Concession stand owners own and often operate mobile or temporary food stands that sell anything from popcorn and hot dogs to gourmet veggie wraps and sushi. Because their businesses are so small, concession stand owners usually handle many aspects of the operation such as budgeting, marketing, purchasing of ingredients, food preparation and payments. The amount of money a concession stand owner makes depends on many factors, the most important being the amount of food he sells relative to his business costs.
A concession stand owner’s salary depends mostly on his ability to balance operational costs and profits. According to ATouchofBusiness.com, the typical costs of running a concession stand break down to 25 percent for labor, 25 percent for food ingredients, 15 percent pre-tax profit, 5 percent for electricity, 5 percent for insurance and 25 percent for miscellaneous costs like liability insurance, paper, workers' compensation and vending equipment service. A concession stand owner who works 300 days a year and sells 100 orders daily at an average of $5 an order can expect to make around $37,000 a year.
Concession stand owners must consider their startup costs when figuring out how much money they will make. Purchase or rental of the concession trailer is perhaps the most significant cost in the beginning. According to ATouchofBusiness.com, a basic trailer equipped with nothing more than plumbing, electricity, windows and cabinets will cost you around $9,000; a fully equipped trailer with everything you need to start the business can cost as much as $35,000. Food preparation equipment also varies in cost. A hot dog cooker ranges from $400 to $800, for example, and an ice machine costs between $1,000 and $3,000 on average. In addition, concession stand owners usually paint and decorate their trailer to attract customers, which also costs money.
Concession stand owners need to obtain the required licenses in their state and local district, which can be costly, though necessary. A concession stand is a business, and you’ll need a vendor’s license to run it in your state. This license usually costs between $60 and $300 a year, according to ATouchofBusiness.com. Concession stand owners and their employees also need state food handlers licenses. A license to operate in a public venue may also be required. Check the state board of health and other authorities for more details.
Although they don’t need any formal education, successful concession stand owners must have smart business, marketing and management skills. They must understand the demand for the type of food they offer in the place they wish to sell it. Strong costumer service, cooking and communications skills are also a big plus, as is the ability to speak a foreign language. The ability to relocate when business is slow in your area is also important, according to BuyMyConcessionTrailer.com.
Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.