How to start a concession stand business

How to start a concession stand business

Like anything you have to know what you’re getting, do your research

I volunteered at a concession stand during a swim meet over a long weekend and in about six hours we had already made around $500.

I’ll explain trends I noticed, what foods sold the best, how to attract customers, how to minimize costs, and pictures of concession stands that were at the Cloverdale Rodeo that I attended last year.

Foods That Sell the Best in Concession Stands

The food that sold the best was undoubtedly the hot foods. I will make recommendations for hot food, the ones that sell the best are nachos, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and breakfast sandwiches.

All of these are easy, for the nachos fill a crock-pot with nacho cheese and have a bag of chips ready and when a customer asks for nachos simply put chips in a plastic bowl and cheese on top.

Hot dogs and grilled cheese can be made slightly ahead of time and can be kept warm by wrapping them in foil and placing it on a grill or on a double boiler.

Candy is another bestseller item. It is incredibly cheap when bought in bulk and can be kept for a long time, in case you don’t sell out.

Cup of Noodles is also very cheap and we sold each cup for a dollar each and sold about 20 or 30 cups.

Its also good to keep some healthy foods in stock as well, such as fruit and yogurt, because people do look for that and are willing to pay high prices, meaning that if you can get the food cheap, then you can make a lot of money. We sold bananas for a dollar per banana, and sold about 40 of them.

How to Make Serious Money – With Your Own Mobile Food Business

Simple Food Items to Include on Your Menu

People love to eat especially if they don’t have to cook it themselves. There are many foods that will work for your own business which are simple and cheap to buy.

You will be well on your way to making a profit in no time.

  • Weiner’s and Hotdog Buns
  • Hamburger and Hamburger Buns
  • Cheese and Sliced Bread
  • Nacho Chips and Nacho Cheese
  • Condiments: Cheapest Ketchup (no one will know it’s not Heinz), Yellow Mustard (it’s the cheapest), and Mayonnaise (No name brand will work)
  • Potato Chips (few different flavours), Popcorn and or Bulk Candy
  • Cotton Candy
  • Beverages: Water, Pop, and if you have the machine Coffee
  • Fruit: Bananas, Apples and even maybe Oranges
  • Pickles: Pickled Eggs, Pickled Sausage, Dill Pickles

How to Attract Customers

To get people to buy food, you have to display your “hottest” items as close to the customer as possible. Display your available drinks in one area, your healthy section in another, and candy in yet another area.

If you have limited space, try to put your best selling items up front, to attract as many people as possible. If you have lots of one item that is not selling put it in a prominent position, right next to where they pay. is best You should also suggest that the customer buy whatever you have a lot of, this really works!


Food concession business is an area that has witnessed steady growth over the years, with revenues exceeding projections.

The growth recorded in this sector does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon, as there are still opportunities for investment and a lot of investors showing interest.

However, one limitation faced by a lot of entrepreneurs is writing good business plans to help in sourcing for loans and also guiding their businesses to profitability.

This is where this concession stand business plan sample comes handy. It is aimed at guiding the entrepreneur in writing an effective business plan for their businesses.

Here is a sample business plan for starting a food concession stand.

  • Executive Summary
  • Products and Services
  • Vision Statement
  • Mission Statement
  • Market Analysis/Trends
  • Payment Channels
  • Target Market/Population
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Sales and Marketing Strategy
  • Sales Projection
  • Publicity and Advertising Strategy

Executive Summary

Due to the boom witnessed in the concession stands industry, we at Prime Concessions are poised at taking advantage of this growing market through the introduction of our unique concessions stand business that will see us offering products and services that include; the sale of a variety of food products, drinks and beverages, snacks among a long list of others.

Services that will be offered by Prime Concessions include training sessions, advisory and consultancy services among others. With these products and services, we are poised at gaining a considerable market share within the first 5 years of starting operations.

Products and Services

Driven by passion and excellent customer care relations, we will be rolling out products and services that first meets the food and drug administration recommended standards. Products like assorted snacks, beverages, drinks and also services that include trainings, advisory and consultancy services including the opening of a franchising arm will be provided.

