5 Tips for Operating a Concession Stand in Cold Weather

Posted by New England Pretzels and Popcorn CO., INC. on 1/25/2024

5 Tips for Operating a Concession Stand in Cold Weather

Operating a concession stand can be a lot of fun, but when the temperatures drop it’s easy for staff and volunteers to get distracted by the discomfort. A chill in the air can also affect your concession equipment. Use these cold-weather concession stand tips to take care of yourself and your machines, so you can operate your food stand comfortably and maximize your profits.

#1 – Tips for Concession Volunteers

Since you’ll probably already be selling hot chocolate and/or coffee to your customers (if not, you should be), go ahead and welcome your volunteers and staff to it as well at a discounted price. Explain that the lower cost goes toward paying for the products you have to purchase, such as the cups and cocoa, and maybe give them an even deeper discount if they supply their own reusable cup.

A woman stands in the park in cold weather wearing warm clothes.

#2 – What to Wear

When operating a concession stand in the winter, dress in layers, including wearing a hat and a scarf. This makes it easy to peel off a coat or jacket and still stay warm throughout a shift. Depending on your specific job (standing over a grill as opposed to serving drinks from the cooler), your concession stand location, and even how busy you are making/selling products, you’ll likely start cold, warm up, and maybe go back and forth until the team takes the last snack inventory before going home for the night. Those who are new to concessions may also be surprised by how warm the plastic sanitary gloves can be, which is a handy benefit in winter.

#3 – On Concession Equipment

Cotton candy and caramel corn have an advantage with the lower humidity that comes with cold weather. This is because when the air is cold, your machines hold less moisture. You’ll have a lower loss of product for cotton candy, and caramel corn stays nice and crisp.

When it comes to traditional popcorn, however, keeping it crisp can prove to be a challenge. Chilled popcorn in the corn deck can absorb the moisture from the fresh and still steaming batch. The solution is to keep your level of popped corn as low as possible without running out.

A child eats a soft warm pretzel while wearing a scarf in the cold weather.

#4 – Storage Ideas

Humidified cabinets work rather well in cold weather. Warming cabinets keep your pizza and pretzels at the perfect temperature, so they stay warm and ready-to-sell. However, you will want to keep the door closed as much as possible so that the humidity of the cabinets doesn’t escape to drier air. Be sure to keep a close watch on the water tank, as it will need to be replenished at a faster rate.

#5 – Plan for Recovery Time

Fryers can be a bit tricky to use in the cold weather due to a slightly slower recovery time of the oil, which will be longer when you make a batch of frozen Twinkies versus fresh batter. Most users, however, report that once they get used to cooking in the cold they can still produce great products, and customers love warm, fried treats at winter events.

For the most part, running a concession food stand is the same throughout the year – the profit margin is high, and the work is fun and rewarding! If you’d like to make 70-80% profits, contact our concession specialists and we’ll show you how to get started. Call 978-687-0342 today!

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