Early concession stands

Written by Phineas Upham

Concession stands have been around since the days of ancient Rome. Food carts even longer. This practice is almost exclusively related to large events, but these temporary carts have been around and providing a quick snack to humans for quite some time.

Roman Colosseum

The games at the Colosseum were grand spectacles that attracted thousands of people. The stadium was built mostly for a chariot race, but it also added a theater section in due time. Visitors were encouraged to bring their own comforts, including a cushion to sit upon and wine to drink. This is likely the origin of early concession stands, where patrons simply traded or paid for snacks during the game. After all, only the emperor could take a trip home for food or wine because he would not lose his seat.

Baseball Games

It was not entirely uncommon for young boys to walk amongst large crowds at events of any kind, and try to sell people peanuts or some other snack food. Peanuts were most common, popcorn was also included. This practice, at some point, became associated with the baseball stadium. Foods would vary by region, but often included standard American fare like sandwiches and hot dogs.

Boxing Ring

The inside of a boxing ring was sweltering hot, but fans knew they could quench their thirst on bottles of beer and mineral water. Although there was some difficulty in selling hot dogs during these original boxing fights. In one case of a vendor in New Jersey, fire fighters prevented him from cooking hot dogs for fear that he might burn the entire arena to the ground.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

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