A Chowish Little League snack stand??
I volunteered to run a snack stand for a local LL tournament in June. I know that I have to have dogs, nachos, and chili, or risk being ejected from the park. And sodas and lots of candy of course. But what would you add to that menu to make it interesting? I'm in the San Diego area, so have access to a lot of Mexican and Vietnamese items (and Filipino, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indian too). The parents are probably pretty cosmopolitan, the kids not so much.
We'll have propane stoves for heat and ice chests for cold. Teenage boys will be serving.
Tamales would work great. Crepes might work too, though I'd have to rent the appliance. Vietnamese spring rolls? Birria? (Wait, I think I went too far.) I could probably make a killing if I could figure out how to make carne asada burritos in this situation, but that's asking too much of the boys. Keep in mind that we're concerned with the profit margin as well as ease of production, which is why the $4 Farmers Market crepe is attractive, using maybe a quarter's worth of ingredients.
Any tips on running a snack stand would also be welcome.
With teenage boys serving, you'll want to get things that are already cooked and portion controlled. Crepes you can buy pre-made, frozen. Spring roll wrappers too. And of course tortillas. Then fill with premade pulled pork, fajita chicken, Philly steaks, gyro meat etc which are all easily available and add cheese and veggies (onions and peppers etc). This is not the time to go gourmet ( if LL means Little League anyway) as the kids are the ones who will be buying most of the food so cater to them. Just selling bottles of water to the adults will keep you in the black, the rest is gravy. And don't forget ice cream/italian ice if you have enough ice. But premade and preportioned is the key to controlling costs. Although with the price of wheat, don't count on a quarters worth of ingredients right now. If you can do it for less than a dollar, you'll be lucky. More info, email me.
Two things my two Little Leaguers would love to see in the Snack Shack are teriyaki rice bowls ($8 each at our local NHL games!) and chicken or beef satays. Oh, and to go with the rice bowls, packages of edamame... a very low cost ($1 for a 1-lb bag at the 99 Ranch Market) and high profit item. Fried dumplings/gyoza are also high-profit and popular, plus they store/reheat better than spring rolls.
I never would have thought of rice bowls, and especially edamame. But coll has the right idea about portion control. The crepes came to mind because I was at the farmers market this morning, and one of the booths had 3 machines going. Pretty good, but pricey at $4. Flour at Costco is about 40 cents a pound, IIRC.
While researching snack stands (?) I ran across a blogger's review of the food offerings of the high school gyms in his area, and it's terriffic. This guy is definitely a chowhound. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
I am the new "food lady" for our school- and I want to cook my version of a "rajas cheesesteak" for a profit, at our local street/school events. I figure that I'll need a large flat top grill, fitted with a place for a lg deep and 2 1/2 deeps inside that holding bbqd pork and rajas in the other. Mix those 2 on the grill - toss on some cheese and cover- add to a toasted bun- and that will be $6.00 please.
Are you expecting to feed the adults? Maybe a fruit bowl- with whipped cream? Anyone can cut fruit into bite sized pieces- at our weekly pizza lunch- we buy $20.00 worth of fresh strawberries and canned whipped cream and turn it into $35.00 pretty quick.
Grilled sausage on a stick. The satay idea is great, 3 in a boat holder with a squirt of sauce/or not. Anything bbq'd for that matter.
Burritos are easy to roll- if you control the portions. Rice and meat, beans and meat- simple and easy. Roll burrito into preportioned foil.
Good Luck- I vote for the parents will support you if you make it tasty. Just don't over think it.
Final report on the snack stand. We sold hot dogs, candy, and drinks for ten days in June at a Little League championship here in Southern California. Lessons learned:
You can't sell homemade goods (people probaly wouldn't buy them anyway.)
The health department has a very benevolent view of this short-term activity, and I didn't need any kind of permit (charity event).
The biggest seller was the hotdogs (Hebrew National all beef for $2.50).
We had a hot dog combo (dog, chips and soda for $3.50) which also sold well, and used up inventory.
Toward the end of the tournament, I sensed hot dog fatigue setting in, and think people would have welcomed something else, like nachos or chili.
Best profit margin was the bottled water (12 oz for $1.00).
Price everything to make change in quarters. Have some items for a single quarter for the little kids who have just that.
Everything else sold in spurts, except the kids consistently picked sour candy.
Forget about anything remotely 'healthy': no granola bars, no 100 calorie snacks, no organic cookies. I didn't try fruit, but I think I know what the result would be.
Families at a tournament are there to see and celebrate a successful season for their child. They go out to eat AFTER the game, and do not buy much besides drinks and chips during the game (ours started at 5:30, just right for a post game pizza party with the team, win or lose).
We took risks at the beginning of the tournament, buying large quantities, and towards the end only bought small quantities as needed to avoid inventory build up.
We had way too many people in the booth, and could have gotten by with 2 youths and two adults. (Boys deal with customers, one adult handles the cash box, and the other adult handles the dogs.)
We had about $75 in cash to start each day, roughly equally divided between $1's, $5's and quarters. I left all the coins in the till every night, and deposited only the bills in the bank, which made it easier. I made up a form to count cash at the end of the day. That helped keep the accounting straight.
Next year? Maybe. The kids really enjoyed it, and we made some money, but it was draining on me and my wife. We'll probably encourage our group to do it again, with some modifications to the staffing and menu.