How do you know which popcorn machine size is right for you? When there are small, counter-type 6-8oz. machines and then there are the huge 22-32oz.monster kettles. How do you choose? Which one would produce just the right amount of popcorn for my use?
To help you assess your need, let me first tell you what popcorn machine size actually means.
What is a 3 minute popping cycle? And What does the Popcorn Machine size actually mean?
Ideally, to get maximum expansion from the popcorn and have the fewest unpopped kernels, you want as close to a 3 minute popping cycle as possible. Most of the popcorn machines we sell are engineered to pop on a 3 minute popping cycle, so you will get 20 popping batches per hour.
The kettle size of the machine refers to the single ounce servings it can produce in one popping cycle. For example, a 6 oz. popper will produce 6 times 20 or 120 one-ounce servings of popcorn per hour; an 8 oz. popper will produce 8 times 20 or 160 one-ounce servings of popcorn per hour.
Exactly how much popcorn is that?
A one ounce serving bag is 8″ tall by 3″2? Figure out how many one ounce servings you will sell in one hour, maximum. Then divide that number by 16, and you will have your numbers. For example, if I needed 200 1 oz bags of popcorn in my maximum hour, 200 divided by 16 is 12.5, which means that I would need at least a 12 ounce machine and possibly might think about moving up to a 14 or 16 oz machine. On the other hand, if I only need 50 one ounce bags in my maximum hour, I would need just a 4oz machine.
Common mistake about making popcorn machine size choice.
The most commonly made mistake about choosing a popcorn machine size is buying one that is too small. You certainly don’t want your customer to be waiting around. You can figure out which size you need by the above formula.
Voltage Problem With Larger Size Poppers.
One thing to note is that for larger popcorn machines i.e. 12oz or above, some of them requires a higher power to operate. Thus the electricity plug will not fit in a regular socket. Therefore please check to see if your location have the appropriate electricity requirement and also check to see if the machine requires a special type of socket.
- (1) Your intended usage
- (2) Who’s going to be operating the machine
- (3) Durability
- (4) And finally the pricing.
Your intended usage
Different usage will require a popcorn machine with different features. For example, if you intend to rent the machines out, they have to be durable, easy to be transported, and fool proof. (For more info about popcorn machines suitable for rental business, please read this article) If you intend to use it for fundraising or in a small concession stand,then a quite standard 6-8 oz popper would be fine. If you intend to use it for home theater or general home usage, then a home popcorn machine would suffice.
Who’ll be operating the machine?
This has a lot to do with safety issues. If the machine is operated by teenagers or untrained operator, then it needs to be fool-proof and extremely safe. All Gold Medal popcorn machine with the EZ kettle design is great for this because it avoids the popping oil to pour out accidentally and also it gives the operator more room to work with inside the popcorn machine cabinet.
Is this machine durable?
Most of the machines we sell at MyPopcornMachine.com are durable. But we do have some equipment that are designed for lighter use and satisfy a different segment of customers. Therefore, it is important to not settle for a lower quality machine just because it is cheaper. It may end up costing you more in maintenance. In general, machines manufactured by Cretors, Gold Medal, Paragon, and Benchmark are very durable and they come with warranties as well. (Nostalgia not so much..)
Finally, after you have sorted out all the previous considerations, then it will come down to how the pricing will fit into your budget.
With the warm aroma wafting through the air, customers are inherently attracted to the classic popcorn machine. With a high-volume, high-quality popcorn machine, a concession stand taps into the American appeal of this delectable treat.
There is a large selection of commercial popcorn machines that range from a small to a large popping capacity. When choosing a commercial popcorn machine, it is important to understand the way that popcorn machines are categorized. A commercial grade popcorn machine is analyzed by the volume of popcorn that it creates during a single popping cycle. Since popcorn machines are categorized strictly by volume, it makes selecting a popcorn machine much simpler.
A Production Example of an 8 oz. Popcorn Machine
In order to better understand how a popcorn machine is categorized, let us consider an eight ounce popcorn machine. An eight ounce popcorn machine is capable of popping eight ounces of popcorn every three minutes.
One ounce of popcorn is considered to be an individual serving. If you were to use an eight ounce popcorn machine non-stop for one hour, then you would be able to pop 160 individual servings. This sounds like a tremendous amount of popcorn, but keep in mind that you will be serving the popcorn in different sizes. In fact, most of your sales will probably come from the larger sizes of popcorn.
