Concession Trailer Business Course

Welcome to the Concession Trailer Business Course. Here in this course you will find all the information you will ever need to know about food concession trailers and the concession business. I have broken down the relevant information into easy to read steps to help you get setup and into the business of making money with your very own concession trailer, espresso stand or coffee trailer.

Keep in mind when I mention concession trailer that the concession stand also falls into this category.

The difference is the concession trailer is mobile and can be moved from place to place to do shows, fairs, festivals, races, or just anywhere a gathering of people might be.

The concession stand is set up just like the trailer except it is usually permanent. You will usually find concession stands set up in a busy park or in a parking lot in front of shopping malls or department stores. Whichever style your interested in both have their good qualities and maybe a couple not so good. But don’t worry about the downside if you are really serious about the concession business then the good will over come the bad.

Another thing I want to add is don’t ever get in a rush.

This process will take time and if it’s rushed you will not succeed. When planning to buy or build a food concession trailer think of it as an investment and like buying a home for you and your family. You don’t go out looking for a house one morning and buy the next do you? Neither should you with a food concession trailer.

I know your excited and ready to start making the big bucks but trust me when I tell you that taking your time will pay off.

To do it right you should allow at least six months if not a year for planning and getting your concession trailer or concession stand built before making your first dollar.

Now I am sure your sitting there wondering why it’s going to take so long just to set up a food concession trailer. Here is why. If you are planning on traveling across country doing shows with your concession trailer this will not apply to you.

The very first thing or first step you need to do is get in touch with your county and city health departments and city ordnances office. These people are under staffed and never get in a hurry.

Expect this process to take from one week to 3 months.

Visit your city and county health departments in person if possible. Call first to make an appointment. Once you get an appointment sit down with him or her and explain to them what you are planning. Tell them you want to operate a food concession trailer in your state and you need to know what the codes and laws are. Also ask for a manual with all the guidelines in it pertaining to the concession business.

If you have an idea where you might like to set up mention this and make sure of any special codes or laws for this area. Then they will tell you what they need from you. Usually they ask for an outline of your trailer and all the plumbing and wiring diagrams and a business outline. Don’t panic. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

Now to step two.

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Cotton Candy Maker

cotton-candyA cotton candy maker or cotton candy machine is welcome at any festive occasion! Cotton candy is a favorite treat of young and old alike.

If you are looking for concession equipment for a special event, you’ll want to give the cotton candy maker top priority. A real crowd pleaser, there’s always a line of people wanting cotton candy. Your guests will be delighted!

The cotton candy machine is a hot item for a fund-raiser. The raw materials are quite inexpensive, making for a wide profit margin. Cotton candy is so attractive, that once the first person has some, everybody notices and wants some too. A cotton candy machine usually pays for itself easily, making the rest of the sales pure profit for your fundraiser. Many people associate cotton candy with fairs, carnivals, and the circus. A cotton candy machine can bring that feeling to your event, however large or small it may be.

Cotton candy has been around for nearly a hundred years. The interesting thing about a cotton candy machine is that it can take regular sugar and melt it into a liquid. The machine then spins the liquid sugar at a high speed and forces it through several tiny holes. As the liquid passes through the holes in the cotton candy maker and cools it becomes a wispy, cotton like candy; a treat that is colorful, light and very tasty…all made from your cotton candy machine.

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Espresso Trailer Business – 4

Unlike the concession business where I recommend only 3 or 4 menu items, the drive thru espresso stand business will have many times that many menu items. Most all will be in various forms of coffee drinks from espresso to frozen coffees to flavored coffees.

I will be adding soon, several hundred coffee recipes to this site so all can enjoy and use. On you menu you should include smoothies, even though it’s not in any form a coffee drink it fits well with this group and will sell well as will frozen drinks from your granita machine.

On this large menu of different coffee drinks, frozen drinks, and smoothies you may be tempted to sell food. I would not recommend it. It is your drive thru coffee stand business and you sell what you want, I am just making suggestions here. You are in a gourmet coffee business and it just doesn’t mix with food.

