Warmer spring and summer temperatures will soon be upon us, which means it is time for outdoor sporting events, town festivals and county fairs. Make sure that you are prepared for such events with the proper concession stand equipment. Popcorn, hot dogs and nachos are probably the three most commonly purchased hot food items at concession stands. Read on to learn more about how Serv-U can help you make sure your concession stand is equipped to handle the hungry crowds.
Everyone loves the smell of hot buttered popcorn, so a popcorn popper in your concession stand is sure way to attract customers. Below are a few things to consider before you choose a popcorn popper.
- Kettle Size – All popcorn poppers use a kettle, into which the popcorn kernels and oil are poured. The kettle varies in size depending on the output of popcorn you are looking for. The three most common kettle sizes are 4 ounce, 6 ounce and 8 ounce.
- See-Thru Cabinet – Most popcorn poppers are designed so that they can also serve as an attractive way to display the popped popcorn. Most popcorn poppers feature tempered glass display panels and doors, so that customers can easily view the product. The cabinet also serves as a way to keep the popcorn warm after it has been popped.
- Power Source – A popcorn popper will require a power source. Most popcorn poppers will use either a 120V or 240V electric power source, and typically you can specify which voltage you prefer. Gas operated popcorn poppers are available from certain manufactures, please contact a Serv-U representative for more information.
While all hot dog machines are easy to use and can be self serve, employee operated or both, the cooking method and design are important considerations. The most common cooking methods for hot doggers are broilers, steamers and roller grills.
- Broilers – A hot dog boiler uses a rotating rotisserie-like rack to cook the hot dogs. Broilers can cook up to 150 hot dogs per hours and often feature built-in bun warming drawer or shelf. One of the benefits of a broiler is that the enclosed design of the machines helps to maintain a consistent cooking and serving temperature.
- Steamers – A hot dog steamer will result in a more “traditional” hot dog taste. A water pan place over an electric heat source produces the steam for the hot dogger. Hot dog steamers typically feature side-by-side hot dog and bun sections, and the steam helps to preserve the freshness of the hot dogs and buns.
- Roller Grill – A hot dog roller grill is the quickest method for cooking hot dogs. Each individually heated roller on the grill, continuously turns each hot dog to ensure that each hot dog is evenly cooked. Roller grills do not feature a cabinet or display case, so they may not be ideal for environments where air pollutants or contaminants are a concern.
Chip Warmers and Condiment Centers
Chip merchandisers display fresh nacho chips while condiment centers provide the hot cheese sauce and toppings. Together they make for profit increasing impulse purchases at minimal cost and effort.
- Chip Warmers - A nacho chip warmer makes for an attractive and functional way to warm and display tortilla chips. A combo chip and cheese unit features a heated pump on the top of the display case.
- Lighted Condiment Warmers – Available in 3.5 or 11 quart capacities, lighted condiment warmers are available with or without an electric heating element. Lighted warmers are ideal for condiments such as nacho cheese, chili, soup and BBQ sauce.
- Condiment Centers – Provide your customers with an easy way to serve themselves by using condiment centers. Condiment centers feature different combinations of pumps and hinged condiment trays, allowing you to serve a variety of condiments, sauces, syrups, dressings and toppings.
In addition to equipment specifically designed for concession foods, your stand or booth will need other items like proper food storage containers, thermometers, hand washing capabilities and much more to remain compliant with health codes. Make sure you check with your local health department for specific regulations in your area and in any other counties where your stand will be operating.