When purchasing a popcorn machine, it is important to take into consideration the amount of popcorn that you expect to sell, the volume of foot traffic, and your budget. An important question to ask is can I afford to have someone pop the popcorn machine for one hour non-stop?? Your staffing and monetary requirements must be taken into consideration.
If you own a popcorn machine, your sales are typically maximized when the machine is used more frequently throughout the day, which means that you will need either one staff member or several to manage the equipment.
The Different Sizes of Popcorn Machines
A six ounce popcorn machine is a popular choice for a smaller location. This type of popcorn machine is put to best use when used at a business office, lounge, or even at home. A six ounce popcorn machine can produce six ounces of delicious, mouth-watering popcorn every three minutes. However, this size of equipment should not be used at a larger venue.
An eight ounce commercial popcorn machine is recommended for use at a school, fun center, sports bar, and other medium-sized venues. If you want a commercial popcorn machine that can handle a large crowd at a theater, stadium, arena, fair or a carnival, then you want to choose the 12 ounce popcorn machine. The 12 ounce popcorn machine is the key to making top profits at a large venue ensuring that your maximum volume does not impede your potential customer sales.
Once you have ascertained the size of an event, it is easy to choose the right popcorn machine. Whichever type of popcorn machine you choose, it is guaranteed to be an appealing favorite that draws in both young and old customers. People of all ages love the taste of delicious, airy, buttery popcorn and you can increase your sales through this timeless appeal.
When you go to a movie, what do you reach for? Popcorn! When you go to a ball game, what’s always around? Popcorn! What do millions of people just like you snack on when they’re at home watching the news? Popcorn!
Popcorn is a popular, healthy, economical snack. Additionally, the popcorn industry is big business that will lift any concession business right into healthy profits. You can sell popcorn at just about any event you can think of, and make money while providing a healthy alternative to candy bars and chips. Simply purchase a popcorn machine, the corn kernels themselves, some accessories and you are ready to start selling!
Tips and Tricks of the Popcorn Trade:
- To keep your popcorn hot while it is housed in the holding area of your machine, choose a machine that has a heated corn deck. This deck can be heated through forced hot air or another heating element method. Keeping your popcorn warm will keep it fresh!
- If you want to promote your popcorn as a healthy snack, choose canola or sunflower oil over the more traditional coconut oil. These oils have less of the fats and cholesterol of coconut oil, or lack them entirely. If you use an oil other than coconut, be sure to clean your kettle regularly as the oil can build up and turn black over time. This won’t look appealing to your customers and it won’t make your popcorn taste as good as you know it can.
- To sell more popcorn, have some hot and fresh even before the first customer lines up at your stand. The aroma itself will entice customers to you. Keep popping corn throughout the day? The freshness is a good selling point.
- You might also want to consider stocking drinks like bottled water and soda along with your popcorn. Popcorn makes people thirsty, and it’s easy to increase your popcorn profits by adding drinks to your concession line-up.
Sell your popcorn in polybags, not boxes. Polybags keep your popcorn fresh ?the boxes let in air, which will turn your popcorn stale.
Shave ice or snow cones? Making the decision can be very difficult, as both of these products target the same clientele and they are dually appealing, especially during the warmer seasons. In order to make the best decision for your concession stand, you must evaluate the differences between both of these products.
A snow cone is a timeless ice-cold treat that has been around for decades. A vintage snow cone cart brings one back to a different era. Each of us has a fond memory of enjoying a sky Blue or rainbow flavored snow cone, while watching a local baseball game or while riding all of the rides at the State Fair.
Shaved ice is a newer trend that has recently become popular in the continental United States within the last ten years, although it has been extremely popular in Hawaii for decades. Since the ice must be shaved, this type of concession stand requires more equipment then a simple snow cone cart. However, shave ice is a delicious, appealing summertime treat whose sales volume may warrant a larger space for the equipment.
What to Consider When Choosing between Shaved Ice or a Snow Cone
There are several factors to consider when choosing between a snow cone cart or a shave ice stand. One of the most important factors to consider is pricing. A snow cone cart may be less expensive, but a shave ice concession stand may be able to handle a higher amount of volume.
The second factor to consider is staffing. A snow cone stand or cart requires only one person to efficiently and effectively run it. On the other hand, a shave ice stand requires two people – one person to shave the ice and another person to handle all of the customers. Your choice ultimately reflects the volume at your event and staffing abilities.