People who come to your drive thru coffee stand business are conesiers and are not very forgiving. They want the perfect cup of coffee, espresso, cappuccino, etc and it takes all your attention satisfying your customers and making them that perfect coffee beverage and you just don’t have time worrying if you are burning someone’s fries. If you want to serve something edible you can just don’t do dinners and lunches. Serve snacks and pastries. Something simple that does not require a lot of your time and attention. You can bake cookies and pies at home and bring them in and sell by the slice or cookie. I would not go much further that that.

Well this concludes our talk on the drive thru espresso trailer coffee stand business for now. I hope you enjoyed and found it useful. I wish you all the luck in starting your own drive thru espresso stand business. If you ever have any questions or comments or ideas please let us know. We would be happy to hear them and I will answer any questions you have the best I can. Make sure you visit and join the forum and become an active participant. We and everyone else is always looking for new ideas and without you this suite would not be possible. Thanks again for visiting and come back often, as we will be adding new topics regularly. Visit all of our other informative pages on this site before you leave.

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Espresso Trailer Business – 3

This may be one of the most important things you can do if you are really serious about opening a drive thru espresso stand business. Learn about coffee, espresso, and cappuccinos, become a barrister.

If you are not a coffee drinker then start right now. The people who will frequent your drive thru coffee stand are a picky bunch and I don’t blame them. Nothing is more frustrating than to watch someone ruin a good cup of Java or have someone hand you what he calls an espresso but turns out to be the likeness of burnt mud.

Don’t call yourself a drive thru espresso business if you know nothing about coffees. In order to appreciate the whole coffee espresso experience from roasting the beans to grinding them to handing a cup to one of your customers you must be a drinker.

Do a lot of research then do more. Get to know and appreciate every aspect of the drive thru coffee stand business. If you don’t acquire the appreciation this craft deserves your customers can tell and your business will suffer. Take a class if you can. They will show you everything there is to know about being a great barrister from the perfect grind to just how much to tamp to pour the perfect shot of espresso.

I know there are a couple of barrister training schools in the northwest and a couple more scattered around the country and the cost is between $3500 and $5000 but it is well worth it and it will pay for itself in no time.

Later on in a month or so I will put links to these schools on this site so you can find them easily. Let me end this step by saying, and I can’t stress this enough to you, research, research and more research. Learn all there is to know about the drive thru coffee business and it will reward you greatly. Ok on to step four.

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Espresso Trailer Business – 2

This step deals with equipment. The drive thru coffee business is a moneymaking business and it shows by the price of the equipment.

• The first and most important pieces of equipment is your espresso machine. If your just starting in the drive thru espresso business I would recommend at least a two or three group espresso machine with fast recovery. You also will have to choose between automatic and semi automatic. Both are great and will do the job you need. Semi automatic is the favorite of drive thru coffee business owners and automatic being the most used in the coffee shops. In you research you can read about each one and decide for yourself. The main difference between the two being with an automatic the shot is pull for you and the extraction process is automatic, with the semi automatic you use a lever to pull your own shots and this all comes with practice until you pull just as good or better shot than an automatic can for you. In most cases though if you start with a semi automatic and get the feel for it you will stick with the semi automatic. In my opinion a good barrister can always pull a much better shot with a semi automatic than an automatic ever could.
• The next piece of equipment is your grinder. These come in many shapes and sizes and just and many grind selections. I recommend getting a grinder that has at least 7 to 13 grind selections as each different kind of coffee, espresso, and cappuccino takes a different grind. Don’t buy just one. Have at least two in your drive thru coffee business.
• The next piece of equipment is totally optional. The coffee bean roaster. If you want to go all the way in this business then by all means buy yourself a roaster. You can buy the different variety of beans fresh and roast them to you and your customers liking. If you are not interested in this part of the business that’s ok it will not hurt you in any way. You can buy just as flavorful beans already roasted in a variety of roasts.
• Don’t forget about the common everyday coffee maker. Even though you are running a gourmet coffee business there are lots of us who still like a good cup of plain coffee. It’s also good for making hot chocolate for the kids and us big kids as well. A three-station coffee maker will work just fine in the beginning. You can also ad flavor to your coffees and sell them that way. The ways to make money with just coffee is endless.
• A two or three tub granita machine will bring in some cash. Set one of these up in your drive thru coffee business and make frozen drinks to sell. You can also make gelatos with these and watch your profits sour. People love frozen coffee drinks (gelatos).
• You should also buy several blenders for your drive thru espresso business. You can use them for a variety of drinks such as smoothies and frozen coffee drinks. This is about all the basic equipment you will need for the drive thru coffee business as far as coffee beverage goes so lets continue with step three.

