How to Start a Concession Business

Concession stands can be seen at many types of events, from sporting events to outdoor concerts. Concession businesses typically offer a limited menu of food that can be eaten on-the-go, such as candied apples, cotton candy, nachos and popcorn. Opening a concession stand is much less expensive than many other types of food businesses because there is no need for a large building, a lot of staff or equipment. Starting a concession business can be an ideal way to bring in extra money year-round.

  1. 1.

    Specialize in a certain type of food. For instance, you can sell funnel cakes, tacos, beverages, popcorn or burgers. What dishes are the most profitable to sell depend on where you live, and where you plan to sell your concessions.

  2. 2.

    Make a list of local venues you may be able to sell your concessions at, such as city fairs and festivals, carnivals, flea markets, car shows, sports stadiums and farmers markets. Contact the places on your list and see what the requirements are for becoming a food vendor.

  3. 3.

    Obtain the permits required in your state to operate a retail business, such as a fictitious name certificate or doing business as--DBA, Employer Identification Number or sales and use tax permit.

  4. 4.

    Contact your local public health department to find out what licenses you need to start a food business. Depending on where you live, you may need a food handler permit, food enterprise license or food manager certification.

  5. 5.

    Build, buy or lease a food trailer or concession stand. Some venues may provide an area for you to prepare and sell your food. Ask each venue you plan to work with specifically what they offer.

  6. 6.

    Develop a small menu for your concession business. For example, if you plan to sell hot dogs, you can offer them plain, with chili and cheese or “Chicago style.”

  7. 7.

    Buy wholesale supplies, such as disposable plates, cups, napkins and utensils, from a concession supply distributor. Purchasing these items wholesale will save you a significant amount of money, as opposed to paying retail at a supermarket.

  8. 8.

    Promote your concession business. Open social networking accounts to reach new customers, hand out samples to people walking by, use large, attractive signage or sponsor a local event.