Enjoyed at amusement parks, carnivals, sporting events, and more, funnel cakes are one of the all-time favorite fun foods. Perfectly fried and topped with an irresistible layer of powdered sugar, many have found this tasty treat is a recipe for success when starting a concession business. Let’s take an inside look at the funnel cake business with concessionaire Corey Lyons*.
Gold Medal: How did you get started in the concession business?
Corey Lyons: After being told it was a “recession proof” business, I did my research. I realized there was a lot of potential and the risks were low. I decided to just start out small and rented a funnel cake fryer. Business took off quicker than I expected and it wasn’t long before I purchased my first two fryers.
GM: Why focus on funnel cakes?
CL: Everyone loves funnel cakes. I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t like funnel cakes. They’re popular and you can make them quickly, which means you can serve more customers.
GM: Tell us about the profit potential.
CL: It will vary based on the event and the level of experience. However, it’s simple math. A funnel cake can sell on average from $3.00 – $5.00. Yet, it costs less than $1.00 to make, so you will yield as much as $4.00 profit on each cake.
GM: What products do you sell at your concession stand?
CL: We sell the 6-inch funnel cakes. I feel they’re the most inviting size. We do offer toppings like apple or strawberry, too. Additional items that we sell are beverages and occasionally cotton candy.
GM: How do you get business?
CL: Honestly, most of my business is via word-of-mouth. We do anything from birthday parties to church events to large festivals. To protect your position and secure pricing, I always suggest coming up with a contract when booking.
GM: Do you have any special tips?
CL: Practice, practice, practice. You have to be able to move fast to keep the lines moving. Be prepared with all your concession supplies (funnel cake mix, plates, forks, napkins, etc.). If you’re not, it will just slow you down.
GM: Explain the philosophy behind your concession business.
CL: I try to make it as simple as possible. Don’t try to do too many different products at once. The best thing you can do is find out what you do well and focus on that.
GM: What advice do you have for those starting a concession business?
CL: First, do your research. Really understand what it takes. Seek out those with experience. Align with a dependable supplier who can help you navigate as you grow your business. And most importantly, make sure you enjoy what you do.
Since 1931, Gold Medal has been helping entrepreneurs start their own concession businesses, both large and small. Put our knowledge and experience to work for you! Interested in learning more? Contact Gold Medal at 800-543-0862.
*This article was originally published in April 2015.