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Espresso Trailer Business – 1

Welcome. Here you should find everything you need to know about opening your own drive thru espresso trailer coffee stand business. If you have not read the pages on concession trailer business yet I would suggest you go back and read that first before reading this, because a lot of the same rules and information applies and It would be redundant to repeat myself.

There are 10 very informative steps on the page and you should read every one of them. So why don’t you go ahead and go back and read those 10 steps and join me here when your finished. Take your time and enjoy. I will wait on you.

Ok lets begin. There are several differences which only apply to the drive thru coffee stand business and needs to be added to the 10 basic steps you have just read. The first step being……

Make sure you have plenty of windows in your drive thru coffee stand. Two drive thru windows and one walk up window will do but I would recommend four drive thru windows. Two on each side and a walk up window on the end.

The drive thru coffee stand business is still fairly new in the north and very rare in the south. It is growing fast though and those two extra windows will be appreciated in the near future. It’s a lot easier to get them installed during construction than to do it later and a lot cheaper.

In the beginning you will probably just work out of one window per side but as your business grows and it will all four windows will be in use. The one window on each side in the front can be used to take orders and money while someone else is preparing the coffee drink ready to hand it out one of the two back windows which will in turn open up the front two windows again so you can take another order and move your customers thru at a faster pace. Faster is always good.

Now to step two.

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Concession Trailer Business – 10

On opening day get to your concession trailer plenty early. You want to be prepared. First impressions are everything. You may not have but 20 people the first day but those 20 will turn into several hundred in time.

I would run the grand opening a week. Have specials and even give away samples. Anything to get the people to your concession stand. You will have a lot of wasted food the first few days until you know what to expect.

In the beginning it’s all a guessing game for anyone. You want to have enough but never too little. Run out once and you will loose valuable customers. It is better to have too much than not enough. It will not take you long to be able to estimate what you will need to prepare.

Just be nice and smile and serve good food and the people will come back. Also always open when you say you will. Never be late.. people will soon start depending on you for their lunch or dinner or their morning jolt on the way to work.

Good luck in your venture and never loose hope. A good business takes time and plenty of patience. I have faith in you and I know you can do it.

Be sure to check out our other sections of this website if you interested in getting into the BBQ stand business or espresso coffee stand business. We also have section on buying used concession trailers and selling used concession trailers and building your own concession trailer. We will also be adding a section called concession recipes, which will give you useful tips, and ideas on what to sell in your concession business and what is the most profitable. Sections will be added as often as possible.

Stay in touch and visit regularly because it is you that make this site what it is. If you have an idea or tip that you would like to see me write on or posted please let me know.

Thanks and good luck!

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Concession Trailer Business – 9

Ok the time has come, you receive your concession trailer. You have gone thru it and see it is exactly the way you ordered it and are satisfied. Plug it up while it is at your home and fill tanks with water and check electrical and plumbing to make sure everything works properly.

Now contact your health department and confirm your appointment date that you set earlier. Get the health department inspection out of the way as soon as possible.

Once this is done pull it to your location and begin set up which will consist of which direction trailer will face then get it level. Once this is done put stabilizer jacks under it in each corner to keep it from bouncing when you move around in it.

