How to start a roasted corn business

Corn roasting is a simple but very profitable small investment business. Successful corn roasters make a full-time living by working only the summer months.

To start a roasted corn business, you will need to acquire business permits and licenses from the state and health department. The following is a typical checklist for starting your business.

1. Decide 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 licenses and permits required to operate a food concession business.

6. Secure events and have fun running your concession stand.

Permits, Licenses and Inspection

Each state has laws governing business licenses and permits. You will most likely have to register your business with the state agency, so you can do business in the state. A tax identification number, business license number, and tax registration number may be issued to your business, depending on the state in which it operates. You should check 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 be preparing food for other people. Contact your county or state health department for a copy of a food safety guide that will go a long way in learning more about food safety. Roasted corn is considered a less dangerous food, but if you are going to sell potatoes and turkey thighs, you may have to pay a higher fee.

Startup 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 van or truck: $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 kernels per hour.

hot plate for melting butter

Steam table for storing cooked potatoes and turkey thighs.

Two 20 lbs. propane tanks

fire extinguisher

commercial grade tent

2 tables,

Sink (portable) very easy to assemble

microphones little things

Google “Corn Roasters” and look for companies to help you get started before you buy the equipment if you’re strapped for cash. Help one of the Texas Corn Roasters companies.

How to find events and festivals

There are many sources for finding festivals and events, such as your vendor friends, your 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 products are the key to success in this business. You cannot afford to buy your food from retailers, so you need to find producers capable of providing you with quality food at wholesale prices. Every state and large city has a local supplier that delivers food supplies to local restaurants. “Wholesale Food Distributor” in the Yellow Pages is a good place to start. Corn is cheap if purchased from a wholesaler.

Serving food at the festival.

The way you serve 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 is very true when it comes to the festival business. You could have the most delicious food, the best prices, well-trained staff, and a festival with thousands of people. If your booth is failing to attract customers, it is probably due to poor signage.

tribal knowledge

Like many other profitable small businesses, the roasting corn business is run by quiet vendors who do not share tribal knowledge. There are no websites or sources for a newbie to find information. Tribal knowledge could help you earn an extra 25K a year. There is a very useful book “Earn a Whole Year’s Living Roasting Corn” which covers this business at 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 vendors.

Accounting and numbers are also a very important aspect of this business. The festival concession business offers financial and personal freedom like no other small business.

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