Corn roasting is a simple yet very profitable small investment business. The successful corn roasters make full time living working just the summer months.
To start a roasted corn business you will need to acquire permits and business licenses from the health department and from the state. The following is a typical checklist to start your business.
1. Decide the size and the scale of the operation.
2. Decide on the menu for your concession business.
3. Purchase your equipment and tools.
4. Register your business.
5. Apply and obtain all the required licenses and permits needed to run a food concession business.
6. Secure events and have fun running your concession stand.
Permits, Licenses, and Inspection
Every state has laws governing business licenses and permits. Most likely, you will have to register your business with the state agency, so you can do business in the state. A tax ID number, business license number, and tax registration number can be issued to your business, depending on the state in which you are operating. You should verify with the city or county that the business location is zoned for that activity. You must have commercial liability insurance, both for your business and for your vehicle and trailer.
Health Department and Food safety
As a business owner and a food worker, you will be preparing food for other people. Contact the health department of your county or state to receive a copy of a food safety guide that will help you greatly in learning more about food safety. Roasted corn is considered a less hazardous food, but if you are going to sell potatoes and turkey legs you may have to pay higher fee.
Start-up Costs of a Corn Roaster Business
Brand new corn roaster with warranty: 10,000- $ 12,000.
Used corn roaster: $ 5,000- $ 8,000.
Additional equipment and accessories: $ 1,200- $ 2,000.
Used van or truck: $ 2,000- $ 10,000.
Food cost for first two events: $ 300- $ 1,000.
Event sign-up fee: $ 800- $ 3,000.
Fuel, utilities, and miscellaneous: $ 200.
Equipment Required to Start a Corn Roasting Business
A professional corn roaster, minimum 200-500 corns per hour.
Hot plate for melting butter
Steam table for storing cooked potatoes and turkey legs.
Two 20-lb. propane tanks
Commercial quality tent
Hand washing unit (portable) very easy to assemble one
Mics. Little things
Google "Corn Roasters" and search for companies that will help you get started before buying the equipment if you are strapped for cash. One of the company Texas Corn Roasters help.
How to Find Events and Festivals
There are many sources for finding festivals and events, such as your vendor friends, the local Chamber of Commerce, auto racing, fairs and festivals, flea markets, rodeos, and theme parks. The Internet is one of the greatest sources for finding events. Many good sites provide this information. Always send a professionally done proposal with your application if you want to beat the competition.
Suppliers and Producers
Suppliers and produce wholesalers are your key to success in this business. You cannot afford to buy the food from retailers, so you must find producers capable of providing you quality food at wholesale costs. Every state and big town has a local supplier who delivers food supplies to local restaurants. "Wholesale food distributor" in the Yellow Pages is a good place to start. Corn is cheap if buy from a wholesaler.
Serving food at the festival
The way you serve can also improve your business. You will need certain condiments for every item you server. For instance sale, black pepper, Cajun spice, garlic powder, lemon pepper and more.
You have probably heard the saying "flash is cash." It is very true when it comes to the festival business. You could have the most delicious food, best prices, well-trained staff, and a festival with thousands of people. If your booth fails to attract customers ,, it is probably the poor signage.
Like many other small profitable business the roasted corn business is run by tight lipped vendors who do not share tribal knowledge. There are not any website, or sources for a newbie to find any information. The tribal knowledge could help you make extra 25K a year. There is a very helpful book "Earn an entire year living with corn roaster", that covers this business with very granular level of details. It is worth buying.
If you plan on making your concession business a full time job, consider an RV that can tow your corn roaster trailer and getting on the list of concession vendors that follow a fair rout.
Accounting and numbers are also very important aspect of this business. Festival Concession business offers financial and personal freedom like no other small business does.