Get an electrician out to hook you up to electricity if you had a pole and meter put in, if not plug it in to your power source. Make sure everything is turned off before plugging in to power source. Then one at a time about 30 seconds apart turn on your lights, refrigerator, freezer, ovens, etc to make sure your power source can handle the load.

After all those check out check your plumbing again to make sure everything works properly and that you have no leaks. Now you can turn everything off except refrigerators and freezers. These will need to be run at least 24 hours before stocking and also to check temperature settings. (Go to Wal-mart and get a refrigerator thermometer and freezer thermometer for each one you have in your concession trailer.)

Put a thermometer in each unit and check the temperature the next day and adjust accordingly. Your booklet from health department will tell you what these temperatures should be for each unit. Once you get the temperature right you can begin to stock, but not to far ahead of opening day. I would wait till the day before.

Date each item you put in refrigeration so you can keep the old and fresh separate.

Make sure you have your advertisement banners and signs out. Have at least 2 trash containers ready to place outside by serving windows during business hours.

Now you should be ready for your grand opening and step ten

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Concession Trailer Business – 8

We are getting there slowly but surely. Can you feel the excitement building? You are about to step into your own concession trailer business. I know, I am excited for you, so if it hasn’t kicked in yet it will soon.

A lot of what you will do now is waiting and tying up loose ends getting ready for delivery of your concession trailer.

I want to also point out in this time of waiting you will be urged to call the manufacture often and keep on top of the construction process. This is fine and good just don’t overdo it. Once a week will be plenty. Write down all your questions when you think of them and ask them all at once when you on the phone so as not to have to keep calling them over and over. No one likes a pest.

More than likely the manufacturers have given you a date to expect delivery. If not, about 3 weeks in ask for one. Once you get the exact date call your health department and set an appointment to have your concession stand inspected.

In some cases they will want you to go ahead and set up on location then inspect, but most of the time they will let you pull it to their office and inspect it. Then there may be a second inspection after it is set up. Either way make an appointment for this important step.

Call the owner of the location and give them a date when you will be setting up.

Start advertising whether by paper or word of mouth. If the owner of the location doesn’t mind put up a banner advertising what you will sell and when to expect you there and the date.

Round up your suppliers if you are going to buy your goods wholesale and recheck availability and prices.

Call the city and make sure everything is on schedule if you have decided to go with them for power or water and waste services.

Now in the last few days or weeks before your grand opening it would be good to have a team meeting. Get everyone together who will be working with you and make sure they know what is going on and what is expected of them. Make sure everyone is on board with you and on the same page.

Open up a business account at a bank under your DBA or doing business as name.

Now about the only thing to do now is wait for your concession trailer to be completed. As soon as it is we will move to step nine

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Concession Trailer Business – 7

At this point in planning your concession trailer business, you need to decide about your power, water, and waste sources.

We will start with deciding where you will get all that precious, much needed electricity.

You can use a generator, which is good, if you move from spot to spot regularly. For example, if you have 3 roadside location which you set up regularly thru the week. You can run a heavy-duty extension cord and plug in somewhere, which is good if the power is readily available to run everything you have in the trailer.

You do not want to do this if all you have to plug into is a regular 20-amp outlet. You will continually be resetting breakers and having power outages which will soon become very frustrating for you.

But if there is plenty of power (I recommend at least 50 amps) go for it and I would also suggest offering to pay a monthly fee for this power if it is available to you.

Your final choice is calling your power company and having them set a power pole and meter at your location. Now this only works out to your advantage if you stay in the same spot continually. Every city differs on the price they charge for doing this service. Anywhere from $85 to $1000. In the long run you will appreciate the convenience no matter what the cost is. You will get the bill sent to you like you do at home and you can keep up with how much you are spending on electricity as well.

Deciding whether to haul your fresh water or hook straight up to the city is your next decision.

