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Permanent and Mobile Food Concession Operation?
Choosing Between a Permanent and Mobile Food Concession Operation
by Robert Berman


When initially considering starting a food service business, one of the decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to have a food concession stand that is in a permanent location or a mobile concession trailer that you can move from one location to another.


As with most decisions, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of food concession operations.


Permanently located concession stand


  • Repeat Business
A permanently located concession stand should develop repeat clientele. They will know the quality and price of your food and when you are open for business. Having repeat customers can increase your business dramatically as they will tell others about your business.
  • Operating Hours
By having a permanent location you can create a standard set of operating hours. This allows you the ability to have a life outside of your food concession business. Concession businesses that service specific events must operate within the constraints of the event's hours.
  • No Set-up or Dismantling Time
A permanently located concession business does not have to invest no income hours in set-up and dismantling as a mobile concession trailer does.
  • Less Equipment Downtime
Equipment housed in a permanent concession stand does not suffer the wear and tear associated with the vibrations and shocks that occur when a concession trailer is being driven on roads.
  • Easier Staffing
It is easier to staff a permanent concession stand then a mobile unit.
  • Operating Expenses
There are no costs involved for fuel, engine repairs, tires and other vehicle type expenses. As well, you will be able to develop a history of how much food to purchase, what foods sell best in the area, meaning less food wastage.
  • Income
Over a period of time you will be able to budget your income as history will tell you what days are your busiest.


  • Traffic
You are confined to the business traffic in your location. You cannot relocate the permanent concession stand if business is slow due to circumstances beyond your control such as road closures.
  • Building Codes
A permanently located concession stand may be subject to stringent building codes that could be very expensive.
  • Location Cost
You will most likely have to pay a monthly rent and/or a percentage of sales for the right to place your concession stand on a piece of property.


Mobile concession stand


  • Diversity
Mobile food concession carts and trailers provide you with more challenges, new customers and venues. If you hate a mundane lifestyle then having a mobile food concession business may be just want you need.
  • Can Be a Part Time Business
Mobile food concession carts and trailers are not constrained by a set of operating hours or days of the week when you must work. If the weather is bad, or if you have other things to do, you can leave the mobile food concession trailer or cart in your garage until it suits you to operate it!
  • Freedom To Be Creative
Each and every day you can decide where you want to go, what prices you will charge and what foods you will sell.
  • Lower Investment
The entry level cost of a mobile food concession cart is substantially less than a permanently located food concession stand.


  • Unpredictable Income
Whether you are attending events or just moving from location to location, you will have difficulty in budgeting your income as locations will differ in the traffic.
  • Operating Costs
More expense related to moving your equipment from location to location. Hard to determine how much food to have on hand as you have no history of that specific event or location. Higher maintenance costs for mobile equipment due to vibration and road shocks.
  • Commissaries
Many jurisdictions require that food vending carts work from an approved commissary.
  • Staffing
Staff could have problems in finding and/or reaching the location as it continuously changing.



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