carrying the big load. It is important to promote how their help will help their kids. Never miss an opportunity to promote what the money raised has done for you group.

The money matters

In the concession stand specifically, most school groups volunteer because it makes a lot of money. It is a lot of work, but it is a captured audience at an event. Everyone eats before, during or after that event. Getting fans through the line and getting them to spend their money with you is important. The lines can be daunting and mistakes can me made. Wrong change given, items sold for less than they were supposed to be sold. We all know the pitfalls.

Blitz Concessions is a software platform that gives your organization the control to maximize revenue. Blitz Concessions wants your organization to succeed. This platform allows you to promote your concessions and pre-sell specialty food offerings, which allows you a “zero inventory” approach to a portion your stand. Anything that someone pre-orders is paid for upfront and eliminates the risk of waste.

Additionally, fans can order from their seats. What does this do for you? Takes the stress off of the volunteers staring at long lines while those people miss the event. Let’s not forget the potential sales missed because people don’t go to the stands at all because of the lines or limited food options. Let fans order when they want and send them a text when their order is ready. Everyone wants to be a part of something successful and help your organization make money. Bring good food into you stand and promote, promote, promote.

Theft Happens

Not a fun part of our fundraising world, right? You don’t have to search too far to read an article like this. You are working tirelessly to raise money for your organization and then someone steals from your group, but let’s face it, we make it easy. Most high school concession stands don’t have any inventory controls and no way to balance cash at the end of the night. Theft is not limited to taking cash. It includes giving away food. For all of the hard work that you do, you don’t want a single penny to go missing, especially through theft.

Blitz Concessions puts the controls in place to avoid people thinking that it is ok to give away food to friends or take cash from the drawer. When you put a system in place your volunteers know that you are keeping track and that the cash drawer needs to balance at the end of the night. This will prevent a lot of issues. As a courtesy to your volunteers, let each volunteer get a free drink or a combo meal of some sort and “ring it up”. This lets everyone know you are paying attention and that you have controls in place, but that you appreciate their help.

Purchase smart

It has been crazy to watch the past two years with COVID. The fall out of shortages in popular products and prices going up makes it even more important to buy smart. Don’t buy what doesn’t sell just to fill your stand! I am watching this happen as people are settling for whatever is available to put on the shelves. Word to the wise, that stuff will still be there in 6 months. You might find a couple of newcomers that take off, but most will go out of date. Don’t hang on to things that don’t sell either. Promote them on “sale” and get rid of them and then don’t buy them again. Blitz Concessions allows for inventory reports and sales reports to make sure that you have the information you need to order correctly for the next event.

 

Everything is a challenge these days! School budgets don’t allow for the “extras” that we want our kids to have access to 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.