Our Vision Statement

We have the vision of running a world class and highly effective business that will not only provide the best products, but also to empower prospective franchisees through our franchising arm which will commence operations a year after starting business.

We have a vision of spreading our business reach to cover the whole of New York City within the Initial 5 years of opening shop.

Our Mission

Our mission at Prime Concessions is building a strong brand that will be among the first 5 popular concession brands providing cutting-edge services to a diverse clientele and ensuring that they are absolutely satisfied with services rendered.

Market Analysis/Trends

Whenever there is a gathering of people, be it political, religious, sports or community development, there are always needs to be met, and such include food, refreshments or just recreational needs. What concession stand businesses have done is to conduct research into the needs of individuals in such gatherings and come up with services that take care of these needs.

In the area of drinks, which is quite popular, the drinks provided typically include energy drinks, beverages, alcoholic and also non-alcoholic among others. Whatever type of services rendered, the motive is to extract a profit while providing a basic service that is satisfactory to the client.

Payment Channels

Because we realise how customer satisfaction is key to the growth of a business, we have taken our time to ensure that we simplify the payment process/procedure through the introduction of several channels or options of payments that include POS, acceptance of cash payments, mobile money transfers, among other modes of payments.

These are aimed at lessening the burden faced by customers having to go through a lot of difficulty paying for goods and services rendered to them.

Target Market/Population

This is very crucial to our existence as a business entity as we will be targeting particular segments of the population which would most likely patronize our products and services.

Among these target populations are sport fans usually found at sporting arenas, outdoor events which provide a diverse population that will be making use of our services. Others include students, sportsmen and women, corporate chief executives, tourists, students among other varied segments of the population.

Competitive Advantage

The competitive advantage we will have over other competitors offering similar services is that, we will have an effective marketing department led by a highly professional marketing expert that will coordinate the functions of this department effectively to spread word about our products and services to a large segment of the population.

Also, we will have an effective quality control unit to ensure that only the best products reach consumers.

Sales and Marketing Strategy

The sales and marketing strategy to be deployed will involve the services of a marketing strategist that will coordinate the operations of the department to achieve the highest sales and marketing among the consuming public.

We will also enter into agreement with chain stores, department stores among others to ensure the distribution of our products through these channels.

Sales Projection

With research conducted by Prime Concessions, we have come to the conclusion that there will be a robust growth, with profits that will grow fast. However, this sales projection discounts factors like natural disasters or economic recession. This is summarized in the chart below;

  • First Year $100,000
  • Second Year $190,000
  • Third Year $550,000

Publicity and Advertising Strategy

The publicity and advert strategy to be deployed will include the use of local radio and TV stations to disseminate the services offered. Also, we will be building a business website where all the products and services offered will be on display. Billboards will be an effective tool in advertising our services.


With this concession stand business plan sample, the entrepreneur is given a head start on how to effectively write a good business plan. Caution must be sounded here that the information made available here are imaginary and only used for illustrative purposes only, and should not be used as they do not represent any real business concern.

How to start a concession stand business

Starting every new business whether small or large isn’t always a terrible idea. In the same manner, if someone planned to start a smoked meat concession stand, it can be effectively done by having the determination. You need to follow the proper precautions for this smoked meat concession stand like complying with all local, state, and federal laws related to this business. You should also research specific health considerations in the area of this business and the rules governing food sales.

Right Equipment

Every business needs some sort of equipment. In the same manner, for starting a smoked meat concession stand, you will some sort of equipment for it. Here are some important items of this business equipment given…

Food cart or trailer

An electric power source

Gas cooking fixtures

A way to transport your concession stand

Variety of food

An appropriate smoker

Choosing an Appropriate Smoker

A smoker is a must when it comes to a smoked meat concession stand. You should know that there are a variety of smokers available in the market that you can use for your concession stand. You will easily find some traditional smokers that use charcoal and fruitwood as a fuel source in order to smoke meat. There are plenty of electric smokers also available that uses wood pellets in order to add a smoky flavour to the food. It is important that, if you are going for an electric smoker, better to strive for the finest electric smoker available at that time. You can also go for propane smokers that allow you to add wood chips for a smoky flavour.

