These top tips for concession stand organizers are sponsored by our friends at VolunteerSpot – the leading, online sign-up tool that makes organizing people (and concessions fundraisers) a snap!
Organizing a Concession Stand
If you have ever been asked to be in charge of running a concession stand, you may throw your arms up in the air and not know where to begin! Of course we all know that the goal is two-fold: to provide spectators with food and drinks and to make a profit for the organization running the concession stand.
I personally have had my fair share of working in concession stands at our intermediate, junior high and high schools as well as working concessions at our local baseball fields. The running theme between all of the different concession stands, that are run by volunteers only, is trying to get enough help and turning a good profit!
Boost Concession Stand HELP
The key to boosting help at your concession stand is to be organized and to keep your volunteers happy!
1. Organize your volunteers EARLY
Contact your list of volunteers early. As soon as you have the schedule of when the concession stand will be open, ask volunteers to sign up for spots to work. Don’t delay.
2. BE SPECIFIC
When contacting your volunteers, tell them how many shifts you need them to work. If you are not specific, volunteers may only sign up for one spot or not even sign up at all. #concessionstandfail
3. KEEP ‘EM HAPPY
Yep, unhappy volunteers are going to walk out of the concession stand, complain to others and not want to come back to work another shift. Treat your volunteers with the utmost respect and keep them happy…let them have a drink and a snack during their shift, this little bonus will make their day!
If you are the organizer, you don’t need every volunteer emailing you to double check their time shift, get a reminder of what day they are working or even to swap shifts with another volunteer if they have had a change plans.
Simplify things for yourself and your volunteers by using VolunteerSpot’s online volunteer sign-up sheets. Volunteers can sign up anytime from their computer or smartphone, reference the days and time, receive shift reminders and even SWAP spots with other volunteers. It doesn’t get any easier than this!
5. TIME SAVERS
Volunteers don’t want to sign up for a job and then get “stuck” in a job that takes forever. Do what ever you can to make things as easy as possible for your volunteers:
- Print signs for each job and post on the concession stand wall, this will eliminate so many questions.
- Sending a volunteer to pick up your items from a big box store (i.e., Sam’s Club, Costco, etc)?. Order everything online using the “click n’ pick” option. Then the volunteer doesn’t actually have to do the shopping, they just pick the pre-paid items up.
- Keep an inventory list, as soon as something is running low, mark it on the list.
BOOST Concession Stand PROFITS
Do your best to respectfully make the most profit for your organization.
1. DO LESS WORK
Every concession can’t have it all! Especially small concession stands. Try to partner with an outside food source, like a local pizza place or burger joint. Often times a local restaurant will provide food at a greatly discounted price to the selling organization. In turn your organization marks it up and make the profit. It’s a win-win.
2. SEASONAL ITEMS
Take advantage of the season. Is it fall? Serve up some hot apple cider. It is baseball season? Add bags of peanuts to the menu. Winter time? Be sure to have hot chocolate. And, friends, if it is early morning, please, please serve COFFEE! The profit margin on coffee is huge and it’s a big seller.
Keep in mind holidays as well. Adding seasonal food and candy will increase your profits by a wide margin!
Post prices in clear view. Keep it simple when pricing items. Round prices to the nearest dollar or fifty cents. This keeps it easy for volunteers and those purchasing.
Keep items stocked that make a good profit margin. Candy and beverages are the most profitable items a concession stand can have. (You won’t make as much profit on healthier items like trail mix and granola bars, but it’s always a good idea to keep these on hand as well.)
Are you ready to tackle this concession stand thing?! You got it! Keep a little patience and kindness in one hand and be organized with the other and your concession stand will run as smoothly as ever!