Consumers, for a long time, have relied on concession stands to satisfy their food and drink cravings. Whether at a movie theater, a baseball game, a concert, a park… concession stands rake in millions of dollars for offering their culinary services to people everywhere. 

But that being said, there are plenty of mistakes to be made in this business. In fact, there are many mistakes so severe that they can prevent you from making a living in the concession business. Don’t let that be you!

Here are 6 common mistakes to avoid when running a concession stand:

1. Only Accepting Cash Payments

“Nowadays, consumers are putting their credit cards and debit cards to work,” says Abby Dyason, a marketing blogger at Paperfellows and Boomessays. “In fact, according to Fundera, about 76% of consumers have at least one credit card on hand. That means that your concession stand will have to accommodate those who prefer to pay with credit or debit. While you can’t control the payment method preferences of consumers, you can still control how you accept payments at your concession stand. The last thing you want is to turn away consumers who don’t have any cold hard cash on hand. Needless to say, treat your concession stand as if it were a hybrid cash-digital place of business.

2. Selling “Boring” Food

The truth is, people want variety, especially when it comes to food. But don’t let that scare you; sometimes, variety can be useful for business!

Instead of just selling the usual popcorn and soft drinks, add some unique items like pretzels, candy, funnel cakes, etc. Plus, don’t forget to make seasonal additions during, say, the holidays (which we will talk about later on in this guide). Who knows? Your food and drink additions may grow a loyal fanbase that will keep returning to your concession stand time and time again. So, spicing up the menu will do wonders!

3. Having A Long Line Of People Waiting

No one likes to wait in long lines, especially at a concession stand. When people are hungry or thirsty, they expect quick service, so that they can satisfy their hunger and or thirst. 

That’s why you’ll need to ensure that lines don’t turn into very long ones. You may want to have more than one cash register at the concession stand. Plus, have extra hands to tackle the food orders while cashiers handle the monetary transactions.

The easiest way to replace multiple cash registers is to allow people to order on their phone from their seats. A mobile ordering platform like FanFood allows you to do so with minimal investment and setup, and helps you speed up operations drastically.

In addition, make sure that your food and drinks are grab-and-go, meaning that they can be prepared and served in as little time as possible. In this way, there’s little to no wait time for food to be prepped.

This leads to the next point…

4. Lack of Preparations

Don’t let poor service, antiquated machinery, last-minute scheduling, and inadequate inventory can really harm your business. Ensure that all machinery, food items, cash registers, etc. are well-prepped for the busy service day. Even on slow days at the concession stand, you’d still need to make sure that everything – from popcorn buckets to eating utensils to the condiments, and so on – are ready for the oncoming waves of consumers.

5. Doing Everything By Yourself

“Running your concession stand independently may show off your ability to work on your own,” says Natalie Hopman, a theater writer and connoisseur at Stateofwriting and Essayroo. “However, it’s still important to acknowledge when it’s time to get some more hands on deck. For example, you’ll need to think about who will handle all the monetary duties, while you handle the food. Or, maybe someone can restock food items, while another person can clean up equipment at the end of the day. So, having a plan on who does what at the concession stand is extremely ideal, since it’ll help you and your staff prepare for the waves of customers that will visit you.”

6. Not Doing Seasonal Promotions

As mentioned earlier, the holiday season can be a great way to promote new food and drink items to break the monotony of the menu. For example, you can serve hot chocolate during the winter season. Or, maybe candy apples for the Halloween season? Take advantage of seasonal changes! 


As you think about (AND avoid) these 6 common mistakes, you’ll be able to run your concession stand like a well-oiled machine. Get prepped. Get creative. And don’t forget your customers. 

Emily Henry is a writer at Dissertation Services and Academized. She is also a tutor and a contributing writer for Assignment Writing. As a content writer, she writes articles about marketing trends, coding, and computer science.