A third factor to consider is the amount of supplies and equipment that is needed. A snow cone concession stand requires less room and equipment to run. A shave ice stand requires more room, more staff, and more equipment. However, both of these types of concession stands quickly pay for themselves because of their popularity.
An Example of Each Type of Machine
A popular shave ice machine is the Shav-a-Doo Ice Shaver Machine by Gold Medal Products. This is a stainless steel, attractive shave ice machine that is able to handle 300 pounds of ice each hour. The stainless steel blades are guaranteed to last for life.
This is the perfect shave ice machine that is capable of performing at light-duty concession stands and smaller venues, with a pricing of approximately $500. However, keep in mind that the price of each machine does not include the flavorings, ice, and other supplies that are needed. The Snow Cone Machine is priced close to $600 dollars, but it has the capacity of handling medium duty volume in larger venues specifically 500 pounds of ice per hour. This is the perfect type of concession stand for a carnival, arena, stadium, fair, or any venue that expects a large volume of foot traffic.
When choosing between a shave ice machine or a snow cone machine, look into your budget and your needs. Once you do this, the answer should be quite clear. Whichever option you choose, you can rest assured that your snow cone or shave ice stand will appeal to a large range of crowds. Both of these types of concession stands score a home run, especially during the warmer seasons.
Pretzels can be a very successful concession item, if you have the right equipment. They are easy to prepare, are healthier than candy or chips, and selling pretzels can also increase drink sales. With up to an 86 percent profit margin, it’s easy to start making money and begin paying back your start-up costs quickly with a pretzel concession business. This article will provide an overview of the various pretzel concession equipment set-ups available.
The Ideal Pretzel Warmer
Humidified pretzel warmers and ovens are superior to non-humidified equipment in a number of ways. Most importantly, the quality of your product will increase. Humidified warmers provide your customers with soft, warm, fresh pretzels that stay this way for longer periods of time, thereby giving your customers a better pretzel experience. Additionally, humidified pretzel warmers also allow for a more rapid rate of turnover, as they are designed for high volumes. You can have pretzels ready for your customers all day – whenever your customers want a pretzel, you can be confident you will have a warm, fresh, soft pretzel available for your customers to purchase.
Space saving, compact pretzel warmers help you fit into small areas. If you are at an event that charges you per table or per square foot, a compact humidified pretzel warmer will save you money by not requiring any extra space. Though they may be small, they can still offer a maximum capacity of 50 Jumbo Pretzels on revolving racks.
If space isn’t an issue, you can always choose the full-sized version with double doors to make it easier on yourself or your staff. If you prefer to cook your pretzels on site, some humidified pretzel warmers come complete with pretzel ovens built right into them. The oven is on the bottom and the humidified warming cabinet rests on top. This is a simple and efficient way to bake and sell your product at the same time.
If you are in a location without electricity, perhaps at a festival, parade, lakeside event or a church parking lot — what do you do? The answer to this common dilemma is simple. You can purchase a humidified pretzel warmer that doesn’t require electricity to run it. These units simply use Sterno cans instead. These portable units provide the same quality and freshness as a unit that requires an electric connection without actually having to be plugged in.
Portable units have a maximum capacity of 75 Jumbo pretzels. Take your pretzel concession business wireless by using a portable humidified pretzel warmer, and you will receive the same quality and efficiency of a corded unit, along with increased flexibility, which can increase sales.
Displaying Your Wares
A state-of-the-art pretzel display case can set you apart from your competition. With tempered curved glass, a digital thermostat and bright lights, your display unit will assure your customers of your professionalism and dedication to high standards. With European design and full functionality, including an easy to change front menu board, your pretzel display unit will complete your pretzel concession equipment needs.
Cotton candy is a classic treat that reminds people or their own childhood. It takes us back to a time when things were simpler and our biggest worry was winning our sweetheart a prize at the State Fair. We have all tasted and fallen in love with the cloud-like, sweet candy that is a childhood favorite and all of the young children in today’s age agree.
A cotton candy stand is one of the most popular concession stands at a carnival, state fair, or even at a child’s birthday party. Purchasing a cotton candy stand is a wise investment that pays for itself in a short amount of time. A cotton candy stand has a timeless appeal that attracts the attention of a wide range of customers.
Different Types of Cotton Candy Machines
There are several different types of cotton candy machines that are currently available. It is important to know what your needs are before you purchase or rent a cotton candy machine. You will want a machine that is efficient and can handle a high amount of volume. Also, keep in mind that presentation is part of the appeal of a cotton candy machine.
