Confessions of a Sport Mama: How to Run a Successful Concession Stand

By Vanessa Mejia | Posted 2/15/2019

Concession stands are, without a doubt, one of the greatest fundraisers in sports. People gotta eat, right? With that being said, they do require quite a bit of work. But don't worry, I've got you covered!

Here are my tips to help you take your concession stand game to the next level.

  • Plan ahead. Where will you set up? How large of a crowd are you expecting? Will you have access to a grill? The better prepared you are, the better the results will be.
  • Take a trip to your local wholesale club. Buying in bulk will save you both time and money.
  • Round up volunteers. You want to have at least 2 people working per shift. We have 3 during No. 1's high school basketball games, and let me tell you, there are times when we could use a 4th... especially for those Friday night Varsity games! Using a SignUpGenius is my favorite way to keep track of volunteers- it'll even send them a reminder a couple of days before.
  • Keep prices fair. Remember, you want people to buy from you. Not from the drive-thru or convenience store down the street!
  • Make a "menu". Be sure to list all available items, including prices. Set out a couple for customers and keep one for you and your crew. This is a huge time saver!
  • Assign roles. Your goal is to get people through the line as quickly as possible. The best way I've found to do that is by forming an assembly line. (i.e. If there are three of you, one can take orders, the second can handle the money, and the third can be the runner aka get the food).
  • Have fun. Working concessions doesn't have to be stressful. I actually enjoy it! You can sign up to work with a couple of your Sports Mama bffs and even meet some new people.
Vanessa Mejia

And now, as promised. I asked hundreds of Sports Mamas in the Confessions of a Sports Mama Facebook Group for their best sellers, and the winners are (in no particular order):

  1. Hot dogs. There's just something about a good ol' hotdog wrapped in aluminum foil that is almost impossible to resist. They are inexpensive and easy. They can be grilled (outdoors over charcoal or indoors on a George Foreman), boiled, or even cooked in the crockpot!
  2. Chic-fil-A sandwiches. I'm not sure that anything sells quicker than these! I mean, who doesn't love Chic-fil-A? Your local restaurant will be more than willing to answer any questions you may have and may even offer a discounted fundraiser rate!
  3. Pizza. Order it ahead of time, especially when ordering a large quantity. Once it arrives, individually wrap each slice in a piece of foil- it'll help to keep it warm and also make distribution a breeze. You can never go wrong with cheese and pepperoni!
  4. Noodle cups. Kids love these!
  5. Water. Because, what concession stand doesn't sell water?
  6. Gatorade. These are always great to have, especially for athlete's needing to rehydrate post-game.
  7. Hot chocolate. Perfect for those cold, late night games!
  8. Popcorn. Another best seller. No fancy popcorn machine? No worries! Our school sells the individual, microwaveable bags. We pop them fresh to order. That buttery smell reels customers right in. We can't keep it in stock!
  9. Nachos. You can keep it simple by offering only cheese or go all out and offer chili, or even walking tacos. The possibilities really are endless.
  10. Candy. Skittles, Starburst, and Ring Pops are always fan favorites!

Honorable mentions. Fries, burgers, chicken tenders, and pickle pops (I had never heard of a pickle pop before. You learn something new every day!).

I hope you find these tips helpful! What are your best sellers?

*** Looking for more fundraiser ideas? I can help with that! Click HERE for my top TEN, tried and tested ideas!