Proper Licenses

Like any other business, if you want to operate a concession stand, it is needed to be licensed by the state and possibly by the department of health. It really depends on where you live. It is important to study all the relevant local health codes to get your concession stand in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws. If you are planning to get your food prepared at home, there might be some additional regulations you need to have a look at.

Other Aspects

The smoked meat concession stand is definitely a sizeable investment. For this, you need to consider purchasing insurance for additional protection to your business. There is also a requirement of getting a license to operate your concession stand. You can also meet other vendors to discuss important issues and considerations with them.

Here are some menu options for the concession stand trailer business…

1. Mexican Fiesta

You can make your smoked meat concession stand as a Mexican fiesta with its traditional menu. You can include some selections like tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tamales, taco salads, tostadas, chimichangas, chips, salsa, and desserts like churros, fried ice cream and flan.

2. Soups and Sandwiches

Nothing attracts the customers more than the smell of warm soup and the crisp goodness of various combinations. You can also include some delicious soups like potato, tomato, chicken noodle, crab, minestrone, corn chowder, broccoli and cheese. If you want to include some cold coups, you can choose grilled cheese, lettuce, tomato, ham, and other vegetable selections. Desserts can include homemade cookies and brownies with soft drinks and water.

3. Sweet and Savory Crepes

If you want to give the French food taste, you can give a sweet and savoury crepe to your customers. Give choice to your customers for inside items in crepes like chicken, turkey, steak strips, mushrooms, peppers, avocado, basil, onions, and other things. Fill sweet crepes with chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and fruit jams. Create menu combinations, such as the Caprese crepe, which includes basil and mozzarella cheese, or a strawberry delight crepe, filled with fresh strawberries and honey and topped with whipped cream. Serve beverages such as tea, lemonade and fruit juices.

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A great concession stand doesn’t just happen – it takes a lot of work and organization and requires a deep commitment on the part of the volunteers. Planning a concession stand doesn’t have to mean high-stress, though!

Pro Tip: To ensure the safety of your volunteers and customers, please follow your community’s safety guidelines for masking, sanitizing, cash handling, and safe social distancing. Investing in signs, plexiglass dividers, single-serving condiments, and hand sanitizer early in the season will support successful and healthy outcomes for everyone.

How to start a concession stand business

Tips for Raising Funds at the Concession Stand

The concession stand is one of the most underutilized sources of fundraising for schools and sports leagues. Large or small, the concession stand can quickly become a ready source for cash, and an enhancement to any school, sporting or outdoor musical event. If you don’t have a facility, start small. Set up a table and sell bottles of water and granola bars! You’ll be surprised how fast your fundraising efforts will add up. Follow these tips for running a successful concession stand at your school or league field.

1. Appoint a Committee Chair or Leader

The person in charge will organize and oversee all concession activities, including gathering a team to help recruit volunteers, appointing someone to be in charge of keeping the concession stand well stocked and clean, and keeping track of funds.

2. Gather a Sufficient Volunteer Staff

To make sure you have enough inventory to sell and enough people to help, use SignUp to schedule volunteers. Volunteers can choose their shifts and items to bring and will received an automatic email to remind them of their commitments.

3. Proper Paperwork

In many cases, a concession stand must have a manager that has attended a Food Safety Workshop (often offered online) recognized by the Health Department. Some municipalities also require permits for selling and preparing food. Check with your city and local health department for details.

4. Adequate and Attractive Facility

Even if you start with just a folding table, make sure your concession stand looks appealing. Use an attractive tablecloth and ask students to help you decorate the table or concession stand with your team’s colors and logo to remind people that they are supporting the team. This also helps parents and community members feel they are part of something special. In return, they are more apt to give back by volunteering or assisting in other activities that benefit the program. This sense of belonging creates a positive environment which makes each sporting event feel special.

5. Friendly Service

Train your volunteers in customer service. A simple “Hello, how can I help you?” and “Thank you” can go a long way in getting repeat customers!

6. Consistent Menu

There are the tried-and-true concession foods like nachos, pickles, peanuts, popcorn, candy, gum, and sunflower seeds. Try to identify a specialty item that people look forward to and can only get at your concession stand, like homemade cookies from a local bakery. If team play is during prime meal hours, consider selling more substantial options like burritos, pizza, sandwiches and hot dogs. Establish and stick with a consistent menu so people know what to expect. Each year, analyze what sold well last season, and make adjustments accordingly.

