Gourmet popcorn sales have always been profitable, and they are continuing to climb thanks to new twists on the classic crunch. New opportunities for growth are ripe for picking, but you need to make sure you don’t burn out customers before they buy into your sales.
Author Archives: Gold Medal Products Co.
Caramel and candy apples are often thought of only around Halloween, but they are such a tasty treat, they really can be enjoyed all year long.
Candy coated apples, recognized by their glossy red coating that has a hint of cinnamon, as well as caramel apples satisfy the craving for sweet and salty treats all at once.
Although people associate candy and caramel apples around October or during festival season, the first candy apple was created near the Christmas holiday. A candy maker was experimenting with red cinnamon candy and dipped a few apples into his mix, set them in his display window, and went on to sell thousands each year.
You can easily offer one, or both, of these treats at your concession stand to raise profits. A small warmer will keep the candy and caramel syrups at a safe temperature for easy dipping, without burning.
Go for the classic caramel or candy syrups, or try a flavored one such as chocolate caramel, grape, blue raspberry, or cherry. Sell the coated apples just as they are, or consider adding chopped peanuts, crushed pretzels, colorful sprinkles, or chocolate chips for an extra special treat.
Serve the coated apples on a wooden stick, and store them in bags, wraps, or plastic bubbles, all made to keep the fruit and candy fresh. When stored in a refrigerator, dipped apples will stay fresh for two weeks.
When making your candied or caramel apples, choose apples that are firm, crisp, and ones that taste delicious on their own. Before dipping the apple in the syrup of your choice, make sure it is free of any wax coating, and rough it up (sandpaper works here) to ensure the sweet coating sticks as well as possible.
Add candy or caramel apples to your concession stand today to raise your profits and give customers a taste of nostalgia.
Large corporate chains are the nemesis of small business, often offering lower prices and using high marketing budgets to lure consumers through their doors. While these ‘big boys’ may have buying power and big advertising campaigns on their side, small businesses can fight back by offering higher levels of personal service then these cookie cutter giants.
Consumers Crave Personal Service
One thing that a small business can offer is personal service that differentiates them the ‘big boys’ in their industry. By making service and customer relationships a cornerstone of their business, small businesses can create loyalty at the local level that a large chain just cannot compete with. For example:
- A personal thank you. Taking the time to thank a customer for their business goes a long way today. A hand-written note or even just saying, “we appreciate your business” can increase loyalty from local patrons.
- Learn customer names. Something as simple as employees introducing themselves and learning the customer’s name can build a stronger relationship with them and be the first step in gaining a new loyal customer.
- Go the extra mile. Offering service above and beyond will always get a customer’s attention. Always strive to honor special requests and give more than is expected. Ask your customers about changes they’d like to see or products they’d like you to stock, then act on those suggestions.
- Support the local community. One way to shine in any community is to be a part of it. Get involved in local events, support community causes and make alliances with other small businesses. By banding together, small businesses can help each other compete against these big companies.
Many consumers are tired of hearing phrases such as “sorry, it is against company policy” and will welcome the chance to spend money at a business that treats them as a valued individual. Taking the time to make local customer service a priority can make any small business stiff competition for one of the ‘big boys’!
It’s that time of year. People are getting outside and are ready to create memories at fairs, special events, tourist destinations (local or major out-of-state attractions), sporting events, and weekend getaways. Warm weather also means the perfect opportunity to cash in with concessions. An often overlooked, but easy to add, option is cold drinks. Think of them as your Fountain of Wealth. Beside the standard bottled water, sodas, or adult beverages, the top money-makers are Lemonade Shake-Ups, slushes, and fruit smoothies. Below are four secrets to increased drink sales.
- Add a Splash to Sodas—There are many ways to flavor your sodas, but one of the simplest solutions is to add a dash of Sno-Kone® syrups to the bottom of the cup, then add your beverage. This will mix the products without losing the carbonation. Or, if you have a fountain drink system and are comfortable with the mechanism, you can disconnect one syrup line. Then, simply use the carbonated beverage and Sno-Kone® syrup to create a variety of flavors. (Check your manufacturer’s manual before proceeding with any disconnection.)
