All About The Business Of Kettle Corn

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So you're enquiring "What is kettle corn, how is it distinct from than popcorn and is
making it a great business idea?"

Kettle corn is a unique product; it's not like Cracker Jacks, nor does it come
"flavored", like cheese popcorn. Kettle corn is truly different; incorporates nothing
you can't buy in any store; it's the ratio of the ingredients that make kettle corn what it
is. Although the stuff you'll find in this product can be found anywhere: salt, sugar, oil
and popcorn, the proportion of sugar to salt and the oil itself make the difference
between something that's so-so and something that will compel your buyers to keep
coming back time and time again.

You will probably have to look around in your area as to what licenses or papers are
necessary for your popping location. If you're going to pop locally, your health depart
will require an inspection; which is normallyaffordable, although you'll see it's never
the same requirements from location to location. Depending where you are, extra
equipment may be required which will add to the total of money you require to lay out
up front. This supplemental equipment can include sinks --for your hands and/or
utensils-- and a pressurized water tank with a heat source.

At some point, you'll pull your hair out trying to deal with local officials as the
required things to sell your product can vary widely from spot to spot. In some
counties around the country, a state license may be needed (the title of these certifies
change from state to state) before you can erect your tent-- also, before you receive
this permit (locating the correct government department is a whole separate
challenge), liability insurance may be necessary. This coverage is primarily for
dishing out medical expenses should a client or employee hurt themselves on your
"property". And though your state may not demand any insurance, the organizers of
the venue may want you to have it, although some events that know what they're
doing (some of the larger weekly fairs or farmers markets, to name a few) will have
bought location insurance that covers everyone.

When you've finally gotten all your papers together, your next step (if you haven't
done so already) will be to find popping locations. Some large event isn't always the
best; the bigger places will want you to pay more money upfront since larger traffic
volume tends to increase the set-up price. Larger events may have another kettle corn
vendor which will decrease your profits from lost buyers. On the other hand,
comparatively smaller locales--farmers markets and local craft fairs, for example--
will often get you more clients. The smaller venues will always charge less for their
site fees and it's very unusual for them to have more than one kettle corn vendor as
their main draw is either local produce or crafts. A special product, like kettle corn,
can be a huge draw for business. The sound and smell of fresh kettle corn has
compelled many people to investigate at these events; and it's very likely, once these
people try your kettle corn, they will desire regular popcorn again.
A kettle corn business, unlike some other business, your initial expenses are
comparatively low, and the potential for profit can be seen fairly quickly. After your
original investment in equipment, your only repeating expenses are the ingredients
and the fee given to venue organizers.

When you're established in a good space, with your kettle, bin, tanks of propane and a
tent or kiosk, your net income can be surprisingly good. This is not saying that
running a kettle corn operation is easy money-- there's a lot of initial research to be
done. You'll have to look for events and venues, and navigating a bureaucratic maze to
get your licenses and people whose job seems to comprise of passing you off to
someone else. Loading & unloading the equipment, mixing the kettle, bagging
repeatedly, plus dealing with high temperatures and rain, will leave you dragging your
feet when the day's over. In addition to the hours you spend popping, when you
include all the necessary things you had to do to get your merchandise out there, it can
add up to a tiring, hot day.

However, on a day-to-day basis, however, you are your own boss; breathing down
you neck and giving you orders. The "downside" is you're doing everything-- making
the product, keeping track of expenses, (though you should have an accountant when
tax time comes) and you have to do some PR, as well. PR can be in the form of a
website, to handing out circulars and promotional "goodies"--free samples of your
product and putting out flyers with dates & locations of where you'll be; especially if
you want to go into the retail side of selling kettle corn. Selling to retail stores has its
own set of rules, which has its own special requirements, including a dedicated
location approved by separate health and safety regulations and negotiating prices and
percentages with the local merchants. For retail, labeling is required--you need to list
ingredients, contact information and (in some locations) a date of expiration. You and
the retailer will need an arrangement about how to take care of unused product, as

When starting a business from the ground up, there's a lot to think about, but the
rewards and profits are amazing and well worth the hard work-- and you did it all


Eric has been popping with his Kettle Corn Business for a few years. It's called
Velma's 'Wicked Delicious' Kettle Corn.