Some concession owners know the exact type of food they plan to serve from their vending unit before they ever start a business. There is a group of food vendors that invested years perfecting the perfect BBQ through years of testing and know exactly what they plan to serve before they ever turn their passion into a business. Another category of vendors have been handed down a specific style of food that represents their family like grandma’s secret meat ball recipe that they plan to share with the world from their concession trailer. The passion driven way of identifying a menu is a terrific way to start a business that serves food customers will love and crave.
There is third way to approach the concession business, however, if you weren’t blessed with a secret family recipe to help guide your way. Some vendors take a more business minded approach to their concession trailer by evaluating what concepts could be the most profitable. After they’ve discovered a food concept that works, they evaluate at what models have the best margins and revenue potential when selecting a concept. If you identify with this third type of food vendor, consider looking at the soft pretzel concession trailer business. The are terrific margins and proven demand for this product making it a good business opportunity for the right individual. In today’s blog post, we will evaluate this business model further to see if it’s the right business for you to evaluate further.
Profits & Ease of Operation
When evaluating a concession business, it’s always a good idea to not just look at the profit potential, but how challenging it will be to operate. As with any kind of real vending business, you will need to invest a lot of time up front booking your first events and traveling to different locations to vend. This type of business is no different from that aspect, however, from an operations standpoint at an event this is much easier to manage than others.
With a pretzel business, you are essentially serving one product (the pretzel) with a variety of toppings. You can also provide a few low effort add-ons to boost revenue by using your pretzel dough to serve breadsticks, fried dough, or pretzel rolls if you want to get creative. Drinks can be a nice revenue supplement to this business too by selling cans of soda, water or fountain soda that don’t take much time or effort for an employee to hand out.
The advantage to having only one product is that it makes it easier to become an expert in a creating a single food item efficiently and serving that product fast. In addition to making this easier to serve you reduce the amount of overall spoilage that could take place by expanding your menu. Things like meats or baked goods have a limited shelf life and you will need to build in a certain amount of margin to account for the inevitable spoilage of some product. With pretzels there is still spoilage, but as you’ll see below, most of the raw ingredients will keep for months as long as they are stored at room temperature in a dry room. As result your product spoilage should be limited as long as you don’t produce too many pretzels at once. Second, you can even store the dough with pretzels in a freezer and thaw them out when demand requires it. According to Kitchn.com, dough can be frozen and remain high quality for around 3 months.
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to create a basic pretzel. Some examples of toppings are also provided below to help stimulate ideas for your own soft-pretzel concession trailer business.
Main Ingredients Needed to Make a Simple Soft Pretzel
- All-purpose flour
- Baking Soda
- Pretzel salt or course grind salt
Note: As you can see above, all the the core ingredients are very affordable and can keep for many months.
- Chocolate syrup
- Nacho Cheese
- Marinara Sauce
Franchise Opportunity Examples
If you have a food concept in mind, one good step of your due diligence should be to check out if there are franchise opportunities for this type of food. Although it’s natural to be concerned about competition, this is actually a good sign. For a franchisee to be able to pay the franchise their annual fee’s or buy product direct through the company there must be the opportunity to earn a net profit after all the expenses. And with the typical franchise opportunity the expenses for getting started are significant.
Take for example the pretzel franchise Auntie Annes that currently has over 1,600 locations according to their website. Many of the locations can be found in food court shopping malls, but they also have a branded concession trailer. According to AuntieAnnesFranchising.com, the average initial investment is $196,475 – $380,100 to get started. Of that total startup cost about $30,000 goes toward the initial franchise fee. There are also additional royalties that need to be paid annually to the company that you can read about on the official website, but at the end of the day that’s a lot of soft-pretzels that you need to sell to make the business work. And at the end of the day, all of these expenses can be 100% worthwhile if you’re able to create a long-term business that supports your family.
The point with the figures above isn’t to convince you that a franchise opportunity is the right or wrong decision for you personally. The whole point is to say that there is significant profit potential by starting a pretzel business. If there wasn’t major revenue potential there’s no way the company could sustain over 1,600 locations that are owned and operated by franchisee’s. There’s no way they could stay in business!
We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the benefits of a franchise opportunity like the one listed above. First, one of the benefits of enrolling in a franchise is that you get to take advantage of an existing recognizable brand name, processes, and infrastructure of the franchise. You don’t need to spend time coming up with an employee handbook, researching what products you serve or anything else. Your job is to follow the instructions and marketing plan of the franchise opportunity to the best of your ability and make money.
According to FrachiseHelp.com, you will need $1 – $2 million to invest in the McDonald’s franchise. As you know, you could easily create your own burger joint for well under $1 million dollars. But you wouldn’t have the marketing arm or instantly recognizable brand to leverage. McDonald’s is also a company that has been able to adjust with the times and stay relevant for decades, which is something that can’t be said for many burger joints.
In addition to the example above, here are a few other pretzel based businesses to check out: Ben’s Soft Pretzels, Wetzel’s Pretzels, and PretzelMaker. Again, each of these links is provided as a resource to learn more. We do not have an opinion positive or negative about any of the franchise opportunities listed. Complete your own due diligence before joining any franchise opportunity.
At M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks, we are able to build you a custom made pretzel trailer or truck that’s meets your exact needs. For most concepts, we can produce a high-quality pretzel truck / trailer with all the equipment for between $50,000 – $100,000. Contact us here to reach us by email or call 904-397-0246 for immediate help.