Concessions and Merchandise sales are a major revenue generator for the festival.  It is imperative that patrons are served as quickly and efficiently as possible. While volunteers may have received training, they will likely need refresher training.

At least one volunteer should be stationed to make popcorn and one volunteer assigned to handle the cash register.  Assign others as necessary for sales.

We do not have a “Sponsors get free Concessions” policy.  However, at the discretion of the Venue managers, Sponsors can receive free Concessions at the Venue or Event that they are sponsoring – just their venue and event.

Green Room Managers may take any Concession items for the Green Room.

The “Friends of the Film Festival” drop box must not be left unattended.

Concessions Hand-Washing Rules
Bin Descriptions
Pre-Show Sales
During Show
Popcorn-Making Instructions
End-of-Evening Cleaning
Popcorn Safety
Popcorn Machine Cleaning


Concessions Hand-Washing Rules

  • Wash hands at the start of your shift
  • Wash hands after returning to the concessions area after leaving for any reason
  • If scooping popcorn you MUST wash your hands if you do anything besides scooping popcorn.  This comes directly from the Health Department.  This includes moving from handling money or working the register back to popcorn or other food / drink duties
  • After using the restroom
  • After any cleaning duties
  • Whenever you realize that your hands should be washed

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Procedures – Water

In order for the festival to put less waste in landfills and use more local vendors we will have filtered water in compostable cups at four indoor venues.  The locations included in the project are State Theatre, Old Town Playhouse, City Opera House, and Lars Hockstad Auditoium.

Beverage: The entire container including the cup, lid, and straw are 100% compostable and made from corn.  The 16oz. cups must be kept under 110 degrees at all times and as cool as possible when storing liquids.  Do not use the cups for or near anything hot.  The top diameter of the cup is 98 mm and they are roughly 6″- 7″ tall; they are NOT refillable. Pure Water Works from Traverse City provides the filtered water.

Service:  In order to keep up with the demand for water at our concession stands we will use 5-gallon kegs of water.  You should prefill as many glasses as space allows before and during screenings.  All venues will be equipped with 2 stations, which will each have a very specific function.  According to Health Department regulations, one station is to be designated for refilling ONLY Film Festival bottles with the hologram and the other station is dedicated to the compostable cups.  Each station will be labeled accordingly.  Either pumps or gravity fed devices may be requested.

Waste:  The 5 gallon water kegs are NOT recyclable or trash.  They each have a $7 deposit and will need to be returned to the warehouse in the delivery van.  Volunteers should stack empty containers in a designated area so delivery drivers can remove the empty bottles.  The cups, lids, and straws go into the bins marked “COMPOST” which are at all garbage/recycling stations.  The compost bins can ONLY have the water containers and all food waste.  If a patron has a container or paper product that is clearly marked “100% compostable” it may also go into the compost bin.  Each trash station will include 4 bins – one for trash, 2 different bins for recycling, and one for compost.

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Bin Descriptions


  • Goes into a landfill
  • Includes popcorn boxes, soiled containers and food wrappers


  • Goes to recycling plant
  • Includes plastic, glass, and metal
  • Returnables and non-returnables go here


  • Goes to recycling plant
  • Includes any clean paper such as program guides and counted ballots
  • Candy boxes with no food remains go here


  • Goes to compost pile
  • Includes Film Festival water cups, lids & straws
  • Patrons can also put ALL food waste and used napins in here (may not be publicized)

Be sure to read the section on Recycling later in this manual.

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Pre-Show Sales:

This includes stocking carts with food items for sales to patrons before they enter the theatre.

  • During busy times, use the concessions aprons and tally sheets to track sales
  • Count items going outside
  • Sell items and record sales on tally sheet
  • Count remaining items upon returning to the inside Concessions area
  • Enter tally sheet items and money into the cash register after the show starts
  • Keep the sheets.  They are returned to the main office each day

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During Show

  • Candy / pop / food / water / etc. need to be stocked
  • Popcorn machine should be checked for oil
  • Check popcorn supply
  • Check merchandise table and stock if necessary

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Popcorn Making Instructions

Identify size of machine for your venue and refer to the appropriate instructions located in the Workflows and Instructions Section of this manual.

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End of Evening Cleaning

  • Popcorn remaining at the end of each shift and every evening should be thrown out
  • At end of shift – Wipe machine clean with paper towels
  • Wipe leftover kernels out with paper towels
  • Use hot water and soap to wipe the inside of the kettle out
  • Use hot water and soap to wipe the sides of the popper, inside and out
  • Do not use window cleaner or any other cleaner on the inside or outside of the popper
  • Always use the popcorn scoop to scoop the popcorn from the machine.  Never use your hands to take popcorn out of a popper.  This is a health department requirement

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Popcorn Safety

Most commercial popcorn machines feature three (3) operating controls or buttons.  You will these switches at or near the top front of the popcorn machine (the side with the two plexus-glass doors that pull open).

The first button normally is the heat switch, or sometimes referred to as the kettle heat switch.  This button is your most important button.  Once you activate this button, it allows the kettle to heat up quickly up to 350 to 400 degrees F.  Once you have activated the heat switch, you NEVER want to have an empty popcorn kettle on for more than 15-20 seconds.

The most important thing to remember with this switch is to turn the heat switch to the Off position when your popcorn popping is nearing completion and you are finished making popcorn for the moment.

This action prevents your popcorn from burning and keeps the internal parts of the kettle, called the heating elements and thermostats, from burning out.

The second button normally is the motor button.  This button activates the motor that turns the agitator to keep your popcorn, oil, and salt in constant motion in the kettle so your popcorn does not burn.  Activate the motor button after activating your heat switch.

The third button normally is the heat lamp.  It is the heat lamp bulb in the upper right/left corner in your popcorn machine.  Activate the heat lamp AFTER you activate the kettle heat and motor switch to keep the popped popcorn warm and fresh.

Once the popcorn is done popping gently empty the popcorn from the kettle.  DO NOT bang the kettle or swing the kettle hard to get out that last kernel.  Excessive force will lead to damage of the machine.

The quantity of popcorn and oil you need to add to your popcorn is measured by the size of the kettles.  For 4 oz kettles, use 4 oz. of raw popcorn seed.  For 6 oz kettles, use 6 oz. of raw popcorn seed and so on.

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Popcorn Machine Cleaning

  1. Turn LIGHTS and WARMER OFF (kettle heat and kettle motor should already be off).  Kettle will cool much faster if you turn it upside down.  Use the silver hook to keep kettle in upside down position.  Kettle light can be turned on during cleaning but make sure it is turned off when finished
  2. Scoop out as much popcorn as possible
  3. Use hand held whiskbroom (one specifically for the popcorn popper) or a paper towel to get remaining crumbs out.  Push as many crumbs as possible through the center big holes so that they fall into the crumb tray
  4. Empty crumb tray
  5. Wipe kettle out with dry towel to get crumbs and anything else out
  6. Use hot soap and water to wash out the kettle. Be careful, kettle is HOT
  7. Clean all parts with hot soap and water, or use the wash, sanitize, and rinse 3-step sink system
  8. Let parts air dry or wipe with a clean cloth
  9. Use hot water and soap to wipe Plexiglas windows inside and out.  NEVER, EVER use glass cleaner to wipe Plexiglas.  It will turn dull and streak and be ruined forever
  10. Carefully put parts back into popper
  11. Make sure all 4 buttons are turned off – kettle lights, warmer, heat and motor

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