Corn roasting is a simple but very profitable small investment. Successful corn roasters make a full-time living working only the summer months.
To start a roasted corn business, you will need to acquire business permits and licenses from the health department and the state. The following is a typical checklist for starting your business.
1. Decide on the size and scale of the operation.
2. Decide on the menu for your concession business.
3. Buy your equipment and tools.
4. Register your business.
5. Apply for and obtain all necessary licenses and permits 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. You will most likely have to register your company with the state agency in order to do business in the state. A tax identification number, a business license number, and a tax registration number may be issued for your business, depending on the state in which it operates. 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.
Department of Health and Food Safety
As a business owner and food worker, you will prepare food for other people. Contact your county or state health department for a copy of a food safety guide that will greatly help you learn more about food safety. Roasted corn is considered a less dangerous food, but if you are going to sell potatoes and turkey legs, you may have to pay a higher fee.
Start-up costs of a corn roaster business
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 truck or van: $ 2,000- $ 10,000.
Food cost for the first two events: $ 300- $ 1,000.
Event registration fee: $ 800- $ 3,000.
Fuel, utilities, and miscellaneous: $ 200.
Equipment needed to start a corn roasting business
A professional corn roaster, minimum 200-500 grains per hour.
Hot plate for melting butter
Steam table to store cooked potatoes and turkey legs.
Two 20-pound. propane tanks
Commercial grade tent
Very easy to assemble (portable) hand washing unit
Microphones Little things
Google “Corn Roasters” and look for companies to help you get started before you buy the equipment if you don’t have the cash. One of the Texas Corn Roasters companies helps.
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 races, fairs and festivals, flea markets, rodeos, and theme parks. The Internet is one of the best sources for finding events. Many good sites provide this information. Always submit a professionally made proposal with your application if you want to beat the competition.
Suppliers and Producers
Suppliers and wholesalers of agricultural products are the key to success in this business. You cannot afford to buy food from retailers, so you must find producers capable of providing you with quality food at wholesale costs. Every state and large city has a local vendor who delivers food to local restaurants. “Wholesale Food Distributor” in the Yellow Pages is a good place to start. Corn is cheap if you buy it from a wholesaler.
Serving food at the festival.
The way you provide your services can also improve your business. You will need certain seasonings for each item you serve. For example, sale, black pepper, Cajun spices, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and more.
You’ve probably heard the saying “flash is effective”. It’s very true when it comes to the festival business. You could have the most delicious food, the best prices, a well-trained staff, and a festival with thousands of people. If your booth fails to attract customers, it is probably bad signage.
Like many other profitable small businesses, the roasted corn business is run by tight-lipped salesmen who do not share tribal knowledge. There is no website or source for a newbie to find information. Tribal knowledge could help you earn 25,000 more a year. There is a very useful book “Make a Living for a Whole Year with the Corn Roaster” that covers this business in a very granular level of detail. It is worth buying.
If you plan to make your concession business a full-time job, consider an RV that can tow your corn roaster trailer and get on the list of fair-route concession providers.
Accounting and numbers are also very important aspects of this business. The festival concession business offers financial and personal freedom like no other small business.