The personal benefits of running a concession business including spare time, cash income, and independence are well known. However, the most important, and the least recognized advantage of the business is the ability to design the enterprise to suit the individual's desired level of earnings and involvement. When planning a concession business one must understand how each step in the start-up process largely determines one's ultimate earnings and level of involvement. Therefore a food concessionaire's business and personal goals should be considered when deciding what menu to serve, the type and design of the booth, and the types of events and venues to schedule.
The first step in planning your concession start-up should be serious and in-depth "soul searching". Start by asking yourself these questions:
1. What is your purpose for starting a concession business? Do you need extra money to help ends meet? Is your job at risk? Is your nest egg inadequate for your rapidly approaching retirement? Are you semi retired and want to stay active while supplementing your fixed income? Maybe your teenage kids need to raise money for college. Do you want a business in which the whole family can work together? Maybe you are hard to employ, or are a free spirit who wants to be responsible for your own employment.
2. What do you ultimately expect to achieve from you concession? In other words, how much money is enough? Will an extra ten thousand dollars provide you a more satisfying retirement, or is fifty or one hundred thousand dollars required to replace your current job?
3. What else do you hope to gain from your concession? Do you want several months off in the winter to pursue other activities? Do you want to travel with your business, or operate locally from a permanent location? Do you want a business the whole family can participate in? Do you want to work your concession alone or with the help of one or more other people? Do you want to run your concession full-time, part-time, year-round, or seasonally?
4. What are your financial resources? Are they such that you can afford all the appropriate equipment and pay your bills while you get your new business off the ground? Or, will you need to siphon small portions of your existing income and start conservatively while you expand slowly as your business grows?
5. What are your personal resources and capabilities? Will you be juggling your time and energy with other responsibilities? Are you physically capable of standing for long hours? Do you have previous business experience?
The answers to these questions and many others will define the type of concession you start with and strive for. Your answers to these questions should guide every decision you make. And, will determine how long it will ultimately take to reach your goal.