Most Popular Concession Stand Food for Successful Fundraising

If you are running a concession stand as a fundraiser, it’s important to know which foods sell best. Keep in mind the type of event you are hosting will determine what type of concessions will be best suited. Messier options pair well with outdoor activities and prepackaged items are easier for indoors and seated events.

Hot Dogs – Hot dogs seem to sell well no matter whether your venue is a sporting event or an art walk. Be sure to have a variety of toppings in addition to ketchup and mustard.

Popcorn – There’s nothing like the smell of those buttery kernels to break down the resistance of even the most dedicated non-snacker.

Big Pretzels – Big, chewy pretzels are a wonderful treat, and can be served with a minimum of toppings.

Prepackaged Items – Many concession stands also have some prepackaged items for sale, such as chips, candy, crackers, and even gum. Brand names tend to sell better than off brands, and most concession stands need to experiment with how much prepackaged items to buy in order to make money.

Seasonal Items – Seasonal items – like popsicles in the spring and summer or hot cider and chocolate in the fall and winter – can be really profitable.

Healthy Choices – Since the concession stand often provides the family’s evening meal and many families have dietary restrictions to consider, offering healthy options may be worth the extra effort. Consider testing healthy options like trail mix, muffins, cheese sticks, dairy free fruit bars, baked chips, granola bars, hummus and crackers, and fruit or veggie cups. Your crowd may surprise you leading to a few higher-dollar, higher profitable items.

Local Flavor – Are breakfast tacos, kolaches, edamame or another local favorite dish popular in your community? By all means, match with a local vendor to bring in regional favorites to make your fundraiser even more successful.

Remember Your Volunteers

Your volunteers are key to your success and the best way to keep your volunteers happy and showing up is to make the job as EASY as possible for them. Use free SignUps to schedule shifts. With 24/7 access from any smart phone and computer with no password required, scheduling takes place in real time. SignUp sends out automatic reminders and provide eCalendar syncing.

In addition to scheduling shifts, SignUp allows you to open up other jobs for volunteers who want to be involved but can’t make the concession stand times. Create a SignUp for someone to order supplies from the local big box store. This can often be done online, and then another volunteer can be scheduled to pick the order up and deliver it to the booth.

Don’t forget to give your volunteers breaks and a snack for their break. And let SignUp send out thank you notes after their shifts!

How to start a concession stand business

Looking for more great fundraising ideas? Check out our Fundraising Ideas Center !

How to start a concession stand business

Hot Dog image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

How to Sell Tacos on the Streets of Los Angeles

Concession stands sell treats at ballgames, carnivals, fairs and parks. Starting a concession stand of your own might seem like a fun and profitable business venture–you get to sell things like hot dogs, funnel cakes and beer to people who are out having a good time, all while being your own boss. If you want to operate your concession stand in Pennsylvania, however, you will need to ensure that you are obeying all local laws and ordinances while you run your business.

Write up a business plan for your concession stand, and decide what type of stand you want to operate. You can run a stand that sells several types of pre-packaged foods like chips and soda, or you can operate one in which you cook your own food like hot dogs or funnel cakes. This decision will affect what type of equipment you need. You need to decide whether you want to sell alcohol–if so, you’ll need a special license. You also must decide where you want to run your stand. If you choose some special event, you’ll only be able to make money when an event is going on.

Find a place to operate your concession stand. You cannot just buy equipment and set it up wherever you like. If you want to operate a concession stand at a sporting event or fair, you will need to arrange for a permit to do so with the people responsible for operating the event. Contact the manager of the location you plan to run your business in and explain that you are a vendor. You will probably need to pay a fee to operate your stand at a fair or flea market, and you may find that you aren’t allowed to operate a private stand at most local stadiums. If you want to operate a food truck like the ones that sell cheesesteaks and sausages on the street, you’ll need to buy a permit from the city or town in which you want to sell.

