This can be a very tedious and discouraging job so prepare yourself for several letdowns before you find the perfect spot for your concession trailer.
As I am sure you know, you can’t just set your concession trailer anywhere. You need permission from the owner of the location. You could luck up and the first spot you choose might work out but that is very uncommon. Cross your fingers you never know.
Some location favorites of mine and some you might want to consider are Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and grocery chains such as Food Lion, Albertson’s, Reasors. Large shopping malls are good as well.
What makes these locations so good is the fact that lots of people are already there to do their shopping so you do not need a lot of extra advertising to get the people to your concession stand.
Figure on paying a monthly rent of $200 to $600 for these spots. This might sound like an enormous amount to some but it’s worth it.
Lets say you have chosen a Super Wal-Mart as a good location to set up your concession stand. The first thing you should do before ever talking to the manager is to sit down and write out a plan to present to the store manager or property owner. Include in this plan the name of your business, your name, address, and phone and fax numbers, a couple pictures of your concession trailer or stand inside and out, a list of menu items and prices, hours of business, the number of persons working in the business and their names and phone numbers.
Then in paragraph form explain why you chose this particular location and why you want to be considered. In the next paragraph explain how you plan to keep your location clean and presentable. Explain that you have a cleaning schedule set up where your employees and yourself included walk the property around your stand and pick up any trash that might be lying around and state that you have several trash containers set by your stand where your customers can dispose of trash and that these are emptied regularly.
In the next paragraph tell them that you plan to purchase any supplies that you may need from them and state what supplies these will be such as ice, plates, cups, etc. in the final paragraph tell them how your stand will be doing their customers a service by offering them good food and good customer service which will make their shopping experience an enjoyable one. Then at the end of this statement thank them for their time and consideration.
Type this up in resume form and print out a couple copies. Make it as presentable as possible. Think of it as a resume for that job of a lifetime. Now make an appointment to speak with the day manager of the store. You can call to find out when the best time is or just stop by the store. Do not expect to show up on a busy shopping day and expect much so think it through first.
The manager’s hours are usually between 7 and 4 during the day so go in the morning during the week. The manager may sit down with you and ask you a hundred questions then again he may just take your form and say he will call you in a few days. Either way give him or her a few days to think it over then if you have not heard from him give him a call.
Be courteous don’t act impatient or impolite. Just explain that you are calling to check the status of your consideration. It may take a couple weeks to make a decision. If you are granted permission…. great! Celebration time. If not don’t get discouraged there are many of other places just as good and profitable.
Ok lets say that you don’t care about setting up in a parking lot of some shopping center but you want to set up beside a busy road or in an abandoned parking lot. All of these are good choices as well, just a little more work and patience.
First you need to evaluate traffic. If only 20 cars an hour pass then you will know its not any good for you. You need to also take into account accessibility. Check to see how easy it is to get into the lot or pull off to get to you and also how hard it is to get back out into traffic. Lets say that you are specializing in breakfast foods and hope to cater to all those people going to work in the morning between 5 and 9 am. If it is difficult to pull off or takes a lot of time getting back out people will not stop because chances are they are late getting to work anyway.
Another obstacle to check.. is there a median? Will people only going one way be able to pull in and if someone on the other side of the median wants to get to you will they have to make a U-Turn. Most of the time the driver will not go to this extra trouble.
Ok once you have found the roadside spot you want or parking lot you will need to find out who owns the property and give them a call to make an appointment.
Have your form or business plan with you that I had you write above and present it to the owner. This process may take a couple weeks as well.
You may have to go through a half dozen locations before you find one that the owner will let you set up but it is all worth it in the end.
Ok let’s move to step 5 ….