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The Cost of Running a Concession Stand

Some people get into the concession business believing it to be an inexpensive way to start a business. They do not always understand all of the costs associated with running this sort of business and can find themselves in trouble rather quickly. However, with the right approach, and the knowledge of what you will need to get started and to succeed, you can get things up and running with less cost than aThe Cost of Running a Concession Stand traditional brick and mortar business. Remember, with a concession stand you can always start small and grow.

To be successful, you will need to consider all of the various costs involved in running this business. It’s important to keep in mind that different types of concession stands serve different types of food and will therefore have different operating costs..

The Booth

You will need to have a professional looking booth or cart with professional signage. Customers will feel more confident about purchasing their food from a stand that looks good rather than going to a rundown booth that has seen better days, no matter how hungry they are. Put a little extra money into the appearance and quality of your booth or cart and make sure it is aesthetically pleasing.

The Equipment

The equipment that you use behind the scenes is just as important as the booth itself. In most booths, customers can see the equipment as you cook, so you may want to use high quality, durable equipment whenever possible. Old and dirty equipment is not appealing, and it could hurt your business. Spend money on the proper equipment and keep it clean and well-maintained.  This can make running your business easier and more profitable in the long run. .

Concession Stand Supplies

The supplies used at your concession stand can eat up a substantial portion of your budget. But you do not want to skimp on these items. Good quality napkins and straws don't have to cost a fortune, but can make a difference. If you do skimp on quality, your customers will certainly notice and that is something you would rather avoid. Don't overspend, but don't buy bottom of the barrel goods either.


While you might be able to own and operate a small concession stand on your own, most stands will require at least two or three employees. Take into account breaks, time off and vacations and you could find yourself paying a lot for full time help. Therefore it might be a good idea to offer only part time work in the beginning, which costs much less than full time employees. This will give you a way to cut your costs, while still giving you extra help.

Food Costs

One of the largest expenses, and probably one of the most important, is the food. No matter what you sell at your stand, from hot dogs and burgers to cotton candy and pretzels, you will need to offer the best. If customers can’t get food that tastes great and looks appealing, they will not eat at your stand. It is as simple as that.

Other Fees and Expenses to Consider

Most concession stands also need to consider space and permit fees before they can start selling. Make sure you have all of the necessary permits in place long before you begin to sell. Owners also need to consider insurance premiums and maintenance fees for the overall upkeep of their business. You also need to pay yourself, just as you would get a salary from a traditional job, so you can pay your rent, car, utilities and all your other expenses.

If you account for all of these different costs in your budget and your overall plan, chances are you can run a successful concession stand. By starting small, it will be easier for you to handle your own finances as well. As your business grows, you may need to hire an accountant who can keep the books for you and advise you on business and other money matters. 

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