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 FREE Refills

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FriedTater

  • Total Posts: 414
  • Joined: 6/21/2008
  • Location: Badlands of New Mexico
FREE Refills Thu, 04/22/10 11:02 PM (permalink)
I`m a traveling food vendor. I`m seeing more and more Drink booths offering "Free Refills". If I wanted to do the same thing, what is the "catch" behind all these free giveaways. Two things I consider, their prices are higher per cup, and/or their betting on the customer not returning. What is it that I am missing? What should I do to play in the big boys arena? Theres a reason behind it all, they wouldn`t do it if there wasn`t any money to be made. Any ideas and  thoughts will greatly be appreciated.
 
Thanks
 
#1
    THE WILD DOG

    • Total Posts: 1465
    • Joined: 1/12/2010
    • Location: Hunt Valley, MD
    Re:FREE Refills Thu, 04/22/10 11:20 PM (permalink)
    If you are talking about fountain soda, Fountain soda is pretty much all profit. Syrups are usually about $40 a box, and you get about 320 servings out of it. It is usually a 5/1 concentrate that makes about 30 gallons from a 5 gallon box. At a $1.50 a pop, that's pretty much all profit, costs being about $.10 cents a cup
     
    #2
      ReliantConcessions

      • Total Posts: 74
      • Joined: 8/10/2008
      • Location: Ashland City, TN
      Re:FREE Refills Fri, 04/23/10 12:03 AM (permalink)
      what wild dog said.......the cup costs as much or more than the refill. they have to bring the cup back and you hope they buy a high profit item when they return.
       
      #3
        Dr of BBQ

        • Total Posts: 3716
        • Joined: 10/11/2004
        • Location: Springfield, IL
        • Roadfood Insider
        Re:FREE Refills Fri, 04/23/10 8:08 AM (permalink)
        I'd have to ask a couple of questions.

        Will the customer walk around and finally when he finishes his drink forget and discard the cup?

        Will the customer realize he is paying a higher price for his first drink?

        If your the guy giving free refills and I'm not, who is watching to see if my customer fills his drink cup at your free refills station? Is your cup different, than mine? And if your free drinks come from a maned station how many extra cups and how much time and labor does that require?

        And yes Fountain Soda is a great profit item so why give it away or lessen your profit margin?

        The "Big Boys" aren't always correct in their attempt to market to a crowd.

        I'll preach to my dieing day that at events you need good food coming from an attractive facility and some fire and smoke with a touch of pizazz. That will get you more customers and a  bigger profit  than low prices every time.

        And finally I never pay much attention to what other vendors are doing at events, although maybe I should, and I'm just not sharp enough to realize it. LOL. 

        I just set my prices, and policy's and put out the best food, and drink with some flair, at a fair price.

        PS there is one thing I watch at events and that's for new food items, because I always want to learn if there is an item I can copy refine and make my own.

        Just some thoughts.

        Jack
         
        #4
          FriedTater

          • Total Posts: 414
          • Joined: 6/21/2008
          • Location: Badlands of New Mexico
          Re:FREE Refills Fri, 04/23/10 10:22 AM (permalink)
          Thanks all for your input. I`ll look into this more, its just something I`ve noticed recently at some events. I`m trying to understand the philosphy behind it. And yes Doc, my cup would have to be different than the rest, which in turn is another expense I`d rather not encounter.
           
          #5
            BillyB

            • Total Posts: 2851
            • Joined: 2/4/2009
            Re:FREE Refills Fri, 04/23/10 10:52 AM (permalink)
            In Most cases the small operator is going to pay $60 for a 5gal box, at $12 a gal, that .094 per oz

            1oz Sryup..................  .094 , Brix 4-1
            32 oz cup.............. .074
            lid..........................  .05
            straw.....................  .01


             
            #6
              Ice Cream Man

              • Total Posts: 1370
              • Joined: 11/12/2009
              • Location: Ontario Canada
              Re:FREE Refills Fri, 04/23/10 1:30 PM (permalink)
              If you're in a crowd of people doing it you don't need different cups, just a red marker or a sticker with your name on it, something to make your cups different.
              You could use a paper punch and put a small hole in the cup just below the lip line so you know it's yours. At the same time this would give you a few laughs watching people trying to drink it.
               
              #7
                Foodbme

                • Total Posts: 9575
                • Joined: 9/1/2006
                • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 4:30 PM (permalink)
                If you fill a cup with ice, the actual product being used is far less. When I go to a "C" store, I don't put ice in the cup because the product by itself is already cold. Drives 'em nuts!
                Most people think you need the ice to cool the drink----NOT!
                 
                #8
                  lornaschinske

                  • Total Posts: 1610
                  • Joined: 3/4/2009
                  • Location: Roswell, NM until we leave for another place
                  Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 7:32 PM (permalink)
                  Ever measure the amount of actual soda you get in an ice filled cup? For us, our drinks have a low markup. We sell cans and they are very cold. We don't want to haul all those cups and lids around. I would rather offer something that will make me more $$ in the same space.
                   
