Starting a caramel popcorn business is a great way to make extra money, no matter what the economic climate is like! If you would like to start a caramel popcorn concession business, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. You can also request a free copy of the complete guide to caramel corn profits, How to Succeed in the Caramel Corn Business.
Begin by evaluating the current caramel popcorn market. Take a look at what concession stands, popcorn vendors, concession businesses and local stores are doing. Request brochures from as many caramel popcorn businesses as you can; either call or email, and request the latest brochure or insert that the company sends with gift packs of flavored popcorn. These brochures will give good ideas to generate your own brochures and promotional items, as well as the current price points for caramel popcorn and gourmet popcorn in your area. Remember, use the brochures as starter points onlynever copy something, as you do not know what falls under copyright.
Now, its time to do some recon work! Jump in your car and visit successful caramel popcorn businesses in your area and out of town. See what makes each shop popular and try to find a common thread among all the stores or concession businesses you visit. Look at the dcor, location, available products and more. This will give you a clear picture of what it takes to make caramel corn and turn a profit in your market. While you are out, note the displays, workers uniforms and other things that stand out to you. You will be able to take the ideas you like and put your own spin on them, tailoring them to your market and location.
When you return from the trip, you need to make an important decision how will you sell your product? There are four ways to sell caramel corn:
1.Over-the-Counter: You can put the product in popcorn bags, cans or glassware and sell it directly to the customer.
2.Local Gift Pack Sales: Using a parcel service, you can send caramel corn orders in popcorn bags or cans. This is also a great, local moneymaker during the holidays and for business gifts.
3.Wholesale: This would be considered any bulk caramel corn that is sold as a case good or Super Saver item.
4.Your Website: You can make money outside your neighborhood by shipping your delicious products. Gift tins and specialty flavors are some of the most popular items Internet customers are looking for.
Your caramel popcorn recipe is another important part of your business. You may choose to use an old family recipe the way your grandmother taught you how to make caramel popcorn, but you should consider using a mix. Caramel popcorn mixes produce a consistent end product that has uniform quality. Mixes allow other employees to make the caramel popcorn without you having to worry about it tasting the same as when you make it. You can still make a custom product by adding toffee, nuts, raisins, coconut, or dried fruit. Consider mixing caramel corn with cheese popcorn, or drizzling chocolate, yogurt and other tasty topping on it for an extra sweet treat.
Marketing is a key aspect for any small business, including your caramel popcorn shop! Experts like Gold Medal have cost-efficient suggestions for any size business. For example, try to speak in front of a school districts PTA meeting, or target local fundraising organizations through direct mail. Also, dont forget to gather your customers information. Contests, e-mail sign up sheets, and referral programs are great ways to collect data. Be sure to include reorder sheets with every shipment and sale! This way your customers can easily reorder and enjoy the treats, or give it to a friend who will then be a new customer.
You could consider asking a small ad agency or freelance designer to help you create promotional materials. Give yourself time to be the caramel popcorn expert and ask for marketing help from the ad or industry experts. Make sure to plan for a marketing budget based on your initial sales volume.
You now know the basics of how to start a caramel popcorn business. Your first goal should be to find a high traffic location that is not overly priced, and then create a store that fits your area and incorporates the best ideas from your research. Then, after you perfect your recipe and purchase concession equipment, you are ready to start bringing in extra money. Caramel popcorn is a fun food item and a fair favorite. Do your research, ask the experts for help and develop a plan. You will quickly see profits popping in no time!