A concession trailer business is one of the most profitable and cost-effective ways to get into the culinary industry. But where do you start? What tools will you need? And how can you market the business? Below are the steps you’ll want to follow to achieve success.
Step One: Raise the Capital
Raising the appropriate capital is the first and most important step you must take. On average, you’ll need between $30,000 and $115,000 to set up the concession trailer, but it might be possible to do it for far less if you’re creative and purchase used equipment rather than new. Depending on the type of food you plan to serve, you’ll need the trailer, a grill, cooking and storing utensils, as well as refrigeration to keep the ingredients frozen or cool. If you don’t have the cash up front to purchase and set up your trailer, you can borrow it from a bank, but it is recommended to raise your own capital by saving money as dealing with banks can be a hassle, and you’ll have to pay back the loan with interest, whether your business succeeds or not.
Step Two: Choose a Theme
Now you’ll need to decide what type of food you want to serve. For best results, stay away from cuisines that are already being served either by stationary restaurants, cafes or other concession trailers in the area. You want to serve food that is unique yet recognizable to most people. Research the competition and find out what they’re cooking. If you’re going to serve food like hot dogs, hamburgers or ice cream, come up with flavors, designs or ingredients which stand out from the competition. You’ll also need to choose a great name with a mascot or logo. People respond favorably to symbols and a concession trailer that has a cool mascot or logo will always stand out over those that don’t.
Step Three: Purchase and Setup Your Equipment
Once you’ve selected a name, theme, and logo/mascot and know what type of food you want to serve, the next step is to get the equipment. You’ll need the trailer itself, cooking tools, refrigeration and things like napkins, cups, forks and spoons. Hire an artist to add the mascot/logo to the side of your trailer and you can also have it printed on cups. This is a nice touch that will again make your business stand out. Once you’ve got everything assembled, you’re ready to begin marketing yourself.
Step Four: Market and Advertise
In order for your concession trailer to succeed, people must know it exists, and the key to getting people’s attention is marketing and advertising. The internet has become one of the fastest-growing and most popular advertising platforms, but you’ll also want to use newspaper ads, fliers and any other method available to you. Hiring someone that specializes in marketing is a great idea, and during summer you’ll want to arrange to have your concession trailer appear at county fairs, parades, parks and concerts or sporting events. And equally important, be sure to design a great-looking business card and give it to everyone you meet!