How to Buy a Concession Trailer

Custom built Funnel Cake trailer by Schantz Mfg.

By STAFF | Accounting Business News

Custom built Funnel Cake trailer by Schantz Mfg.

Have you ever attended a fair, outdoor concert or amusement park and noticed all the hungry people lining up at the food concession trailers? And did you think to yourself, “Man, those mobile kitchen operators must be making money hand over fist! I wonder how I could get a piece of that? ”Launching successfully into the mobile food trailer business starts with having a solid business plan and then investing in the concession trailer that fits your plan – not too much trailer, not too little, but just right.

So if you like the sound of being your own boss, hitting the road, and working at fun outdoor events all summer, here is a list of points to consider before investing in your first concession trailer.  Type of Food ServiceWhen buying a new concession trailer, it should be customized specifically for the type of food service you plan to offer: BBQ, fast food, product samples, hot or cold foods, sandwiches, drinks, etc. The vendor will be able to advise you on the trailer best suited to your business plan.

Size of Concession Trailer & mobile food trailers can be as small as hot dog carts or as large as semi trailers, although the average length ranges from 18′ to 24′. The size you choose will depend on the number of people who will work inside it, the number of serving stations, and the amount of equipment needed. Tip: Spend some time researching floor plans either online or at a concession trailer dealership to zero in on the size and layout that’s right for you.

Equipment OptionsOne fridge or two? Big freezer or small? How many stove top burners and deep fryers will you need? BBQ or meat smoker or both? When it comes time to get a price quote for your mobile food trailer, you’ll need to know what options to include so you can negotiate the best deal. (If you’re getting a brand new mobile kitchen, be sure to choose a dealer that can customize it to your specifications. New or Used.?

The question of a new or used concession trailer usually comes down to budget and how much credit your banker is willing to give you. If you need to scrimp, some dealers offer used or reconditioned mobile kitchens. This may be a better option than buying privately since dealership units are checked and refurbished by professionals.

Mobile WarrantyBefore buying your concession trailer, make sure the dealer offers a “nationwide” warranty that goes with you. Remember, your mobile kitchen is going to be on the road and far away from home much of the time. If there’s a problem, it’s good to know you can have it repaired wherever you happen to be.