Fair Food, Food Carts, and the Food Concession Business

Table of Contents

Food Booth, The Entrepreneur's Complete Guide to the Food Concession Business,
Expanded 2nd Edition
Barb Fitzgerald

Introduction: What's in it for You?

This chapter is a realistic introduction to the concession business. You will learn what it takes to successfully start and run a food concession. How much time and effort is involved. What to expect the business to entail. And, most importantly, what you can reasonably expect to get out of it.

Part 1: Planning Your Business

1. What Type of Concession is Right for You?
Comparing Stationary Food Stands and Temporary Food Booths
Stationary Food Stands
Identifying and Evaluating Site Criteria
Identifying Potential Sites
Approaching the Landlord with a Food Stand Business Proposal
Designing a Stationary Food Stand
Planning Your Food Stand Menu

Did you know there are different types of concession opportunities to choose from? Concessionaires can make money at large fairs, small festivals, swap meets, auctions, sporting events...the list is endless. They can set up for business at a permanent location or travel from one event to the next. I describe the differences, list the positive and negative aspects of each one, and teach you how to design your business to maximize your sales at your particular venue or venues. Also learn about the process of establishing a stationary food stand business.

2. Getting Started Planning Your Concession Business
Define Your Personal and Financial Goals
Do Your Homework
Develop a Business Blueprint
Calculating Profitability

Brainstorming concession style! How to define your goals, organize your ideas, learn essential considerations, research options, and develop a road map for planning, designing, and implementing your complete plan. Success in the food concession business comes with thorough planning.

3. Licensing, Insurance, and Other Red Tape
The Health Department
Stationary Food Stand Licensing
Temporary Concession Licensing
Your Food Handler's Card
Other Permits
Your Business Identity

You will be provided essential information about the various types of licenses, permits, and insurance that are required for a concession business or food stand business, as well as detailed instructions how to acquire what you need. As important, you'll also learn what licenses you don't need.

4. What's to Eat? Planning Your Menu
Brainstorming Your Ideal Menu
Fast Food is Good Food
Planning Your Menu for High Profit
Broaden Your Market by Broadening Your Menu
Beverages for Added Value
Selecting Suppliers
Performing a Menu Cost Analysis

Planning your menu is the most critical aspect of starting a concession business. You will learn advantages and disadvantages of different menus, identify what determines whether a menu will make money, conduct a product cost analysis, as well as logistical considerations to help determine the best menu for you.

Part 2: Planning Your Booth and Equipment

5. Buying, Building and Designing Your Food Booth
What Booth is Best for You?
Concession Trailers
Concession Tents
Stick Joints
Motorized Vans
Size Matters-is Bigger Better?

Learn about concession trailers, tents, stick joints, pushcarts, manufactured, custom built, and conversion trailers. Learn detailed information about the different types of food booths, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Get tips for buying or building your perfect booth.

6. Buying or Building Your Food Service Equipment
Selecting Your Major and Minor Equipment
Building Your Own Equipment
Installing a Propane System
Small Wares
Booth Interior Design

Food service equipment are the tools of the trade. Information about various considerations when planning and acquiring equipment and the way it relates to your menu and booth will be described in detail. Also included are tips for designing, building, and installing your own equipment, as well as an in depth discussion on interior design.

7. Signs Sell
Designing Your Signs
Lighting for a Better Bottom Line

Your signs are critical to your sales. Learn how to design your signs to take advantage of this relatively simple, but extremely important marketing tool.

8. On the Road
Support Vehicles
Stock Vehicles

Food concession support vehicles are as diverse as the creative vendors who own them. Support vehicles must do everything from transport the business, related supplies and equipment, provide a place to live while you're on the road, and be a gofer. I'll share some ideas with you.

9. How much will this Cost?
Start Up Costs
Operating Costs
Capital Reserves

Before you get started you'll learn how to determine seasonal costs, operating costs, budgeting for capital reserves, and how much money it will cost to start a concession business. You will also learn how you can get started with the smallest investment possible.

Part 3: Events and Venues

10. Analyzing an Event's Potential for Profit
Types of Events and Venues
Event Characteristics
Space Fees

Events are the source of your income. This chapter provides comprehensive information about various types of events, and addresses how to determine if an event is likely to be profitable.

11. Event Scheduling Know-How
Finding Good Events
Event Listings
The Booth Space Application Process
Your Promotional Flyer
The Health Permit Application Process
Liability Insurance Certificates
Some Final Thoughts

Event scheduling will be demystified in this chapter. You will learn the secret of finding good events, appealing for space, the application process, getting your toe in the door, and being awarded a contract.

Part 4: It's Show time!

12. Putting it all Together for Your First Event
Do a Trial Run
Stocking Up on Supplies
Warehousing Stock
Cash Handling
Your Personal Needs While on the Road
Don't Forget Miscellaneous Supplies
Loading Up

Before you hit the road you need to finalize every detail of your business including purchasing supplies, and preparations for safe cash handling.

13. It's Your Grand Opening. Now What?
Setting Up at Your First Event
Your Booth Location, Location, Location
Who has Seniority?
Health Inspectors and Inspections
Hiring and Managing Your Staff
Paying Your Staff

You have arrived at your first event. Now what? Learn about set-up protocol, health inspections, and hiring a staff.

14. Competing for Sales on the Midway
Signs Sell
Product Quality
Provide Quality Customer Service
Setting Prices
Efficiency for Maximizing Sales
Compounding Sals with Perennial Events
Competing for Sales on the Midway
Professional Codes of Conduct

This chapter will teach you the secrets of conventional marketing principles-price, quality, and service, as they pertain to the concession business. You will also learn about the unique dynamics of competing on the midway. Learn how to manage your business to maximize sales.

15. Operatings and Managing Your Business
Daily Operations
Record Keeping
Bank Accounts
Get Organized
Tax Filing

In this chapter you will learn the yearly, weekly, and daily routine of a typical food concessionaire.This chapter addresses the whys and wherefores of practical record keeping for a concession business. Included are example concession operational forms and worksheets.

16. Finale

Appendix 1, 2, 3 and 4

A planning guide, lists of menus and types of events, a sample cost list, shopping list, sample event applications, and temporary restaurant permit applications, and forms for easy record keeping. And, a list of industry information resources including event listing guides, concession manufacturers, suppliers, insurance providers, and fair associations



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