When purchasing a cotton candy machine, you will need other supplies such as cones, bags, flossugar, flossine, and more. There is a wide-selection of cotton candy machines that range from entry level to high-production units. Whether you need a cotton candy stand for an arena, carnival, stadium, fair, rental store or for a school event, there is a cotton candy machine that can handle all of your needs beautifully.
A Leader in Cotton Candy Equipment
A leader in concession stand equipment, especially cotton candy equipment, is Gold Medal Products. Gold Medal is a reputable company that makes high-quality, top-of-the line cotton candy equipment. One of their best-selling cotton candy machines is the Gold Medal Twin Wind Floss Machine.
This piece of premier cotton candy equipment is the only machine that can produce two colors of cotton candy simultaneously. Thus, you obtain the benefit of a high-volume production machine that is very eye-appealing, drawing in even more customers with its dual customers. This is the perfect machine that can fit into a tight space within a high-volume concession stand.
If you need a cotton candy stand at a festival, carnival, theme park, stadium, or an arena then you want the Gold Medal Twin Wind Floss Machine. This cotton candy machine creates cotton candy that is a family favorite.
Making Your Final Choice
When choosing a cotton candy machine, it is important to look into the manufacturer’s reputation. You want to purchase a cotton candy machine that is made from high-quality stainless steel. These types of cotton candy machines are the longest lasting and can produce the highest volume of product.
Whether at a children’s birthday party or the state fair, a cotton candy machine is always the highlight of any event. Both children and adults love the unbeatable taste of light-as-air, delicate cotton candy. When you bring in the visual and timeless appeal of cotton candy to your venue, you expand the potential of sales and profits for your concession stand
- DO NOT PUT HANDS OR OBJECTS IN ROTATING SPINNER HEAD.
- DO NOT FILL SPINNER HEAD WITH SUGAR WHILE IT IS ROTATING.
- OPERATOR SHOULD WEAR EYE PROTECTION.
- DO NOT PUT HANDS NEAR ROTATING SPINNER HEAD.
- USE FLOSS CONE TO COLLECT COTTON CANDY.
A hot dog is a classic American treat – much like Grandma’s hot apple pie or a Sunday afternoon spent watching a baseball game. When choosing your hot dog equipment, it is important to know the difference between a hot dog grill, a steamer, and a rotisserie. Once you are familiar with the most popular hot dog equipment, it will be easy to choose which one is right for your concession stand.
The Convenience of a Hot Dog Steamer
A hot dog steamer is a compact way to serve delicious hot dogs at any type of event or venue. A hot dog steamer is most often made from stainless steel, with pricing starting at $400. A mid-size hot dog steamer is capable of handling a quarter pound of hot dogs at one time.
However, the large hot dog steamer is actually a better buy then a smaller model; it has a separate water pan and heat control that makes it a more efficient product. With this type of hot dog steamer, there is more cooking room and the sections easily come apart, making cleaning a breeze.
The Appeal of a Hot Dog Grill
A hot dog grill is one of the most popular pieces of hot dog equipment that is currently available. A hot dog grill is highly popular because most of the population loves grilled food, especially during the summertime. There are different types and sizes of hot dog grills that can handle a small or large volume of people.
A hot dog grill is more expensive then a hot dog steamer, but can service a greater volume of customers. For example, the Lil’Diggity Slanted Hot Dog Grill has dual heat and motor controls that make this hot dog grill easy to handle, even during peak times. The hot dog grill has a stainless steel cabinet and stainless steel roller tubes, which are guaranteed for life.
The one downside to having a hot dog grill, beyond the cost factor, is that it takes 20-30 minutes to cook each hot dog. You will have to have a staff member work the hot dog grill at all times and be ready to handle peak times. Nonetheless, a hot dog grill, whichever size, appeals to all of the senses of your customers, and it delivers a delicious hot dog every time.
The Volume Capabilities of a Hot Dog Rotisserie
A hot dog rotisserie is an easy way to cook over 50 hot dogs at one time. The visual appeal of a hot dog rotisserie makes it an excellent addition to any concession stand; the rotating rack attracts the attention of the consumer, therefore increasing the amount of traffic that your hot dog stand receives. Also, most hot dog rotisseries come with a bun
warmer, holding up to 40 buns at once. You obtain the bonus of a two-in-one piece of equipment, which minimizes both space needs and expense.