Buy your concession stand and all of the equipment you need. You can save money by buying a used concession stand, or you can buy an entirely new outfit from a food vendor manufacturer. These companies specialize in producing all the equipment you’ll need to operate your stand, from frames to grills to condiment dispensers. You can also buy a franchise from a national food stand chain. If you go this route, you’ll get all of your equipment from the chain, but you’ll need to sign an agreement to follow the company’s rules and turn over a share of your revenue.

Apply for a business license, seller’s permit and DBA (doing business as) from your local county clerk. You can apply for all of these documents at once; you’ll need to fill out forms with your information and pay fees. These documents will allow you to register your business name, open business banking accounts, buy supplies at wholesale prices and hire employees.

Obtain federal and state taxpayer identification numbers from the federal and Pennsylvania Internal Revenue Services. Both of these numbers can be obtained in one day. You’ll need to fill out online applications and pay fees for both of these numbers. You need them to open bank accounts and hire employees.

Register your concession stand with the state Department of Agriculture. You may be visited by a health inspector, so make sure you are in compliance with Pennsylvania’s Health Codes.

Posted by Janis Meredith

How to start a concession stand businessGood concession stands do not just happen. They take work and a coordinated effort by many people. Here are 30 ideas to help make things run more smoothly.

1. Appoint a Leader. The person in charge should organize and oversee all concession activities.
2. Build a team. Delegate duties to spread the work around: stocking, shopping, cash management, selling, as well as set up and tear down.
3. Visit other concession stands. It is always good to see how others are doing it and what sells.
4. Get proper paperwork. Some counties or cities require permits for selling and preparing food. Check with your city and local health department for details.
5. Communicate with volunteers clearly and consistently. Be sure they know where and when to report. Keep track of each volunteer’s contact information and the volunteer work schedule. SignUpGenius could be used for volunteer sign-ups, streamlining your recruiting, shift coordination, and email communication.
6. Send reminders to workers. SignUpGenius sends out the text/email reminders so no one forgets their responsibilities!
7. Provide emergency contact information. Do the volunteers know who to call in an emergency or in case they can’t make their work shift?
8. Develop a budget and determine costs. Carefully plan out the money you will need to spend on equipment, food and other supplies; this will help you figure how much profit you must make on food items.

In charge of organizing team snacks ? Let SignUpGenius help!

9. Create a menu. Decide at the onset what food you want to sell. As you make the list, consider how much work you want to put into preparation.
10. Keep the menu simple and the pricing clear. Pricing tips: price items 2X what you paid for them and display items with prices.
11. Create menu combinations. Value priced options with multiple items typically sell well.
12. Shop smart. Shop at a big-box warehouse or ask league management if there is a relationship in place with wholesale snack suppliers to take advantage of larger discounts.
13. Provide healthy food options. This might mean more work, but families who are stuck at a sporting event for hours will thank you for a healthier meal alternative. Think about providing light mayo, granola bars, string cheese, yogurt, orange juice, dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, veggie pizza, and even fresh fruit. Snack bar food doesn’t all have to be junk food.
14. Keep a log. Maintain a weekly log of what you purchased, sold, and the left over inventory. This will help in future buying decisions.
15. Choose a Cashbox Supervisor. He or she will be sure you have enough small bills and coins for early transactions, remove excess cash from the cashbox, reconcile cash and inventory, and make money deposits at the bank.

Organize and collect funds for a coach’s gift online easily. SAMPLE

16. Display volunteer “rules” for workers. Don’t keep your volunteers guessing: tell them how much “free stuff” they can have, who gets free food (refs, umpires, visiting coaches, etc), and any other things they need to know about running a smooth snack bar.
17. Wear a uniform. When serving food, it is important to look professional and neat. Consider ordering t-shirts for volunteers to wear so everyone matches.
18. Build a reputation. Identify a specialty item that people look forward to and can only get at your concession stand, like breaded soup bowls, specialty cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes.
19. Choose foods that can be served quickly. Snack bar lines can get long, but if your foods are ready to go, individuals can get back to their seats quickly.
20. Look for ways to make extra cash. Be creative. Sell raffle tickets during the game for league T-shirts and hats or for cash prizes to earn extra money.
21. Keep a first aid kit and plenty of ice. Snack bars are often the first place coaches turn to for instant first aid.
22. Keep concession stand clean and make it look appealing. Even if it is only just a folding table, take a few minutes to spruce it up with a tablecloth and decorate with team colors and logo.
23. Take frequent stock. Take frequent inventory to ensure that you do not run out of any items, and reorder before you are sold out.
24. Make it easy for volunteers to swap shifts. Using SignUpGenius will provide an opportunity for your workers to swap shifts without bugging the person in charge.

