Few snacks are as crowd-pleasing as popcorn, which is why these crunchy, buttery kernels are so iconic at big events. Whether your foodservice business operates in a school gymnasium, movie theater, or large-scale concert venue, a commercial popcorn machine is a must-have for any concession stand. That’s why choosing the right commercial popcorn popper for your establishment is essential.
There are many elements to consider when shopping for one of these concessions merchandisers, including the amount of popcorn you sell and the amount of labor and maintenance you can afford. Keep reading to learn more about these tips and some other things to keep in mind when buying an industrial popcorn machine.
In general, popcorn production is measured in terms of how many 1 oz. servings the machine can make per hour. Each commercial popcorn popper that Central sells includes this information to help you make the best decision for your establishment’s size and service volume. This production capacity directly correlates to the popcorn popper’s kettle capacity; together these rates help determine the popping cycle time.
This is a general rule of thumb, but make sure to remember these tips, as well:
- Consider how your demand fluctuates across days and seasons to ensure the most accurate measurement.
- Kettle sizes and servings per hour vary among different manufacturers, so be sure to read about each one thoroughly.
All commercial popcorn poppers include kettles where unpopped kernels and oil are placed. The capacity of these kettles determines how much popcorn can be popped at one time. The most important factor to consider when buying a commercial popcorn machine is accurately matching your concession stand’s demand with the popper’s capacity. This simple step allows your business to maximize profits and reduce product waste. It also ensures that your foodservice business is always prepared to serve fresh popcorn to every customer as quickly as possible.
Popcorn Kettle Construction
Popcorn kettles are constructed of a variety of materials. The type you ultimately select will depend on your establishment’s budget, customer volume, and preferences. First off, let’s take a look at common materials used to construct the kettle’s exterior:
- Plated Steel: Heavy-duty construction
- Anodized Aluminum: Extremely even cooking heat
- Stainless Steel: Durable and long-lasting
Popcorn kettles are also available with a variety of interiors. Here are a few of the materials you’re likely to see when shopping Central’s inventory of commercial popcorn poppers:
- Anodized Aluminum: Maximum performance with easy cleaning
- Nickel Plated Steel: Maintenance-free operation
- Aluminum: Extremely even cooking heat
- Dupont Scratchguard: Non-stick surface for easy cleaning
Additional Features in Commercial Popcorn Poppers
- Drawer for unpopped kernels: Also known as an “old maid drawer,” this compartment catches all unpopped kernels to minimize mess.
- Drop serving panel: This features allows operators to scoop popcorn out without it falling to the floor.
- Heated corn deck: Perfect for bulk production, a heated corn deck helps keep larges batches of popcorn fresh for longer.
- Operator-serve vs. self-serve: An operator-serve unit typically has a door in the back of the machine for you to serve customers. Alternately, self-serve machines enable customers to serve themselves, and many models also include sneezeguards for added hygiene.
Adriane works as a Content Specialist at Central Restaurant Products. She has more than a decade of experience as a copywriter and e-commerce strategist, with most of that time spent focusing on the restaurant industry. When she’s not writing about foodservice, Adriane enjoys cooking, hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her dog.