                  #9
                    jcheese

                    • Total Posts: 739
                    • Joined: 3/5/2011
                    • Location: Fieldale, VA
                    Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 8:22 PM (permalink)
                    For me, cans make the most sense. Pay .22-25 each, sell for $1.00. No equipment, no maintenance, no cups or lids or straws, no "clean" ice. No limit on variety. Put 'em in a cooler, let them fish their own out.
                     
                    #10
                      stubby77

                      • Total Posts: 491
                      • Joined: 1/8/2010
                      • Location: Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
                      Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 9:28 PM (permalink)
                      Where are you getting cans of soda for 22 to 25 cents? Cheapest I can get them is 29 cents (34 cents if you include the deposit) and that's a half hour drive away. Average price locally at retail is 44 cents plus deposit. I can get them delivered direct from Coke for 37 cents plus deposit. Next season I will be getting it direct delivered, even if it costs me more (I need consistency in cost) but I will probably go up to $1.25 per can.
                       
                      #11
                        chefbuba

                        • Total Posts: 1955
                        • Joined: 6/22/2009
                        • Location: Near You, WA
                        Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 10:13 PM (permalink)
                        lornaschinske


                        Ever measure the amount of actual soda you get in an ice filled cup? For us, our drinks have a low markup. We sell cans and they are very cold. We don't want to haul all those cups and lids around. I would rather offer something that will make me more $$ in the same space.

                        Lorna, I know you don't have much space, but if you have the room, it is well worth selling other than canned drinks.
                        Jcheese, don't know your set up...
                        I sell sodas for $1, cost .25-.30 each.... I sell 32oz lemonade for $2.75, cost me .35
                        Well worth the hassle of having clean ice and cups as long as it's warm enough and it sells.
                         
                         
                        #12
                          Barry Digman

                          • Total Posts: 119
                          • Joined: 4/22/2011
                          • Location: Farmington, NM
                          Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 10:17 PM (permalink)
                          12-packs of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are on sale here every couple of weeks at 4/$10, or about 21 cents per can.
                           
                          #13
                            jcheese

                            • Total Posts: 739
                            • Joined: 3/5/2011
                            • Location: Fieldale, VA
                            Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 10:34 PM (permalink)
                            Same here.....no deposit in VA.
                             
                            #14
                              FriedTater

                              • Total Posts: 414
                              • Joined: 6/21/2008
                              • Location: Badlands of New Mexico
                              Re:FREE Refills Thu, 09/22/11 11:57 PM (permalink)
                              Uh, I forgot I started this thread.
                              I finally bowed out of the coke thing at the first of the year. Tired of carrying around cases of coke, dr. pepper, diet coke, sprite. Then worry icing the silly things down.
                              I`ve gone to do lemonade almost 90% of my time at events. I`ve developed a good lemonade drink people love and come back to. No FREE REFILLS! Keep a couple of ice chests full of ice, as most events I go to have ice vendors on hand.
                               
                              #15
                                stubby77

                                • Total Posts: 491
                                • Joined: 1/8/2010
                                • Location: Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
                                Re:FREE Refills Fri, 09/23/11 6:07 AM (permalink)
                                Barry Digman


                                12-packs of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are on sale here every couple of weeks at 4/$10, or about 21 cents per can.


                                Wow... Wish we were that lucky. One of our local stores runs a 4/$10 sale occasionally, but they always limit it to just one deal (4 cases), and that sale is rare. Usually their sale price is $3.99. The other supermarket in town does 3/$12 as their standard sale on coke and 2/$10 as their standard Pepsi sale.

                                The best deal is Walmart at $7.28 a case, but its a half hour drive. BJ's is a similar price to walmart at $9.89/32 pack, but they don't have all the flavors I sell.

                                I really am thinking of doing direct delivery, which from coke is $8.80 per case plus deposit. I'm still waiting to hear back from Pepsi on their price to deliver. I really feel that the consistency of always paying the same price will be worth paying a higher price. Plus, there's nothing worse then spending 45 minutes driving from one store to another to another because everyone's out of the one flavor soda I need (happened yesterday with root beer) and ending up paying $5.99 a 12-pk when you finally find it
                                 
                                #16
                                  Foodbme

                                  • Total Posts: 9575
                                  • Joined: 9/1/2006
                                  • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                                  Re:FREE Refills Fri, 09/23/11 1:38 PM (permalink)
                                  Barry Digman

                                  12-packs of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are on sale here every couple of weeks at 4/$10, or about 21 cents per can.

                                  The Food Chains here added a kicker. "With a Minimum $25 purchase" They count the soda towards the $25 at regular price and then discount the soda if the $25 is met. Also, their "Food Card" is required.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    FriedTater

                                    • Total Posts: 414
                                    • Joined: 6/21/2008
                                    • Location: Badlands of New Mexico
                                    Re:FREE Refills Sun, 09/25/11 10:13 PM (permalink)
                                    Stubby, in New Mexico they advertise limit 4 to customer. Lorna, or any others from NM, may have to correct me on this, but thats illegal in New Mexico. I think you can buy the store out.
                                     
                                    #18
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