Recruit concession stand volunteers with a sign up! SAMPLE

25. Have volunteers arrive 15 minutes before their shift. Always give yourself some breathing room for instructions.
26. Look out for your volunteers. If workers will be expected to be on their feet a good portion of their shift, suggest comfortable shoes. If they will have periods of downtime or especially long shifts, supply chairs as needed.

How to start a concession stand business How to start a concession stand business How to start a concession stand business

27. Ask kids for advice. If you’re thinking about offering something new, ask your kids what they think. After all, they’re the people who are coming to your concession stand.
28. Plan ahead for team sales. Check with team coaches to see if their teams plan to buy food and drinks after their games. If so, have extra supplies on hand and prepared for the appropriate time.
29. Express appreciation to volunteers, before, during and after they work. They are your greatest assets.
30. Show appreciation to your volunteers. Go the extra mile to let your team know how much you appreciate their help. Have an end-of-season volunteer party or organize a volunteer appreciation event! Using Signup Genius will make that a breeze!
Snack bars provide more than food and refreshment for spectators, they give parents an opportunity to model team work for their kids and for the good of the sport. Play on!

Janis Meredith writes Jbmthinks, a blog on sports parenting and youth sports. After being a coach’s wife for 29 years and a sports parent for 21, she sees issues from both sides of the bench.

BROOKLYN — Chef Duvaldi Marneweck envisioned his tiny Goa Taco food stand as something he could start simply, planning it with just the “basics and absolute necessities” since he had limited capital.

Marneweck, a South African native who most recently had been cooking in kitchens of Perth, Australia, folds a paratha — a flatbread popular in India’s city of Goa that he calls “the buttery love-child of a tortilla and croissant” — like a taco. Then he fills it with delicious flavors inspired by his world travels, like charcoal-roasted pork belly with chipotle mayo and pickled red cabbage; seared skirt steak, feta caprese, and a fried egg; and a banh mi-inspired combo with poached turkey or tofu.

But starting a business in New York City isn’t easy, no matter how small.

Marneweck moved to New York this summer for his wife’s research gig at Columbia. He launched his food stand in July at “Smorg Jr.” at the Park Slope Flea on Seventh Avenue, an offshoot of the wildly popular Smorgasburg run by the Brooklyn Flea founders.

His projected start-up budget was $4,000. It ended up costing nearly double.

“It ended up being way more costly than I thought it would be,” said Marneweck.

As a veteran cook who started commercial kitchens from scratch, he had a clear vision of his start-up needs. Still, he was still surprised the red tape he found here.

“There are so many permits you need,” he said, adding, “Little things add up, from printing tickets to the grills and gas bottles.”

Here’s a breakdown of what went into it:

1. Find the right product and name (cost: years of experience)

One morning several years ago, Marneweck was hungry but had few things in his house except for paratha bread. So he made a bacon and egg with it and was hooked.

“We were referring to them as ‘delightful treats,'” he recounted. “I knew it was a good product. We figured out a quirky name for them. The word taco was the closest description because of its shape.”

He sources the ingredients from the “right suppliers that do the right thing and have good meat and high standards” rather than something “factory-farmed and hormone-fed.”

“People absolutely love it,” Marneweck said. “At the market, people walk back and say, ‘Thank you so much. That was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.'”

2. Find a location (cost: $125 a week)

Having a good location is critical, Marneweck said.

He toured the Smorgasburg on prior trips for his wife’s academic conferences and applied to the popular Williamsburg market before moving here, but didn’t land a spot. The Flea offered him space at Smorg Jr., in front of P.S. 321, on Seventh Avenue and First Street, which costs $125 a week to rent for Saturday and Sunday, and is paid on a week-to-week basis, Marneweck said.