A hot dog rotisserie is more expensive than the other options, but an attractive element for any concession stand to have.
Choosing the Right Option for Your Stand
Your choice in hot dog equipment depends upon your budget, size restrictions, and volume needs. You should also keep in mind that there are several enhancements you can make to the equipment, such as bun warmers. In addition, you want to provide sufficient space for condiments, as a hot dog is naked without ketchup, mustard, and relish.
Whichever type of hot dog equipment you choose, the all-American classic food will give you a surefire hit, regardless of the type of venue you are servicing.
Nachos have become a favorite of many Americans, whether at a local movie theater or the state fair. There is something that is unbeatably delicious about fresh, hot tortilla chips smothered with nacho cheese. It seems that everyone loves nachos, from the very young to the young at heart.
In order to yield the greatest return on your investment, it is important to choose a nacho stand that can handle a high amount of volume. A nacho stand is one of the most popular concession stands at a carnival, fair, arena, stadium, school, theater, and other types of public venues.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Nacho Stand
The main factors that you want to consider when choosing a nacho stand is your budget, the amount of volume you expect to serve, and the space that you have available. Also, you must take into consideration the cost of the nacho stand and the equipment that you need to properly run the stand.
A successful nacho stand has a nacho cheese warmer, nacho cheese, nacho cheese dispenser, nacho chips, nacho chip holder, and other condiment items, such as jalapenos or salsa. It is important to consider how much each of these items costs when determining your budget and return on investment expectations. Also, take into the consideration the cost to staff a large nacho concession stand.
Incorporating Varying Sized Nacho Stands
A large nacho cabinet has a sleek look that is terrific for catching the customer’s eye at snack bars and other large venues. This type of nacho stand is designed to warm both the tortilla chips and the nacho cheese, and due to its capacity, it is best suited for a busy movie theater, fair, carnival, stadium, or an arena. Expect to spend $1000 dollars when purchasing a large nacho cabinet.
If you are servicing a smaller venue, consider a midsize portion nacho cheese warmer, which can hold 60-70 cups of nacho cheese. The midsized equipment is half the price of the larger nacho stand, but is still capable of keeping warm both the nacho cheese and the tortilla chips.
There are smaller nacho stands that are designed to just keep the nacho cheese warm. The downside with this type of stand is that it is only capable of keeping up with a very small volume of customers. In order to be successful, you want to have sufficient nachos to keep all of your customers happy. This is why it is so important to choose the right nacho stand from the very beginning, as you must view the equipment as an investment into your future business growth.
Whichever nacho stand you choose, it will certainly pay for itself in increased volume and sales. For Americans, one of the greatest indulgences is warm tortilla chips coated with delicious, mouth-watering nacho cheese at both smaller and large venues.
When you are ready to choose a nacho stand, keep in mind the type of venue you will be serving, your budget requirements, and the amount of staff that you have. A nacho stand is the perfect addition at a state fair, carnival, arena, theater and many other types of venues increasing your menu offerings and sales volume.
It is no surprise that pizza is a number one favorite with consumers nationwide. Millions of Americans consume pizza on a daily basis, especially when out at an event, such as a fair, carnival, sporting event, stadium, and concert. Pizza is an appealing favorite because of its mouth-watering smell and delicious eye-appeal. People have fallen in love with pizza, time and time again, because it appeals to all of the senses at once.
There are three different types of pizza concession stands: pizza merchandiser cabinet, countertop oven, and conveyor oven. Which one you choose will depend largely on the amount of space that you have in your concession stand. For example, a pizza merchandiser cabinet is much smaller than a large conveyor oven. In order to choose the right concession stand equipment, you must be familiar with the three types of pizza stands.
The Excitement of a Pizza Conveyor Oven
A pizza conveyor oven is a terrific way to grab the consumer’s attention, creating a higher amount of foot traffic to your concession stand. A conveyor oven usually costs approximately $1800 dollars, and it is capable of producing over 30 nine inch pizzas in an hour, or 14 twelve inch pizzas per hour.
A pizza conveyor oven is recommended for a mid-level concession stand. The conveyor oven is an economic, versatile, and compact way to increase the amount of menu offerings at a concession stand. Also, this type of pizza concession stand usually yields the highest profits. In just eight to ten minutes, customers can enjoy a piping hot, mouth-watering pizza.
