One great way to make a profit during your farm’s agritourism event is by prioritizing your food and beverage offerings. Mike Holtzman, the founder of the Holtzman Group: Hospitality Experts/Profitable Food Facilities Worldwide, is well-known in the food and beverage industry. He hosted a session at the NAFDMA Convention in February about improvements to make at your agritourism event. (NAFDMA is the International Agritourism Association.)

One thing to keep in mind is quality over quantity. When it comes to menus, “if you have more than 10 options, you have five too many,” Holtzman said. The simpler you keep it, the more efficient you’ll be at those items.

Some menu items that are often successful are combo meals, funnel cakes, soft serve ice cream and hot chocolate. Overall, protein is the number one food category that makes money, such as burgers and chicken tenders. Holtzman said some menu items to avoid are bottled drinks and hot dogs. Customers are more likely to know how much they pay for a bottled soda at the gas station than what they pay for a fountain drink at a fast food restaurant. Additionally, hot dogs are significantly cheaper than other food on your menu, so “four out of five people are going to buy the hot dog” over everything else.

Make sure to assess your current operation. How long does it take for your customer to go from entering the line to leaving with their food? How much does your average customer spend on food? How much do you spend on the food you’re purchasing for sale? Holtzman was able to breakdown nine steps to better manage your food and beverage operation:

1. Cost out every single item.

2. Create documented training programs. Have a list of open and close chores for your staff to follow.

3. Make your menu profitable. Hot dogs aren’t where you’ll make your money.

4. Calculate the average spend per transaction.

5. Calculate the average spend per individual.

6. Create an invoice log, order guides, prep sheets and a thaw list.

7. Bid products every season. Check with multiple vendors and companies at the start of each season to see who you should purchase from.

8. Serve the right products.

9. If possible, serve as the customer orders. This makes it a more seamless process, instead of them ordering and standing in another area waiting for their order to be called.

Mike Holtzman, the founder of the Holtzman Group, also known as Profitable Food Facilities Worldwide, speaking on how to make food and beverage successful at your agritourism operation. Photo by Kelsi Devolve

When planning for your 2024 agritourism events, make sure to compile a list of needs, figure out your budget and determine your goals for the season’s food and beverage operations.

Reevaluate your 2023 statistics for each individual food and beverage location on your operation:

• Revenue: How much did you make from customers buying your food?

• Food cost: How much did you spend purchasing food to sell?

• Labor cost: Did you over-staff an area or under-staff another?

• Per capita: How much did the average customer spend at that location?

• Menu mix: What products did or didn’t sell successfully?

• Inventory: What products are left over? Keep that in mind when placing your new orders.

• Line length: Was it long? Why was it long? When was it long? How can you fix it?

At the end of the day, minor changes make major improvements, so pay attention to every detail. Your food and beverage operations should be bringing in money and creating joy for your visitors, not losing money and causing stress.

For more information on Holtzman’s services and advice, visit

by Kelsi Devolve