North Carolina, known as the “Tar Heel State,” boasts several professional sports teams and a healthy college athletics scene. With all the teams, a concession stand owner can have a lucrative career. In order to operate legally, though, concession stand owners must abide by certain laws. Some laws apply to all types of businesses, such as registering a business name and paying taxes whereas others pertain only to food-handling companies.

Register the Business

Any business operating in North Carolina must register in either the county where it plans to set up shop or with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. A company that will be a sole proprietorship or general partnership will need to register at the county deeds office. If a firm wants to operate as a corporation, a limited liability corporation, a limited liability partnership or a limited partnership, then it needs to file with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division.

Obtain a Permit

Because concessions businesses serve ready-to-eat foods, they fall under the purview of county health departments. Under North Carolina state law, a concession business must apply for a permit for the concession stand, where the food is sold, and for the kitchen in which the food is prepared. The concession business has to obtain the permit from the county health department before it opens.


Hamburgers and hot dogs remain popular fare at sporting events, but serving meat products means undergoing inspection by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Concession stands need to apply for inspection in order to remain in business. An inspector from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will not only inspect the concession stand but the kitchen in which the food is prepared.

Pay Taxes

Like any other business in North Carolina, concession stands must pay taxes. In North Carolina, sales tax applies to food. By law, concession stands must collect sales tax and report it to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Concessions businesses need to register with the Department of Revenue to gain permission to collect sales tax, and then the firm must submit the taxes to the department according to its schedule.