Setting up a lemonade stand is a classic, kid-friendly activity that doesn’t require a lot of money. It also happens to provide great lessons in math and business, not to mention basic people skills like looking adults in the eyes and saying a heartfelt “thank you.” If your kids want have one, here are 10 steps to setting up a successful lemonade stand this summer
1. Location, location, location. Deciding where to set-up your lemonade stand is the first step in running a successful snack station. Should it be at the end of your driveway? On the street corner? In a park? Where are you likely to see the most foot traffic?
2. If you build it, they will come. Once you know where you’re going to set up, building a lemonade stand is half the fun of having one. To get started, use pieces of cardboard or rolls of paper to paint signage for the stand. You’ll need something to hang on the front of the table that’s ideally large and colourful enough to be seen by neighbours and other people passing by. Gather all the supplies you’ll need, like the lemonade, cups, straws, snacks, napkins, and a box or basket for change. You might also want to consider a tablecloth or some sort of fabric to cover the table and even a vase of flowers for decoration.
3. Don’t forget your price list and other signage. Selling lemonade is a cheerful business, so the signs should be bright and enticing. Also, no food stand is complete without a price list so be sure to paint one of those too, taking care to list all the items for sale (lemonade? fruit? cookies?).
4. Try music to draw attention. Background music not only adds ambiance, it draws attention and (hopefully) a crowd!
5. Suggest the kids come up with a logo. Have them draw and/or paint it on the sides of the paper cups they are using. Alternatively, they can also stamp something cute on the side of the cup using a rubber stamp and ink pad.
6. Get a drink dispenser (for easy pouring!) If possible, use a drink dispenser instead of a pitcher for easy pouring of the lemonade. This will save on spills, make clean up a snap, and allow customers to serve themselves if the line gets too long.
7. The most important part: the lemonade. You can use frozen from concentrate if you like, or make a homemade version using this simple recipe: 1 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 5 lemons) + 2 cups chilled simple syrup (one part sugar + 2 parts water boiled until the sugar is dissolved and then cooled) + 3 cups cold water + ice. Alternatively, you can make our seasonal watermelon lemonade to serve instead. Keep extra lemonade in the fridge (if your stand is at home) or in a cooler (if you’re away from home) in case you run out of the first batch.
8. Give it a boost. Feel free to boost the flavour of your lemonade with fresh herbs, berries, slices of citrus, etc. You can add them to the drink dispenser yourself, or set up small bowls so customers can customize their drink themselves.
9. Sweet treats always help. Buy or bake a batch of cookies to serve with the lemonade. Our whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are a guaranteed to sell out in a flash! You could also consider selling fresh fruit, lollipops or Rice Krispie squares instead.
10. Make sure the price is right. Don’t be afraid to charge a lot for a cup of lemonade. After all, people don’t really stop for because they’re craving a thirst-quenching drink; they stop because your kids are so darn cute! Pricing your drink between $0.50 and $0.75 is perfectly fine, and you can even charge up to $1.00 if the lemonade includes extra stuff like fresh herbs or berries.
Remember this is your kids’ lemonade stand so be sure to let them run the show! However, be present and pay close attention to when it’s time to shut down the shop – usually before the kids are bored, worn out and no longer having fun.
One last thing to note: to keep your lemonade stand experience from turning sour, make sure you investigate whether your neighbourhood requires you to have a permit to sell lemonade. Even if they do, most enforcement officers will turn a blind eye and use discretion, like they do with street hockey, but it’s good to know what’s required, especially if you choose to set up in a public space.