Four Important Steps to Getting Food Concession Space at Fairs and Special Events

small event

booths at a small community event

Welcome 2012! With the party hats, confetti and well-earned hangovers behind us it’s time to start planning for the 2012 concession season. Every year I am surprised how fast winter slides into spring, bringing with it a flurry of the usual pre-season activities.  One of the first things to think about is event applications. If this is your first year out there is no time to lose.

Obtaining contracts for food booth space at quality events can be a difficult undertaking because there are a limited number of booth spaces available at a limited number of events. Event coordinators may receive twenty, forty, or more, applications for food booth space each year. Therefore, it is critically important new vendors present themselves and their new concession business in the best light possible. Some things you can do to get the coordinators’ attention and increase your chance of being offered a space at the events you apply for are:

  1. Serve a unique menu. A concessionaire who serves typical fair food, such as corn dogs and snow cones, will likely be passed over by event coordinators. Serve a menu that is unique, but not so crazy unique customers will be afraid to spend their money on it. Though a unique menu initially may not sell as well as standard fair food, your event bookings will be of higher quality, and, if your food is good, your niche will develop quickly producing higher sales in the future.
  2. Have a clean, attractive, and professional looking booth, display and signs.
  3. Better still, have a gimmick. Design a particularly fun display or booth/menu name. Something as simple as painting clown faces on your trash can lids (mouths open to receive trash) might be enough to make your booth memorable to the decision makers.
  4. Design a brochure, pamphlet, or flyer and include it with your booth space application. This brag sheet introducing your booth and menu to event coordinators is the most effective way to make an early and positive impression. A color photograph or drawing of your business, along with a blurb describing your delicious food and your professionalism, is an effective way to set yourself apart. You want to show the coordinators what an asset your concession will be to their event. Further, you want them to be excited to have you there.

This coming event season every concessionaire will be challenged to earn every sale. As a new vendor you may find that the business is more challenging than you expected. However, you might also be surprised to earn more money and have more fun than you thought possible.

About admin

With nearly three decades of experience in the food concession business, a position on the Oregon Food Services Advisory Board and as founder of Northwest Vendor’s Network Association, Barb Fitzgerald is a leading authority on this unique mode of self-employment. Her own experience and dedicated passion for the concession business drives her belief in the food concession business as a path to self-employment for nearly anyone with the desire to become responsible for their own income. She is a concession start-up consultant, and the best-selling author of, Food Booth, The Entrepreneur’s Complete Guide to the Food Concession Business. Go to:
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