The best place to put concessions in an amusement park will vary from park to park, depending on park design, local regulations, and accessibility to customers.
No two parks are built the same, planning and approvals also take different routes in different cities and counties, therefore it is practically impossible to pick the exact place to put concessions in an amusement park. However, now that public spaces are beginning to re-open, amusement and entertainment businesses will have to think outside the box and get creative to get back to pre-pandemic numbers.
Food is indeed a unique way to bring people together. Many amusement businesses like arcades and bowling alleys have successfully added food concessions and stands to help generate more traffic.
Note that for cash-strapped amusement parks, developing and producing new food items costs much less than designing and building new rides. It is part of the reason why even the most prominent players in the theme park industry have been focusing on food events in recent years.
If you are able to tie your food offerings to an entertainment franchise or recognizable theme, that is better. If not, you should consider working with an experienced chef to create some new offerings aside from the same old burgers, pizza, and chicken strips.
Whether an amusement park chooses the flexible option of a mobile concession stand, incorporates a stationary food concession, or chooses a hybrid strategy of both, they all have to factor in the possibility of food borne illness. Every year stories of food contamination pop up in the news.
Have it in mind that a single outbreak of food borne illness at a fast-food restaurant can cost the operator between $7,000 and $2.1 million in damages, depending on the severity. Note that these costs include fines, defense costs, legal fees, and the adjudication of claims.
Therefore, it is very necessary for amusement and entertainment operators with food concessions to understand and stay in compliance with state and federal food safety laws, have a plan, train employees, and understand the risks of claims.
The first part of mitigating the risks associated with food concessions is to understand the rules and staying in compliance with them at local, state, and federal levels. You’ll require all the proper certifications for food handling, have adequate facility with wash stations, and pay all the associated fees for accreditation on the local level.
Remember, each state has different Food Safety requirements, so it is critical to get familiar with the codes established in your state and even county.
How to Add Concessions to Your Amusement Park
First and foremost, adding a food concession is not as simple as hiring a chef and building a kitchen. You will have to extensively consider several variables as you incorporate food into your amusement business.
- Understand the Rules: The first step when deciding to add food to your business is making sure you are knowledgeable about health and safety guidelines.
- License and Permits: You’ll need to understand the steps and rules in your local area. Additionally, seeking legal counsel will ensure nothing is missed.
- Training: Everyone in the food concession stand needs proper training and credentials.
- Be Unique: Consider offering menu items not offered anywhere else to differentiate yourself from competitors. You can choose a theme or even seasonal foods. Making it memorable is key to getting people’s attention.
- Inclusive Options: Your customers have different tastes and dietary needs. Whether it is vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan, you need to have something for everyone.
- Insurance: Adding food brings additional risks that must be considered, like food borne illness, fire hazards, etc. Your insurance needs to cover these items to keep guests and staff safe and mitigate your risk.
Top Concession Foods for Amusement Parks
Amusement parks tend to attract customers with the thrills of roller coasters, the splash of water rides, and the games that challenge and entertain us. All of that activity is bound to make anyone hungry and amusement concessions don’t disappoint.
Have it in mind that the best part about selling concession foods is that you can make the classics unique to your location. Nonetheless, here are few ideas on how you can re-imagine these top favorites:
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Indeed, so many ice cream shops are known for making their own waffle cones but waffle makers are capable of doing much more! Some like to use different flavorings such as Red Velvet to show customers something they can’t get anywhere else.
Another suggestion is to try Fudge Puppies, a chocolate-covered waffle on a stick. It is great for those who want to eat on the go!
Along the same lines as waffles are the wonderful funnel cakes. There are toppings galore, which lets guests to customize to their tastes. Aside from that, you can make funnel cakes shaped in different forms, like Funnel Swirls or Funnel Fingers. Both are great ways to generate renewed excitement for a beloved treat!
Popcorn is universally loved, but does it stand out? Indeed there are so many ways to add to the experience with gourmet flavors. From shake-ons to cheese pastes, glazes and corn treats, you can create an entire line of custom tastes. Or, decide to focus on one signature item that connects with an attraction at your park.
This is definitely popular with kids of all ages; cotton candy can be more than just the traditional pink or blue. Play it up by offering special seasonal flavor selections, like Fall Spice. Or decide how you can link it with a theme. For example, serve up tropical Piña Colada at the water park.
We all know that Snow cones are available in a wide variety of different colors and flavors. Part of the fun is mixing and matching syrups to create a rainbow snow cone. But did you know you can make snow cone floats simply by adding soft serve ice cream? It is cool, refreshing, and very memorable.
Another food that lends itself well to customization is fudge. Swirled combinations like mint and chocolate are very well received, perhaps at least in part because of their eye-catching visual appeal. Toppings are also a wonderful way to generate excitement, such as gummy worms on dirt cake fudge or sea salt on top of a salted raise. The flavor ideas are endless!
Another staple of the amusement park crowd is hot pretzels. Although these may satisfy customers’ salty cravings, however, you can expand on that with other complementary offerings.
Note that the most popular accompaniment is cheese, but you could also try other dips like pizza sauce or salsa to create an entirely different flavor experience. For a dessert-inspired interpretation, top with cinnamon and sugar (instead of salt) and serve with icing.
If you are bored by traditional fries, there is always a way for you to put a new twist on potatoes. Saratoga Swirls take a potato and create a spiral that you place on a stick. It makes an intriguing visual display that catches the eyes of others. And it is quite simple to make when using the Saratoga Swirls Fry Cutter.
Caramel apples are an ideal canvas for a large array of toppings. From nuts to sprinkles, chocolate chips, and even spicy cinnamon, you can be creative with your presentation. Also note that you can make caramel apples a sharable snack by using the Deluxe Apple Hacker to slice the apple into portions and then top with caramel, nuts, and whipped cream.
Without doubt, it gets busy at amusement parks, so having posted checklists in food areas helps remind staff about the best food safety practices and complying procedures. A good plan will allocate time to re-evaluate menu items and determine if employees can easily manage the items’ food or if they should substitute another option.