The Convenience of a Pizza Countertop Oven
The pizza countertop oven is designed to service a snack bar or a mid-sized concession stand. This type of concession equipment is designed to cook two eight inch pizzas at once, or one sixteen inch pizza. One of the major benefits of having a pizza countertop oven is the fact that it can also cook cookies, pretzels, pastries, and other precooked items.
The pizza countertop oven is more compact and versatile then a conveyor oven. A smaller pizza countertop oven, perfect for handling mid-level trafficked events, costs approximately $1200 dollars. There are several wholesale retailers that may offer a discounted price on any type of pizza concession stand equipment.
The Appeal of the Pizza Merchandiser Cabinet
A pizza merchandiser cabinet is one of the most eye-appealing and attractive ways to draw the consumer’s attention to your pizza stand. A common pizza merchandiser
cabinet is capable of holding a sixteen inch pizza. This type of concession stand equipment is priced around $900 dollars.
The pizza merchandiser cabinet works with a special humidity system that maintains the temperature of the product. A mid-sized merchandiser cabinet can hold up to three pizzas. A pizza merchandiser cabinet is the perfect, compact way to showcase pizza at a fair, carnival or a snack bar. Its visual appeal draws customers to the booth with its lighted displays.
These are three most popular types of pizza concession stands. Your choice depends on the amount of space and budget which constrains you. If you want to produce high volume, larger pizzas, then the conveyor oven is the perfect choice. However, all three can be great options that increase the volume of your concession stand.
Selling concession stand food doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require work, like any other business. The more you put into your pizza concession business the more you will get out of it. This article will give you the basics of marketing your pizza concession business so that you can build your concession stand into a robust and healthy business, something to truly be proud of.
Every business, no matter how large or how small, needs to have a business brand, something like a logo that allows your customer to easily recognize your business. Your logo will also help your customers remember you, which will drive up sales. If a customer first encounters your logo at a football game, then sees you again at a state or county fair, if they had a good experience with you initially, they are likely to return to you again. Your familiar logo will represent quality and value to your customers.
Advertising also plays a large part in driving customers to your pizza concession stand. Bright colors, moving parts (such as a pizza conveyor belt) and other attractants like the delicious sights and smells coming from your stand will help increase your sales. Advertising can be as easy as printing posters and putting them up near your business, handing out flyers to the public near your concession stand, or giving out free samples.
Drumming Up Business
As a pizza concession stand owner, you want customers to purchase their pizza from your stand over and over again. The combination of repeat and new customers is ideal for a pizza concession business. To find new customers, you can hand out coupons at the event, provide free samples, or instigate a ‘Tell a Friend’ program where your current customers get rewarded (perhaps with a percentage discount on their next purchase) if they bring new customers back to your stand.
You will also want to sell pizza in as many places as possible. Call your local state or county fairgrounds and let them know how your pizza concession stand could benefit their event. Many fairgrounds have events such as computer or jewelry shows when they are not hosting the fair, and everybody needs to eat! Call your local flea market, boat show, or city offices to get approval to sell pizza during their event. Don’t forget about parades – they’re not just for the 4th of July. In my local area, from May to September there are at least 2 parades a month – these are perfect opportunities to sell pizza!
Social networking can also provide many opportunities to bring your pizza to a wider customer base. If your co-worker’s Boy Scout troop is having a fund-raiser, offer to bring your pizza concession stand there and donate a portion of your profits to their fundraiser. You can do the same at your church’s rummage sale, or the local VFW. Those people will remember your product and recommend you to other people who might need your pizza concession services. Print up business cards or flyers with coupons on them and always make sure to have some available to give to those who will ask you for them. Remember, everybody you meet and every event you attend is a chance to make more profits and expand your event schedule for the future.
When you walk down the street at a fair or carnival, what smells immediately attract your attention? Many people will suggest that popcorn, donuts, and the unique mouth-watering aroma of roasted, slightly sugared nuts are what always stand out.
In fact, you may recall when almonds, walnuts, pecans and more, available in the traditional praline flavor or new cinnamon and vanilla, or even more exotic flavor combinations, awaited your pleasure. Would you, as a concession stand owner, want to bring back those smells and those youthful memories to your customers? Of course you would! And getting started in the sugared nut concession stand business has never been easier.
