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How To Start a Kettle Corn Business or Concession Stand

how to start your own kettle corn business Fresh Yummy Kettle Corn Is A Real Money Maker

One of the best mobile concession stand businesses you can start is selling kettle corn. Kettle corn is one of the most popular treats at outdoor fairs and events. It is sweet and salty and is often served hot. Starting a kettle corn concession stand business is much easier than selling something like hot dogs, since there is no food preparation and you only have to keep the basic kettle corn ingredients such as oil, popcorn, sugar an salt on hand.

You can start a kettle corn business without a franchise, which is another plus. You simply have to purchase a new or used kettle corn popper or fully equipped kettle corn kitchen. You can find these new or used, such as on eBay.

Kettle corn is an almost addictive treat. Many fair goers will make a beeline to the kettle corn stand as the first thing they do upon arrival. Some people even say that they go to events just to buy and eat kettle corn! It offers the most repeat business of any snack since kettle corn is so addicting.

It is not uncommon to make over four hundred dollars per hour for each hour that you are popping.

When starting your own kettle corn business, no great cooking skills are required. Once you learn the basics of popping kettle corn you can train almost any adult to work the popper.

Where To Set Up Your Kettle Corn Business

You can set up your kettle corn stand at venues such as

  • local craft shows,
  • festivals of all kinds
  • concerts,
  • professional sporting events,
  • car and truck shows,
  • retail locations
  • rodeo events
  • company picnics
  • stock shows
  • parks
  • beaches
  • car dealers and more.
  • If you are lucky enough to find a permanent booth at a sporting venue, such as minor league baseball, to set up your kettle corn business this can be a permanent monemaker.

    What You Need To Start A Kettle Corn Business

     To start a kettle corn business you will have to have a permit from the health department. These are most often applied for locally. In addition you must file for a doing business as or DBA license in your county.

    You must have commercial liability insurance, both for your business and for your vehicle and trailer.

    Kettle corn poppers can be purchased used for less than $5000. Complete trailers, including pans, propane tanks, sink, etc, can often be found for less than $10,000.  You may also consider leasing the equipment when first starting out.

    Google "kettle corn equipment lease" and search for companies that will help you get started before buying the equipment if you are strapped for cash.

    You can often get assistance starting a small business such as a kettle corn concession by contacting the volunteer organization SCORE, which is comprised of retired business owners.

    After you have obtained your health permit and kettle corn popping equipment you will need to search for venues to set up your kettle corn concession stand. Check with the organizers of local fairs, rodeos, stock shows, car shows and any other gathering where a kettle corn stand may fit in.

    You'll need a vehicle capable of towing your kettle corn trailer or carrying the popper, propane tanks, etc to the location. Full sized pickup trucks are the best.


    If you plan on making your kettle corn business a full time job, consider an RV that can tow your kettle corn trailer and getting on the list of concession vendors that follow a traveling fair. You will have to keep very good records for you tax deductions, but you still may be able to earn a very good living by traveling from place to place setting up your kettle corn stand.

    Make sure that you have all of the permits required, including ones to operate a business in a public place, in addition to your current health certificate. Make sure that you comply with all of your state's employee compensation laws, OSHA laws, and so on.  Your SCORE counselor can help you research what is needed to start your own kettle corn business.





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