What to Look For In a Portable Commercial Popcorn Popper

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It’s hard to not get hungry when you hear fresh kernels go “pop” and see piles of fluffy popped corn spill out of the sides of a popcorn kettle.

People have been enjoying hot, buttery popcorn at events since the late 19th century.  The first portable popcorn wagon made its debut at Chicago’s World Fair in 1893.  

Today, popcorn is just as popular as ever.  That’s why investing in a popcorn machine is a good idea if you want to make money selling snacks.  

We recommend that you start off with a portable popcorn machine.  Portable popcorn machines are especially good for carnivals, fairs and other big events because they’re easy to setup move around.  

What Are the Best Commercial Popcorn Machine Brands?

When it comes to commercial popcorn machines, there are two names you need to know: Paragon and Great Northern.  Both manufacturers have a great reputation for making excellent commercial popcorn machines.  

One advantage of going with one of these two big name popcorn manufacturers is that replacement parts are always available.  Both Paragon and Great Northern have sections on their websites where you can go to order parts if something breaks.

Another reason to go with Paragon or Great Northern is that both companies have great customer service reputations.  Their customer service agents and repairmen go out of their way to help you solve any problems that may arise.

Beware of Cheap Imitations

Both Paragon and Great Northern have many imitators that try to offer low cost versions of their classic products.  Because imitation popcorn machines are cheaper, you may be tempted to try your luck with one.  But if you’re serious about selling popcorn, you should invest in the real deal.  

Cut-rate popcorn manufacturers produce popcorn machines that break down and fall apart after a few months of use.  Popcorn machines built by Paragon and Great Northern, though, are built to last.  If something goes wrong because of a manufacturing flaw, both Paragon and Great Northern will either fix or replace your popper.   

How to Sell Piles of Popcorn at Events

The beauty of a selling popcorn is that you don’t have to do much selling at all.  Popcorn makes noise as it cooks.  It also smells great.  Plus, it’s relatively cheap compared to other snack foods that are commonly sold at events.

Here are a few ways to move more product if you plan on selling popped corn:

  • Location.  To take advantage of popcorn’s natural ability to draw a crowd, pay extra to secure a great location.  If you station yourself in the middle of a high traffic area, you’re going to make lots of sales.
  • Keep on popping.  So many popcorn vendors make the mistake of allowing their popcorn to get stale and cold.  Remember: it’s the smell of freshly popped corn that lures them in.  That’s why it’s important to keep on popping, even when you aren’t so busy.
  • Signage.  You need a large sign to let the people know that your popcorn is for sale.  If you don’t have a sign, they may look but they won’t buy.  Invest in a large, good looking sign that can be seen from far away.  
  • Lighting.  Popcorn machines with built-in lights are a bit more expensive, but we recommend that you make the investment if you plan on working in low light conditions.  
  • Cleanliness.  Buttered popcorn is that butter is naturally greasy and oily– so always wipe down your machine when you get the chance.  Keep all your surfaces free of fingerprints and grime.

The Best Paragon Popcorn Maker: the 1911 Original Popcorn Machine

Whether you’re looking for an indoor movie style popcorn machine or a popcorn machine you can take with you to events, the 1911 Original Popcorn Machine by Paragon is an excellent choice.  We love its classic  “popcorn machine on wheels” look.   The convenient bicycle style travel wheels on the side make it perfect for street use, but its retro design also looks right at home inside as well.  

Paragon offers a nearly identical “grown up” black-and-white version of this model called the Contempto, but it’s just not as fun.  If you want to sell lots of popcorn, it’s better to go with a colorful popcorn machine that attracts the eye.

What We Love:paragon medium red cart

  • The bright colors.  Bright colors attract the eye– that’s why red cars tend to get pulled over for speeding more often compared to dark colored cars.  This popper’s loud color scheme is sure to attract a crowd.  
  • Pure popping power.  If you intend on serving large crowds, this is the popper you need.  Even the basic version of this popper is stronger than our favorite Great Northern commercial popcorn popper, the Roosevelt Popper.  
  • Great signage and illumination.  The 50-watt internal lamp shines directly down on the popped corn, plus it illuminates the signage printed on the side of the glass.
  • Metal construction.  The parts are made from aluminum and powder-coated stainless steel.  

What Could Be Improved:

  • Lighten the load.  This popper is built out of solid metal– so, it’s a bit heavy.  The smallest version of this popping machine weighs 40 pounds.  With the cart, it’s even heavier.  Maybe there is some way to create a lighter version of this machine without sacrificing quality or durability.

The Best Great Northern Popcorn Maker: the Roosevelt Popper

This popcorn popper from Great Northern isn’t quite as powerful as our favorite Paragon popper, but it has the same classic design–  and a number of useful features that its competition lacks.  The built-in control switches allow you to reduce your power consumption when business is slow.  

We also like that this popper comes with a number of accessories.  With Paragon’s 1911 Original Popcorn Machine, all you get is the device itself.

What We Love:great northern

  • More control. The Roosevelt Popper’s control switches allow you to save energy during slow spells and launch into turbo mode when you need lots of popcorn, fast.
  • The included accessories.  Great Northern’s Roosevelt Popper comes with a popcorn scoop, a hand lift and a push rail.  
  • The price.  This machine is a bit cheaper than the Paragon 1911 Original Popcorn Machine, but it’s just as sturdy.

What Could Be Improved:

  • Improve the signage.  We like this popcorn machine’s bright color scheme.  Also, the built-in warmer light does a good job of keeping the popcorn warm while also luring potential buyers closer.  However, Paragon’s 1911 Original Popcorn Machine has much better signage.  You may need an additional sign if you intend to use this machine to sell popcorn at fairs and public events.
 
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