There are pros and cons to both. My thoughts have always been that you don’t use that much water anyway so why pay a huge amount to hook up to the city when you are already paying to get this service at home and it is hardly any trouble at all hauling the water from home and filling your tanks. Most concession business owners take there dirty dishes home to wash every evening anyway so the only water you are actually using is to wash your hands with.

Even if you did clean your dirty dishes on site you probably would not use over 10 gallons a day. To me it’s just not worth it but it’s your decision so you can decide.

Wastewater disposal is the same way. It is a lot easier to dispose of it yourself than to pay to hook up to the city. All It is, is dirty dishwater anyway and no big deal to drain the tank into a container and empty it at home in the sink. You could also get a service to come by once a day or 3 times a week to empty your tank for a very reasonable fee. Just keep in mind whatever you do make it as convenient at possible.

You want to keep your business fun and not turn it into a job.

Keep in mind that the more you are hooked up to like city water and waste the more codes you will have to follow and more hassles. To some these hassles might be worth it. You just have to decide for yourself. Ok moving right along to step eight

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Concession Trailer Business – 6

Its time now to choose how to get your concession trailer or concession stand built. Are you going to build it yourself or have someone like a manufacturer build it?

If you are thinking about building it yourself then just click on the link “Building your concession trailer” (coming soon!) and it will explain step by step how to do so. If you are wanting to start out in this business by purchasing a used concession stand, please click on the link “purchasing used concession trailer” (coming soon!) and I will get into that in detail.

If you are wanting to have someone else build it for you just keep reading.

There are very few companies out there that actually build concession trailers complete. A lot of them say they build or sell concession trailers but all they sell or offer is a box trailer with a couple awning windows installed. This is not what I mean when I say concession trailer manufacturer.

You are needing a manufacturer who will build you a complete trailer with all equipment installed ready to go. I will have a links page on this site listing the top manufacturers in my opinion.

You can call and or email each one and get a price quote and feel for each manufacturer and make your choice from that. Depending on your budget the price range will vary greatly.

You can expect $9000.00 or so for a bare trailer with only electrical, plumbing, cabinets, windows and lights to over $35000.00 with everything you may need.

Get your list I had you make in step 3 and start calling manufacturers. Tell them what you need and request a price estimate.

Sometimes you may run into a salesman that has a car salesman attitude. You know the ones that try to tell you what you want without really knowing you or your needs.. steer away from these people. They don’t care about you or your business. They are just out for your money.

Look for a manufacturer that wants to meet your needs and build the trailer how you like it. Now keep in mind that even the nicest salesman will need to make a few changes and make a couple of suggestions. This is because not everything you want in this trailer will either fit or be logical but you can tell the nice ones who are basically working with you the best they can from the ones who just want to pump out trailers whether it meets your needs or not.

Once you decide on a floor plan and equipment you will need to pay a deposit so they will know you are serious about the purchase. The deposit is non- refundable in most cases so do your research and shopping before you decide on any one manufacturer. The deposit in most cases will be ten percent. One or two out there might ask for twenty percent but I would not pay any more than that up front, its just not good judgment on your part to do so.

Before you commit with your deposit find out about shipping and delivery. Most of the time the manufacturer is not in your hometown and it has to be delivered to you somehow. Maybe you want to pick it up yourself when it is completed so find out if they allow this.

You should also find out how much they charge to deliver and how they deliver it to you. If it would be more feasible to have it delivered to you rather than pick it up yourself and don’t mind spending the extra money then that is the way to go. The average cost for delivery is between $1.50 and $2.50 per mile. Don’t forget to ask how long the wait time is on the completion of your trailer from the time you send your deposit. It will usually range from 4 to 12 weeks depending on what time of the year you order.

The concession season in most cases is from March until October. Most everyone who is thinking about getting a new concession trailer does so and orders in the months of December thru March so the manufacturers are very bogged down during this period of the year. The best time in my opinion is to place your order from August to November. You should have the least amount of wait time during these months.

Ok now while we are waiting for your concession trailer to be built we can move to step seven..

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