The history of food concessions may seem to be short but if you look at street vending through the ages you may find that it is older than you think. Street vending, now sometimes called food concessions begin with early entrepreneurs. These venders profited from those milling around in the public markets purchasing other things. It was very popular and began to become quite common. Venders in current times have much the same philosophy as those from ancient times: take advantage of large gatherings of hungry people. Three major early influences on food concessions are from Ancient Rome, Medieval times, and.
One of the most influential times of history on the concession business is that of Ancient Rome. During the times of Ancient Rome, there were many ways people had become aware of public entertainment. One of the ways that people entertained each other and themselves was during popular gatherings of the Roman Coliseum. Spectators would come to see different contests and competitions such as chariot races, sports, and circuses. While some visitors managed to bring their own goodies to eat, others didn’t. This was noticed and before long, tables were set up during competitions to feed and refresh those who were willing to pay. Breads and wines were often offered to those with an empty belly and plenty of money in their pockets. This became quite popular and many were becoming quite wealthy off of these spectators.
Another really popular segment of the past of concession trailers is medieval fairs. During medieval times, very much like Roman times, people often gathered in flocks in search of entertainment. The medieval society often put together fairs that brought people from miles around to see contests and other spectacles. When these fairs would gather, part of the entertainment was the food that was offered. As is similar with modern fairs, different types of foods were available that weren’t necessarily available when fairs weren’t in town. Looking at modern fairs today you can see the influences early fairs may have had on them.
One final thing that affected the way we view food concessions today is the sports arena. For years and years, baseball, football, and other sports complexes have offered goodies such as hotdogs and cold beer. Boxing specifically had a big effect on concessions when Harry Stevens began providing refreshments ringside. These sporting events are well known for their great classic American foods and other offerings they have.
No matter how you look at it or where or when the first concessions, the past has effected the way current vendors do business. These early entrepreneurs made major leaps in the way money was made and the way events were enjoyed. We, as concession trailer owners, have taken a page from the book of those who came before and perfected their already great ways of mobile food vending. Though they may not have worked exactly the way today’s venders work, the principal is definitely the same: provide food to hungry patrons, preferably gathered in a confined area. The rest is definitely history.