Sugared nuts are one of the easiest concession products to sell. They’re a healthy alternative for today’s health-conscious consumer, and they’re easy to create right on site – no cooking required! Sugared nuts can also yield up to 75% gross profit. If you’re looking for an easy, delicious, high-profit concession product, sugared nuts are for you.
What Do I Need?
To start a sugared-nuts concession stand business, you’ll obviously need nuts. These can be had from concession stand suppliers in, typically, 5 pound or 25 pound bags. A single serving of nuts is sold in what’s called a ‘nut cone’ and those are sold in lots of 250. The nut cones can hold anywhere from 1-3 ounces, approximately. 16 ounces makes a pound, and if you sell your nuts for $3-$4/nut cone, you can see how easily your profits will appear
When you properly prepare the raw nuts, five pounds of nuts will yield 10 pounds of saleable product, because of the praline process. You prepare your raw product in a round processor called a Pralinator and they come in various sizes and power usage, from 120 volts to 240 volts and 4000 watts. The biggest Pralinator can produce a four pound batch of sugared nuts every 15 minutes, after the initial batch is prepared, which will take longer.
How to Make Sugared Nuts
For a single four pound batch of sugared nuts, you will want to use 2 pounds of nuts. You can use any sort of nut you want, though almonds, peanuts and pecans seem to be the most popular choices with the consumer. You can purchase the nuts from almost anywhere, but be sure that they are fresh and that they do not contain shells. If you are going to sell peanuts in your stand you may want to consider buying a small Pralinator specifically for peanuts, to accommodate those with peanut allergies. Keeping your peanuts separate from the rest of your concession equipment may well provide an extra selling point, allowing you to assure your customers that your nut products do not actually contain peanuts.
To the nuts you want to add one pouch of frosted nut mix (which is sold anywhere that has sugared nut concession equipment) and twelve ounces of concentrated 3-1 vanilla mix. A common vanilla mix of this sort is called Uncle Dave’s Vanilla, and — just like the nuts and the frosting mix — be purchased wherever concession products are sold. Put all of your ingredients into the Pralinator and let the machine do the work. All you have to do is scoop out the nuts from their holding bin and give them to your customers.
Just what exactly is a cheese curd? And why do I want to sell these things as part of my concession business? If you own a deep fryer, cheese curds will be a welcomed addition to your menu.
Fresh, high-quality cheese-curds squeak when you rub them or chew them. And when you dip them in batter and deep fry them, they’re a salty, cheesy, crunchy finger-food morsel that will delight your customers and have them coming back for more. Condiments that have been successfully paired with cheese curds are salt and pepper, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, ranch salad dressing, marinara sauce and salsa. They are a regional delicacy, found in the upper Midwest and are extremely popular.
If you have a concession stand that sells anything deep fried, consider adding cheese curds. You can be assured of a unique, flavorful, memorable concession item when you have cheese curds in your concession arsenal.
The Basic Recipe
You must have actual cheese curds. Otherwise, you get fried cheese bites or a hybrid mozzarella stick, which isn’t the same thing at all. The best curds are white and come from Wisconsin. Cheese curds can be shipped and refrigerated. If vacuum sealed, cheese curds retain their freshness for up to a year in refrigeration.
To cook cheese curds dry them off on a paper towel and then coat them in batter, whichever batter you happen to fancy. Many cheese curd devotees swear by a beer batter, such as you would use with fish. Others suggest a batter that’s lightly spiced. After the curds are battered, drop them in your hot oil and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. They should be attractively golden brown with darker edges when you fish them out.
The ideal cheese curd is crunchy on the outside, with the cheese soft and almost melted on the inside. The frying process brings out the cheese curd’s naturally slightly salty, mild flavor. They’re excellent when paired with beer and also very good with soda and other non-alcoholic drinks.
The Economics of Cheese Curd Concessions
A typical concession single serving in the Midwest is about 4 ounces and is traditionally served from a concessionaire in red-and-white check cardboard serving containers. In the Midwest consumers can buy raw, un-fried cheese curds by the pound and half pound. One Wisconsin cheese curd seller sells them in 16 oz packages for 4.50. Another Minnesota cheese curd seller offers their cheese curds at $4/pound. The consumer then batters and deep fries them at home.
Profits on cheese curd concessions can be very great. A single serving typically sells at the Minnesota State Fair for an average of $3.25.
Cheese curds can be a profitable addition to your concession menu. This hot, fresh finger-food is ideal for pairing with beer or soda, can be stored in refrigeration, and cooks simply and efficiently.