Some things you shouldn’t have to learn by trial and error. Whether you are on staff or volunteering, it can be easy to fall victim to the most common mistakes. But you don’t have to let it happen. Instead, let us help you safeguard your concession stand by addressing measures you can put into practice now to prevent these pitfalls.
• Improper Prep – This can lead to broken machinery, inadequate inventory and poor service. It’s been said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What you do to prepare your stand upfront can prevent costly problems down the line. For example, maintaining service on your machines in advance means less chance of encountering an out-of-order machine during your peak time. Another tip is to not neglect your supplies like napkins, utensils, condiments and food trays. Be smart about what you order and keep close tabs on inventory.

• Overlooking Add-Ons – While it is good to stick to tried and true favorite foods, don’t miss opportunities to add value and profits. Pair soft pretzels with nacho cheese or have a shake-on bar to add flavor to popcorn. A good test is if it is simple and low-cost to implement yet can attract interest from patrons, try it!

• Losing Out to Long Lines – Keeping lines moving as efficiently as possible is a key to success behind the stand. If you’re still using one line for ordering and another for pick-up, revise your customer flow to have two lines with cashiers. You’ll appreciate how it keeps lines flowing even during high traffic times. Make sure you have a balanced food selection to ensure you don’t get bogged down in food prep when crowds come.

• Being Too Passive – Maybe you’re wondering why your stand isn’t doing more business. It could be a lack of promotion. What could you do more to attract customers? Consider your environment… at sports complexes, announcers should be your voice. At a venue where there are lots of guests mingling, try getting into the crowd to hand out samples. If your location has tickets or maps, print coupons for the concession stand.

• Not Using Seasons to Your Advantage – Don’t miss out on these dollars. Seasonal trends are popular and will prompt potential customers to spend on impulse. During fall, promote apple cider or pumpkin spice treats. For winter, suggestions include hot chocolate and fudge. Use signage to increase awareness and try limited-time special offers.

• Doing It All On Your Own – Be smart about how you run your stand. Partner with vendors that demonstrate how they can benefit your business. They should make your job easier, not harder. From menu selection to profit planning to equipment service, trust those that can prove they’re vested in your interests.