Advice from seasoned pros?
I am the business manager for a Christian school. We have been looking for innovative ways to supplement our school's income and a decision was made to own and operate a concession trailer during the summer season (May - September) at area festivals and fairs. We will be hiring someone to manage the truck but until that person is hired and on board, it has fallen to me to get the trailer "off the ground." I do have two other members on the committee but since I am at the school full-time, the majority of the work has become mine. I apologize for the length of this post, but I want to include sufficient information about our plans so it is easier to answer my (many) questions.
We have determined that our menu will include a baked potato bar (a limited test of this was recently done with a local area food trailer that one of the committee members is associated with an it went over very well), hot dogs (with some of the same toppings used for the potatoes), as well as blended iced coffee (and other flavors) drinks. We are debating about also selling gourmet popcorn. I am trying to design the trailer so that we can add to or change the menu later if we need/decide to. The trailer we are having built (still in design phase) is 8' x 18' with the ability to serve either out the passenger side (12' of windows) or the back (6' window). Equipment that is planned to be purchased with this is a 2-door upright refrigerator, 1-door upright freezer, 1/2-size convection oven, 53" counter-top refrigerated prep station for toppings, and a food warmer (2 hot wells). At this time we have not purchased a grill or fryers but have left the option open as we are installing a hood system over the area that these items would be if we decided to install them. For the time being, this will be work space with a stainless steel work table.
To have the new trailer built, we have been given bids totaling about $54,000 for the turn-key trailer. We had been hoping to keep the initial cost to about $40,000. Are we being unrealistic with our cost estimate?
Questions that I have (so far) include:
1. What kind of point of sale system has worked best for you? What would you recommend? Has anyone used the NCR Silver POS system?
2. As we will be travelling several hours to many (most) of our venues, what are your recommendations for keeping food cold/ice frozen during the trip? The builder has suggested a 6500 watt LP gas generator that would be run during transport and could also be used to provide power for the trailer at events that do not provide electrical service. My concern is the cost of the generator ($6,700), LP gas, tanks, rack, regulator, set-up and testing would add $9,600 to the cost of our build.
3. Suggestions on best way to hold hot baked potatoes?
4. Thoughts on the proposed menu?
Any advice and comment is very much appreciated.