There are many ways an attraction can increase concession sales, some of them are easier than others, but when it comes to driving higher profits, attractions should rely on their unique selling point of being an experience. As an attraction, you are selling an experience. Be it a ball game, an interactive animal exhibit, or even a game of laser tag, these are all moments that customers pay to experience – rather than paying for a tangible product. So with that in mind, it makes sense that concessions sales could benefit from an overhaul looking towards the experience rather than just the product. In today’s blog, we’re discussing how you can increase concession sales by creating a unique dining experience for your guests.
With such high profit margins, it makes sense to place a focus on increasing concession sales to work towards your overall goal of increased revenue. By creating a unique experience for guests while they eat, they will not only satisfy their hunger, but they walk away with added value of the experience, something they can share with friends. And we all know the value of word of mouth! But how do you create an experience out of food court style food?
The easiest way to make your foodservice operations more experiential is to tie each menu item with something at your attraction. For example, if you’re a zoo and you’re looking at a foodservice overhaul you can rename items to fit the area of the zoo your concession stand is closest to. Kids would love to eat Nightingale Nuggets or a Black Bear Burger. Keep in mind, with this simple upgrade, you’re not changing the menu, only marketing it differently.
One Step Further – Don’t forget to include some healthy options! Salads are an easy sell for health conscious parents – in the case of the zoo, you could simply market them as herbivore options!
Mom always said don’t play with your food, but what if that was part of the whole experience? There are many ways to make games or fun from food, you just have to think outside of the box! Remember the fun magnetic drawing pad, Wully Willy? Why not serve kids meals on a plate with a bare face on it. Just like Wully Willy, kids can place their food in strategic places to create a funny face of their own! Another easy way to encourage playful eating is build-your-own sets. Be it pizza, sandwich, snack mix, anything can become a build-your-own option and provides people with the creative outlet to make their perfect menu item.
Another way to offer dining with an experience is to make the actual process of eating fun. Can your dining area be transformed to reflect your attraction? For example, if you’re a bowling alley looking to increase concession sales, why not create a bowling themed dining room? Wall murals are an easy way to upgrade a space, or if you’ve got a bigger budget, why not overhaul your furniture to match the theme and vibe of your attraction!
One Step Further – Don’t forget about your dishware! In the case of the bowling alley – items could be served in bowls rather than baskets, cups could be made in the shapes of pins and napkins could be printed too look like funny score cards!
One way to create an experience for an older crowd is to create a challenge item. Something so big, so spicy or so over the top that it’s almost impossible to eat! Most restaurants offer a prize for anyone who can finish the item, so you’ll want to offer one as well. Make a big show out of anyone willing to take the challenge – you can announce it to all guests, ring a giant gong, however you need to draw attention so the challenge becomes an experience not only for the eater, but for everyone in the dining area!
One sure fire way to keep everyone happy with your dining options is to tie in some community values. Locally sourced ingredients are an easy swap you can make to your menu items, make sure to call out where exactly your ingredients originated from to give guests a sense of community. Locally sourced produce can often introduce seasonality into your menu, which keeps it fresh and ever-changing!
One Step Further - If you can, choose a certain cause or organization you identify with and donate a portion of profits to that organization. This can either be total profits, or profits from a specific concession item. Either way guests will feel good making the purchase.
Those are just five of the ways you could make your attraction’s concessions more experiential, but there are millions of ways you can create an experience for a guest. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and if you have to, recruit some of your favorite patrons and ask them what they’d like to see in exchange for a future discount. People love to share their opinions, so why not use them to your advantage! When you can make an experience out of the mundane there is no doubt you’ll see an increase in concession sales as a result.