- Event or Souvenir Cups—These hard-plastic cups are the answer to generate repeat/refill sales, plus your customers will love the durability. They’ll pay more on the front-end for a better-perceived product. Guests will often take them with them, which cuts down on the trash at the event. It’s a win for everyone.
- Slushes and Fruit Smoothies—Don’t forget the power of a tall glass of cool, refreshing goodness. Slushes are popular with children of all ages. The slush mixes can also be paired with alcohol after they are made to give you more options with one product. Fruit smoothies are another great option for children and those wanting a “fresher” drink alternative.
- When Life Hands You Lemons—Shake-Ups have enormous profit potential with low food costs. Unfortunately, this is another product that some may overlook because they think Shake-Ups are too hard to make. But it’s easy to turn lemons into liquid gold with just water, ice, and a neutral slush base. Plus, as you can see in the video, sales of all sizes are possible, as even the 52-oz. event cups fit beneath the Lemonator.
For More information fill out the form below on how to make money with snacks
Part I gave you some basic recipes for success, and now we’re on to debunking a few more caramel corn myths. Read on for the simple truths on how you can cash in with caramel corn and other gourmet flavors.
1. I must have a dedicated store to sell caramel corn.
False—While there are many opportunities to add onto existing businesses, there are also countless ways to follow the crowds and create your own prospects. You can quickly attract attention and cook onsite with any of the caramel corn merchandisers. You can also bring your own using stay-fresh containers, or sell pre-packaged caramel corn.
2. This will only be a seasonal business.
False—Gourmet popcorn is a 2013 Food Trend. New flavor sensations are taking over the nation and consumers are craving twists to classically loved popcorn. While it’s still a money-maker for holiday and corporate gifts, it’s also a perfect solution for fundraising, a memorable wedding favor, a decadent anytime treat, or an unexpected dessert at restaurants and food trucks.
3. I must clean my machine between each batch.
True and False—Some people will steam and clean between every batch to ensure there are no residual flavors, and others will clean the machine every two to three batches if they are using like flavors. It will depend on if you are changing flavors/colors, and how dirty the cooker/mixer gets.
4. The weather will not affect my caramel corn.
False—Humidity and altitude will have a large impact on cooking caramel corn. To combat these fluctuations, increase your heat as the humidity increases and lower your heat as the humidity decreases. (Once you’ve made the caramel corn, be sure to pack it in stay-fresh containers with a tight-fitting lid to prevent any further moisture from getting in.) Also, water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes. To prevent the glaze from crystallizing (or looking dull), add a little more water to prolong the cooking cycle.
5. My state doesn’t allow Trans Fats, so also I can’t sell cheese corn.
False—There are delicious 0g Trans Fat cheese pastes that your let customers savor the rich taste and are in line with regulations.
6. Finding the right caramel corn machine is impossible.
Caramel corn is an undeniably sweet treat that has amazing profit potential. It’s the perfect solution for an easy add-on to existing businesses, or can launch a whole new career path. But, like any other new venture, there are countless questions and myths floating around that can make or break a new endeavor before it even starts. Below, we’ve answered some of the great caramel corn questions, and given you some recipes to success.
1. I can’t make caramel corn, if I don’t have a machine.
False—If you already have a popcorn machine, Caramel Glaze Pop® is an easy way to make great-tasting caramel corn right in your kettle with your corn and oil. Any of the Glaze Pop flavors are a great way to mix up your offerings and test the candy-coated popcorn market before investing in a cooker/mixer.
Other Candy-Coated Corn—There are nine other popular mixes to sweeten your sales. Try Pop-N-Glaze for a simple, sugary kick, or fruit flavors like Grape and Cherry Pink, or pop up sales with Maple and Chocolate.