Three of the five new vendors who started at Smorg Jr. didn’t return after the first weekend since business was slow, Marneweck said. That part of Park Slope often empties on weekends. But Goa Taco plans to stay through the market’s November run and has seen an uptick in business post-Labor Day.

Now Marneweck is setting up pop-ups at bars and elsewhere, spending Labor Day weekend on the North Fork of Long Island at the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company and at Park Slope’s Mission Delores last weekend. He will be at Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg next Thursday night.

His goal is to have a pop-up shop in someone else’s space or find a short-term lease.

“At the moment, it would be impossible to lease a place. I don’t have a credit rating or history here. Unless you have a ton of money to put down, it’s too difficult,” he said. “It was hard enough to find an apartment, never mind a commercial lease.”

3. Start an LLC (cost: $1,250)
The first step in starting Marneweck’s business was registering it as an LLC, or a limited liability company.

“I’ve never done any of that before. So, I spent hours and hours and hours on the Internet trying to get information on the steps to do it,” Marneweck said.

It cost Marneweck about $250 to register his business as quickly as possible. He also had to spend $1,000 on publishing in different newspapers that he was setting up an LLC, which is required by state law, he explained.

4. Get documents for paying sales taxes (cost: free)
To run a business, you first have to get an EIN — or Employer Identification Number — through the Internal Revenue Service

5. Obtain other permits (cost: more than $250)

To sell food from a temporary food establishment, Marneweck needed various permits from the city’s Health Department, including a permit for the establishment (roughly $120), a propane permit (roughly $70) and food permit (roughly $70). He also needed to take a health exam, which he did online. It was “basic stuff” for him since he was a chef with culinary schooling, he said.

6. Buy equipment (cost: roughly $6,000)

Just as starting the LLC was more labor intensive than Marneweck thought, finding cooking equipment and other needed tools “took hours and hours and hours of research.”

It cost roughly $6,000 for everything from napkins, utensils and chopping boards to tables, materials to build the stall, the grill spits, charcoal and other items. Some things he bought online and some he bought locally, mainly from cooking equipment shops in Chinatown.

“I was trying to save on every single thing,” he explained. “There were silly problems I ran into, like the spit that I worked with needed electricity but there was no electricity at the market.”

He could have bought generators, but that would have cost $1,000. He found a $300 solution that was more labor intensive. He bought a motor that could run on battery but had to convert it to running on a car battery.

“The motor took way longer than I thought to get here [from California]. It arrived the day before I had to do the market,” he said. “I had four hours to rig something up.”

How to start a concession stand business


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A lemonade stand might have provided you with the money for your first enterprise as a child. As an adult, running your own lemonade concession stand can provide you with a significant source of income. This is a relatively easy business to start. And perhaps best of all, you’ll be putting smiles on people’s faces all day long, as you hand them a refreshing cup of lemonade.

Create a business plan for your lemonade concession stand. Your plan should describe the lemonade you plan to sell, what makes it stand apart from the competition (i.e., Is it squeezed on the spot? Made with organically grown lemons? Sweetened with citrus honey?), pricing, where you plan to operate your stand and how you plan to market it.

Purchase or build a stand that meets your needs. For instance, if you plan to operate your stand at outdoor fairs and festivals, you likely want a stand that comes with, or has room for, a big umbrella to shade you from the sun. Think about things such as storage, counter space and refrigeration when choosing or building the stand that’s best for your business. Design and print a sign, logo and price list to go along with your stand.

Buy needed supplies. This will likely include a cash register, ice chest, plastic cups, lids and straws, napkins. You’ll also need the actual ingredients to make your lemonade. Buy in bulk to bring your costs down.

Call your city or county government offices to find out if you need a permit to operate your stand. If you do, get one. This usually involves just paying a fee.

Find a suitable location for your stand. If you live in a beach town, this might be the board walk, or a busy outdoors market if you live in a city. If you’re in a location that has neither, consider getting on the fair circuit by taking your stand to different fairs in your region, since these events are heavily attended.

Encourage repeat business. For instance, you may want to offer souvenir cups for those purchasing large lemonades from your stand and offer discounts for refills.

  • Business Ideas: How to Start a Lemonade Stand
  • Sunkist: Make and Sell Fresh Lemonade

Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University.