Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel or invest in more space and equipment than you can manage to give your menu a boost. You can add spark to the items you already offer through these easy upgrades and added extras.
ADD SPRINKLES OR SUNDAE TOPPINGS AS AN OPTION FOR ICE CREAM.
Rick Marchione of Marchione Concessions notes that he used to offer free sprinkles (or jimmies, depending on where you're from) on an ice cream cone to attract customers, but now he charges 50 cents for this multicolored luxury. A small fee for a dollop of chocolate syrup or strawberry sauce is also an easy way to create your own mini ice cream parlor.
"As long as you keep it efficient," Marchione advises. "If an ice cream is $2 or $2.50, and you add sprinkles for 50 cents, that's great. But if something takes a minute and a half to do, that's a hard 50 cents to earn. You don't want a long line and people getting aggravated."
In other words, this is not the place for the "Your Portrait on a Scoop of Ice Cream" business you've always envisioned.
Keep it simple—and affordable.
JAZZ UP ORDINARY POPCORN WITH A FUN ASSORTMENT OF SPRINKLE-ON FLAVORINGS.
You've seen these at the movie theater, right? Food-service vendors offer flavors from ranch dressing to cheddar cheese to cinnamon sugar. Check out the Food Service and Concession Equipment section of our Buyer's Guide featured at www.recmanagement.com for contact ideas.
EXPAND YOUR BEVERAGE OPTIONS BY ADDING BOTTLED DRINKS TO YOUR FOUNTAIN FARE.
Mark O'Meara, owner of Cinema Arts Theatre in Fairfax, Va., tempts movie-goers with juices and flavored teas, as well as an oversized selection of sodas on tap. Just keep a few bottles cool at a time or provide them to customers in a cup of ice.
IF YOU'RE OFFERING SMOOTHIES OR SLUSHIES OR SOFT-SERVE ICE CREAM, MAXIMIZE YOUR FLAVOR SELECTION SO THERE'S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.
Check with equipment suppliers about easy ways to add an abundance of choices right in the machine.
GET THE MOST OUT OF THE OFFERINGS YOU ALREADY HAVE.
Marchione Concessions added gyros to its roster a few years back, and it nearly doubled its sales after adding a grilled-chicken-on-a-pita choice as well.
"Take the meat and make a salad," suggests Marchione as another inventive option. "Just put everything in a bowl. Try to offer items in various ways or the way a customer wants it."
STOCK A LITTLE EXTRA CHEESE SAUCE OR CARAMEL SAUCE AND OFFER IT WITH CUT-UP APPLE DIPPERS.
Preparation for this snack is simple, and you'll score points with the healthy-eating set as well.