2. Corn Treat Mixes and Glaze Pop® will look the same.
False—The Corn Treat Mix-coated batches will be thickly covered. The Glaze Pop-coated batches will be mostly, but not entirely, covered for just the right overall, sweet finish. This is because the Corn Treat Mixes are continually “painted” as they are cooked and stirred in the mixer. When you use Glaze Pop, there is a set amount of mix in the kettle; it is heated and sets onto the popping kernels. The popped corn takes the mixture with it as it leaves the kettle, which means there is less to coat the corn at the end of the popping cycle.
3. I don’t know how to make caramel corn, so I can’t sell it.
False—The Complete Corn Treat Mixes are perfect for those who have a mixer, but unsure of the preparation steps. Just add water to these all-in-one packets for delicious, full-flavored caramel corn. Or, try the One-Step Corn Treat Mix; simply add sugar and water for the best, buttery, sweet caramel corn.
4. There isn’t a mix that let’s me put my own spin on caramel corn.
False—You can put your own signature on caramel corn with the Caramel Corn Treat Mix. Use the mix, then add your own creative flare, sugar, oil, and water.
5. There are more ways to increase my profits.
Absolutely True—Boost sales by creating specialty corn. You can mix and match flavors and colors for schools, holidays, businesses, wedding favors, and so much more. Use the color-only and flavor-only Corn Treat Mixes with the Basic Corn Treat Mix to create items like Black Cherry for Halloween or Vanilla with no color if there are color sensitivities (food allergies).
Now, that we have the basic ingredients, it’s on to finding the right machine and debunking more caramel corn myths. Stay tuned for our next blog on Thursday for additional answers.
Fit for either a meal or snack, the hot dog has long been one of the most popular concession foods. Whether at the ballpark, a festival, shopping mall or wherever people gather, more often than not we can detect that mouthwatering aroma emanating from a hot dog machine somewhere in the vicinity.
There’s Something About a Ballpark Hot Dog
A hot dog off the grill at home can certainly be as tasty as any other hot dog. However, we often hear people claim there’s no better dog than those sold at the ballpark. This could be due in part to the atmosphere or the fact that the hot dog is woven into the fabric of our overall ballpark experience. But actually, the equipment for cooking hot dogs at the ballpark usually isn’t much different than the hot dog machines found in stores or in concession stands at other venues and events.
Hot dogs can be cooked in a number of different ways, including grilling, steaming and boiling. But for concession and vending purposes, the hot dog grill roller is the preferred piece of equipment for producing hot, delicious dogs.
These machines come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are generally built from sturdy, heavy-duty stainless steel. They contain a series of rollers placed closely together, and at least one heat-regulating dial for adjusting roller temperatures.
Hot dogs placed on the slowly-rotating heated rollers are cooked evenly throughout. The dog’s natural flavors are “locked in” as a result. After the cooking process is completed, roller temperatures can be dialed to keep the hot dogs fresh and warm for whenever they will be served.
Hot dog roller machines typically contain drip pans. And the rollers themselves can easily be removed for cleaning. The capacity of these machines varies from being capable of producing several dozen to several hundred hot dogs per hour. Regardless of its location, a well-maintained stainless steel hot dog roller machine will produce plump and juicy dogs for many years and seasons.
Whether attending a ballgame, festival, or any summertime event, it’s quite common for kids and adults to search for a concession stand with a snow cone maker. This chilly treat may be spelled a number of different ways, such as “sno cone,” “snow kone,” or “sno-kone®.” Regardless of the branding, the term “snow cone” means only one thing on a sweltering summer day: Icy cool refreshment!
To Beat the Heat, Ice is Nice
Depending on where you live, some summer — or even late-spring — afternoons reach a point where the heat is almost suffocating, especially in parts of the country notorious for high humidity.
At this point, our instincts usually kick in and we begin to search for something that will help us cool down a bit. Cold drinks, ice cream and even those little spay water bottles with the fans attached to them all seem like viable options. But we set our sights on the one thing that we know will satisfy our craving for coolness: Ice!
Therefore, our next step is to head directly to the snow cone vendor, where we will be able to choose from a variety of flavors to top our crushed ice treat. We don’t think much about it as we dive into this frozen delight. But eating crushed ice on a sultry day actually carries with it a number of benefits. We immediately realize the cooling effects of our snow cone consumption, but the ice will obviously turn back into its original form, water, which will keep us hydrated.
