Does My Concession Stand Need a Food Service License?
A concession stand is one of the most effective ways for your booster club to raise money for sports teams. However, if you have never run a concession stand before, you undoubtedly have tons of questions about it. Running a successful concession stand is not quite as simple as it may appear. In order to do so, you need to familiarize yourself with food service requirements, explore state tax laws, and much more.
The good news is that there are great resources to jumpstart your efforts. In addition to creating this beginner’s guide, the team at BoosterHub frequently tackles important concession-related topics. In this post, we take a deep dive into food service licensing requirements for concession stands. Whether you are already running a successful concession stand or have recently taken over these responsibilities for your booster club, this playbook will help you comply with state and local guidelines.
Who Regulates Food Service in My Area?
Generally, your local health department will establish food service regulations for your community. Your health department will also be responsible for issuing licenses, establishing licensing requirements, and conducting inspections of food preparation areas (if required in your area).
If you live in a rural community, you may fall under the purview of a county health department rather than a municipal organization.
The following are some general licensing requirements as they pertain to concession stands. However, if you have any specific questions, connect with your local health department or other regulatory entity. They will be able to provide specific guidance and help you serve food safely at athletic events.
When Is Licensing Required?
As a general rule, licensing is typically not required if your concession stand is serving pre-packaged food. This is one reason why many booster clubs primarily serve pre-packaged items at their concession stands, especially when working at smaller events.
A few examples of pre-packaged items that your concession stand can serve without a food service license include:
Bottled or canned soda
Individually packaged juice
Any of the above items can be served without a license because concessions personnel are not directly interacting with the food, just with the packaging. However, if you plan on serving prepared food like burgers, boiled peanuts, and hotdogs, your local or state government may require you to obtain a food service license.
On a positive note, many states offer exemptions for schools and nonprofits even if they are serving prepared food items. This means that your concession stand might be able to serve a full range of prepared food without obtaining licensing.
Even if your booster club is exempt from licensing requirements, we suggest that at least one volunteer complete a food service course. This will help protect the booster club and the school from any liability while also ensuring that customers receive safely prepared food.
Obtaining a food service certification is quick, easy, and affordable. You or the designated volunteer can obtain your certification via a short online course.
While there are many such courses available, you should consider using one that is endorsed by your local health department. This ensures that you are spending booster club resources on a legitimate course that teaches the attendee actionable food service skills.
When selecting who should become certified, choose a volunteer who is consistently involved in concession activities. They can share their new skills with other concession stand volunteers and help all participants practice safe food preparation habits.
Even if licensing is not required in your area, investing in safe food preparation will pay dividends for your booster club.
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Our Club Has Been Using Charms and Has Student Accounts — Why Is This a Bad Idea?
There’s a lot to like about Charms Office Assistant. This program has been a music program stalwart and can help schools and boosters communicate with students, manage assessment data, and collect payments.
We get the appeal of using Charms to support your band’s billing activities — the system is already in place, and you can collect payments from students and parents all in one platform. However, Charms wasn’t really designed for booster clubs. It was really designed to be used by the school or music director.
Most booster clubs are non-profits. The activities and best practices are different. For instance, non-profits can not fundraise for the benefit of one person. They must fundraise for the group as a whole. Also, fees can not be mandatory in a non-profit. You can certainly say “100% participation is highly encouraged,” but you can not require anyone to pay to participate.
By replacing Charms with a purpose-built booster solution, your club can:
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Round Rock Volleyball Is Ahead of the Game by Using BoosterHub MVP
After each sports season, the coaching staff gets together to review what went well and what they can do better next year. Often, coaches will turn to league winners for inspiration. During this process, they analyze film, look at stats, and explore ways to incorporate these insights into their own coaching strategies.
Your athletic booster club can apply these same principles to get better at fundraising during the off-season. On that note, let’s turn our attention to the Round Rock Volleyball booster club and how they’re delivering for student athletes with BoosterHub.
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Is SMS a Good Way to Communicate with Donors and Booster Club Members?
Finding effective ways to communicate with donors and members is a problem as old as your school’s rivalry with the neighboring high school football team. And just like that generation-spanning rivalry, you never seem to be able to maintain the upper hand for long.
During your time as an athletic booster club member, you’ve probably tried a variety of communication techniques, from phone calls to flyers and even email. If that’s the case, you know that none of these strategies are especially effective for relaying information to your membership.
While you’ve probably considered using SMS messaging to talk to donors and booster club members, you may be hesitant to make yet another change to your communication strategy. But trust us — SMS messaging is the way to go. With the right SMS messaging tools in place, you can effortlessly share information, keep parents in the loop about upcoming events, and make 2023 your most productive fundraising year ever.