Strategies to Manage Your Pool Snack Bar Inventory
Keeping your pool concession stand stocked is a challenge. There are so many variables affecting which items will be sold, and when, that ordering appropriately can be tricky.
But we’ve got suggestions on how to make decisions that will keep your inventory steady and your customers happy.
- Start by reviewing last year’s numbers. You can use this to create an initial estimate of how much attendance to expect, both overall and broken out by month or week. If your pool offers passes that don’t get scanned on entry, your estimate won’t be exact, but it will give you a place to start. Pay attention to what was ordered last year and what was left over at the end of the summer.
- Begin and end the season with shelf-stable items. While you’re determining demand in early summer, purchasing larger quantities of less perishable foods like Portion Pak nachos and cheese cups, packaged pretzels, and caramel corn will allow you to have plenty of menu items on hand without worrying about waste. Similarly, at the end of the summer, you can place regular small orders of prepackaged items to fulfill demand as pool season winds down. Mid-summer is the time for bulk ordering if you choose to do so.
- Limit quantities of popular poolside snacks. If you introduce items that become concession stand best sellers, set a limit on how much patrons can buy until you’re able to replenish your supply. “Limit 2 per person” is a perfectly reasonable rule to make sure everyone gets a fair chance at trying the new snack. Then, be sure to order extra next time around!
- Make your pool snack bar menu multitask for you. This is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of the concession industry: products can play more than one role, which means your menu can expand without your inventory doing the same. Here are some great ideas for snack stand foods that can serve more than one purpose:
- El Nacho Grande Portion Pak cheese: Use for nachos but also as a value-added dipping sauce for pretzels.
- Shake-on Savory Flavors: These delicious popcorn toppings can also be added to fries, onion rings, or other items for a pop of flavor.
- Sour Attitude: Double your Sno-Kone or shave ice offerings with a shot of Sour Attitude syrup. Customers will love the choice between sweet and sour.
- Frusheez combos: Create combo drink specials with your slush machine. If you have a twin bowl machine, choose complementary flavors, and now you have three frozen drinks for your menu. Find fun layered drink ideas to offer as specials.
Using these strategies, your pool snack bar will be sure to satisfy your customers as they cool off poolside all summer long.