Additionally, for young children, seniors and those who sometimes experience physical problems in the heat, the ice from a snow cone can lower one’s core body temperature by a few degrees. This can help prevent the possibility of developing conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
So, the next time the heat begins to become somewhat unbearable at an outdoor affair, look for the nearest snow cone machine. Not only will your taste buds appreciate this flavorful icy delicacy, but its rejuvenating impact on your body may help you to at least temporarily avoid the withering effects of the heat!
Do you woo? Buying isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. We’re an information-saturated society and consumers have a wealth of options at their fingertips. You have mere seconds to convince and cajole today’s savvy shoppers into choosing your product or service before they move on to something else. Engaging the senses is the quickest way to returns, and cutting through the constant bombardment of noise and ads.
Smells trigger memories. They also will lure customers into your store, make their mouths water for increased profits, and inspire relaxed buying atmospheres. That’s why countless food service locations vent aromas, and companies will spend millions in market research to develop the right smell to pull you in. You can spend a lot less, and get the same allure, by making items fresh during high-traffic times.
We eat first with our eyes. Keep this in mind for everything from your logo to plating. Warm colors like reds inspire hunger and are ideal for interior designs or signs. Action draws crowds. Did you ever see the mesmerizing motion of a cotton candy machine? The light glistens on all the spinning soft, sugary goodness and you instantly crave that candy cloud. And bold colors attract attention. That’s why our eyes are instantly drawn to the shockingly bright syrup, as it splashes onto the barren white ice of a Sno-Kone®.
Tune them in. Popping corn is one of the most recognizable sounds in the world. It’s like sweet music to the cash register’s ears. Find the other sounds that will trigger stop-ins and second glances.
Get in touch with textures. There are numerous sense-appealing serving options. Seek out the best ways to boost buys and get noticed with a variety of consistencies, sizes, and materials.
Taste turns a sale into a repeat customer. Whether it’s simply sweet, jalapeño hot, or buttery rich, the flavors and high-quality ingredients must sing through in all your products.
Immersing customers in a total sensory experience is the best way to hook in new buyers, and create one-of-a-kind events that will keep them coming back for more. Fun foods make it easy to set the scene and tempt taste buds. Classic sights, smells, and tastes bring back cherished memories. Fresh, bold flavors and fares appeal to foodies and give your customers ways to form new memorable moments. So woo away. We’ll be here to help. Gold Medal has everything you need to turn straightforward sales into an unforgettable, crave-inducing and bring them back to the door experiences.
There are numerous reasons why people contemplate starting a new business. These may include limitations or frustrations within a current job or profession; a downsizing on the horizon; or a burning desire to call one’s own shots.
There are also many who long to strike out on their own, but are uncertain which route to take. However, there are ways to test the waters regarding the feasibility and marketability of new business ideas or new products.
Although there may be significant growing pains involved in a particular venture, many business start-up stories have ended in success through hard work, organization and sheer determination.
For budding entrepreneurs who seek to eliminate some of the uncertainties surrounding building a new business from the ground up, entering into a distributorship may be worth serious consideration.
Hitting the Ground Running
Not many “sure things” exist in any aspect of life. This is especially true in the business world, where many more companies have fallen by the wayside than have become successful and stood the test of time. But becoming a wholesale distributor offers some distinct advantages over starting a brand new business.
Many manufacturers and product producers that offer distributorship opportunities are already established in the marketplace or have shown consistency over time in selling their products to a target market. This gives distributors that these entities choose to bring on board a “head start,” especially if a brand is well known.
Many product producers will offer training and the peripheral materials or supplies necessary to give new distributors the tools they need to maximize their chances of eventual success. Of course, distributors must have a degree of business savvy, good interpersonal and relationship development skills, a solid business plan and whatever capital, equipment and warehousing that may be required.
But whether the product is machine parts, food service equipment, or any one of an infinite number of goods or merchandise, with the right opportunity, wholesale distributors often do indeed have the opportunity to “hit the ground running.”