As stadiums and ballparks reopen, concession areas are getting ready to serve hungry crowds during any game or event. So what should be on the menu? There are several traditional standbys to consider, and you can always elevate your game by adding a modern twist to the classics. Here are just a few concession stand food ideas you’ll surely want to include.
When the smell of popcorn wafts to your nostrils, it’s hard to think about anything but shoving a handful of crunchy, buttery kernels in your mouth. There is, perhaps, no food better suited to concessions than aromatic popcorn, which is sure to bring in a line of customers.
Even better, when your machine is well-maintained, it won’t need much attention. You’ll have to add popcorn, oil, and salt periodically, but a batch can last quite a while and serve a bevy of patrons without someone having to watch it like a hawk. While you can always add kettle corn seasoning or drizzle popped corn with chocolate or caramel, you also can’t go wrong with the tried-and-true classic.
There are a couple of ways you can go with pretzels. You may want to cook them hot and fresh on-site or have them pre-made so that you just have to keep them warm. Your choice will depend on the capacity of your staff and your establishment. Either way, these salted twists are a popular snack, especially when served with mustard, cheese sauce or other dipping options.
If we could only have two food groups, chips and cheese would satisfy just about everyone. When you smother crispy, salty chips in spicy, liquid cheese, you’ve pretty much made a meal. But if you want to take it next level, consider adding toppings like pico de gallo, black olives, a sprinkle of cotija cheese and even a few sliced jalapeños, as well as some sour cream and guac drizzle.
Hot Dogs/Corn Dogs
Whether you’re working at the ballpark or the beach, it’s hard to argue with the popularity of hot dogs, which can serve as a snack or a main course. If you don’t want to deal with slathering sauces and extras on buns, a dip-in batter and a deep-fry will suffice, and you can add condiments on the side.
This sweet treat will require some specialized equipment and time spent spinning colorful clouds onto sticks, but bagged cones can be prepped in advance to save you some time when a rush hits. Best of all, cotton candy can double as a bright display to draw customers to your concession stand.
During the summer months, you’re going to have many customers looking for ways to cool off. That is why it’s so important to keep your reach-in freezer in good working order and filled with cold treats like ice cream cones, bars and sandwiches.
If you’re looking for something you can make on the fly, snow cones and shaved ice allow you to offer customizable treats that are quick and easy to prepare. Depending on your setup, you might also consider the nostalgic appeal of fountain treats like root beer floats or even milkshakes.
Okay, you don’t traditionally find cake pops at concession stands, but if you want to raise the bar on typical sweets like boxed candy, consider adding this fun food-on-a-stick to your menu. The bite-sized balls are a lot less messy than cupcakes, with the same appeal, and you can sell them individually or in bundles at a discount.