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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Concession Stand?

Do you want to start a concession stand and you want to know the cost breakdown? If YES, here are 10 factors that affect the cost of building a concession stand.

A concession stand refers to a mobile stand that can be easily assembled and disassembled near busy public spaces. Concession stands may sell anything from hot dogs to sausages, as well as snacks and beverages. The ideal target market for this business can be anyone who wants a fast snack or simple meal. Concession stands can also appeal to people who want ice cold drinks on a hot day or hot drinks on an ice cold day.

How Do Concession Stands Make Money?

Concession stands make money by charging a small profit margin on all food and beverages they sell.  These beverages and food can go for as much as $6 in a major stadium but is typically sold for between $1.50 and $3 in most major cities.

Chips and drinks can be sold for around $1.50. Profits from a concession food sale can run as high as 80 percent, though the net margin will be smaller depending on the direct costs of the stand, permit costs, commercial insurance, and kitchen space (if needed).

Aside from adding new items to the menu, these businesses can also rent out trailers and stands to groups for special events. A family throwing a birthday party in the park may be happy to pay top dollar for the afternoon — especially if delivery and set-up are included in the price.

Estimated Cost Breakdown for Building a Concession Stand

Although the exact cost of building your concession stand will largely depend on the size you want, a medium sized concession stand, like the one analyzed above will cost around $11,000  –  $21,000. However, buying one already constructed and equipped is easiest.

A second hand, fully equipped concession is expected to cost about $6,000 to $45,000, depending on the size, equipment and age.

10 Factors That Determine How Much It Will Cost to Build a Concession Stand

DIY is a very rewarding endeavour. It means you will be building everything from your stand to your brand. The DIY route will be a large financial and even larger time investment. This route will also take a considerable amount of skill.

Since your stand/ shack, equipment and product will all have to pass inspection; DIY may not always be the most practical option when looking to build a concession stand. So, if you decide to construct your own simple concession stand, below are the materials and detailed steps of building your own stand.

1. Design a Frame

When building a stand, the very first thing is to create a frame that serves as an outline for the stand. You can pick a frame that is made from steel or wood. Your frame should clearly be mapped out on a piece of paper or CAD software prior to beginning. This will serve as the road map for where you will place the rest of the equipment.

2. Water Tanks

In the United States, fresh and waste water tanks need to be installed in most locations. For most aspiring concession food vendors, you will be expected to have hot and cold, fresh and waste water on the stand. Also remember that you will need to install basic plumbing between the tanks, typically with plastic pipes.

3. Counter Tops and Doors

Although you might not need much counter and prep space while slinging, depending on the foods and snack you choose to serve, you will have to create some room for food preparation.

For instance, if you have plans to serve Chicago – style dogs, you will need a place to assemble the pickle, tomatoes, and celery salt. It’s advisable you make sure that the external doors include a locking mechanism that prevents doors from swinging open when you’re in transit.

4. Refrigerator

Using a well powered refrigerator, you can keep condiments and vegetables cool. It also offers the opportunity to increase profits for your stand. Restaurant quality mini – refrigerators can be purchased for under $500 at this time and is totally worth the investment since you will be able to add cold drinks to the mix.

Also remember that this is a low effort way to grow the overall customer value by $1 – $3 per person. The additional prep work for this will be minimal and all you need to do is hand customers the can or bottle.

5. Deep Cycle Battery

Have it in mind that you are going to need a mobile power source if you want to take this trailer or stand on the road. You will need a deep cycle battery to power the refrigerator and water tanks.

6. Propane Tank

Also note that you will need propane tanks to warm your dogs, but there’s a variety of other cooking equipment you might not know about that can be powered by propane. Did you know a coffee maker or nacho cheese dispenser can be powered by propane? They can be if you purchase the right type.

7. Steam Tables

Also note that you will need to install at least two steam tables in your stand, but you will probably want even more than that. Steamers can be used to keep buns and sausages warm in addition to any extras you need to keep hot like chilli or nacho cheese.

8. Waste Water Drainage and Extension Hose

You will also need a secure way to get rid of your waste water, but also an easy way to collect fresh water for tanks. Make sure to provide yourself with a few extra feet of hose, which will make refilling easier.

9. Install Canopy or Umbrella

Most concession stands in the United States use brightly coloured umbrellas like red, white and blue colours but you can also get something custom made that better reflects your stand’s brand.

10. Optional Extras

Note that you can also decide to add a stainless grill, nacho cheese dispenser and coffee maker. If you plan to include one of these extras, you will need to make space for them within the frame. A stainless grill in particular can be a nice addition because it really opens up your menu options. For example, with a grill you can start serving things like hamburgers, grilled peppers and onions.


A concession stand has significant growth potential, especially if owners can carve out a space for themselves in the most popular areas of the city. Many owners find themselves ready to purchase an additional stand after only a few months in the business. From bar patrons to theatre – goers, there’s always a market for short – order cooks peddling the right fare.