People are always on the go, so the more you’re able to provide convenience, the more customers you’re likely to attract. Many businessesout ...
16 Kiosk Business Ideas
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on April 2, 2023
Updated on October 2, 2023
If you’re looking for a great business idea with relatively low startup costs, you might consider kiosks. For one thing, they offer a host of opportunities, from candy and coffee to phone cases, and more. Also, there’s little need to advertise as people are constantly walking past and might just make an impulse buy.
To top it off, rent for a kiosk is nothing next to the cost of renting out a full-sized store. What’s not to love? What indeed – which is why this handy guide lays out 16 fantastic kiosk business ideas that could have you sitting pretty.
1. Coffee Shop
More than 7 out of 10 Americans drink coffee every week, and many of them regularly grab a cup when they’re on the go. If you start a coffee kiosk business, you can have some fun, share some great java, and make a good living. You’ll probably need to invest about $10,000 in your kiosk and equipment, but think about all those caffeine-hungry impulse buyers. If your average cup costs $4, a hundred sales a day would be pretty sweet!
2. Mobile Phone Accessories
Some 6.5 billion of the world’s 8 billion people, or 80 percent of humanity, use mobile phones. That number is growing steadily, along with the average cost of a phone. As a result, the smartphone accessories market, which is led by protective cases, is ripe with opportunity. Eye-catching phone cases are a common impulse buy, which is perfect for a mall kiosk. You could even make your own phone cases by purchasing a phone case-making kit, which would improve your profit margins.
Crafting is very popular, and full of possibilities. You might be into making candles, jewelry, or pottery, or doing a bit of woodworking, knitting, sewing, or painting. If you do crafts for fun and you’re good at it, why not make it a kiosk business? The market for crafts is huge, evidenced by the meteoric rise of Etsy, which doubled its revenue in 2020 to more than $1.7 billion. If you make appealing, quality crafts, your kiosk could be very successful, particularly during the holiday season.
Makeup is a confidence booster used by nearly 40% of Americans daily. Cosmetics stores like Ulta have taken off in the last several years in a market that’s worth more than $80 billion globally. In such a large market, there is room for a cosmetics kiosk to build a presence. While makeup can be purchased online, many people like to see the products in person and try them out, so cosmetic kiosks do not have to lose out on the massive e-commerce market.
Shopping is exhausting and can take a toll on the back, but a 10-minute massage can be the cure. If you’re a massage therapist or want to learn to be one, you’ll just need a massage chair to set up in the mall. A 10-minute massage costs about $20, and you might find people willing to wait in line for your services, which means that you can bring in a healthy amount of cash every day. Your best bet is to get a massage therapist certificate, probably for around $5,000, then start bringing in a healthy return.
Jewelry is a great impulse-buy item to sell at a kiosk since it attracts the eye. It also comes with a world of business possibilities, from pieces that you make yourself to fine jewelry and funky vintage pieces. You could even design pieces and have them manufactured under your own brand name. Opening a jewelry store is an expensive proposition, so a kiosk is a fantastic, low-cost alternative. Jewelry is also always “in season” so you could bring in good money year-round.
People are more health conscious these days, but many don’t have the time to learn about the best vitamins and supplements. That’s where you and your kiosk come in, offering passersby all the best vitamins and supplements to boost their health and wellness. If you’re not an expert, you could just take a few online courses and learn enough to help people. Also, since vitamins are a relatively low-cost impulse buy, you should be able to generate a lot of sales.
8. Face Painting
If you have some artistic skills and are good with children, a face-painting kiosk could be a winner. Your costs would be very low, and kids will be begging their parents to stop for a few minutes to let them get colorful. You can charge about $20 per face, so you could make quite a bit of money just on the weekends, which is when kids are out and about with their parents anyway. You’ll also be having fun and making children happy!
9. Skin Care
Specialty skin care products could do very well at a kiosk, but you’ll have to be a good salesperson. Many people have skin care products they already use regularly, so you’ll need to convince them of the benefits of your products. Specialty skin care products are higher ticket items, so you could rack up some nice profits if you’re able to build a brand. Skin care products are a nearly $200 billion industry, so you should have no shortage of interest.
10. Hot Dogs
Shoppers get hungry, but a lot of them want to keep moving and not miss out on the best deals. The answer is a delicious hot dog, served up by your kiosk and topped by whatever goodies they want. Americans love their hot dogs — they eat 20 billion of them each year! You’ll have to invest in a kiosk, a grill top and a refrigerator, but you’ll soon be making good money.
11. Gift Baskets
Imagine all those exhausted shoppers who’ve been searching for the perfect birthday or holiday gift. Then they see your attractive gift baskets, and eureka! The perfect gift all wrapped up and ready to go. You could make gift baskets with snacks and wine, local jams and jellies, soaps and lotions, or something new! Get creative and come up with a variety of baskets.
Candles add ambience to any room and are a popular gift choice for any occasion. Candles are also easy to make, and the equipment required to do so is inexpensive. You can get creative and make some eye-catching candles that will draw in passers-by who are shopping for a gift, or who just want to add to their own home décor. You could also invest in an inventory of candleholders to increase your sales.
13. Gift Wrapping
Do you love shopping for gifts just so you can wrap them creatively? Most people don’t! That’s why the gift packaging market is projected to grow 40% over the next decade. Gift wrapping is a skill and an art, and if you have a knack for it, you could start a gift-wrapping kiosk and help all shoppers not looking forward to the wrapping part.
Who doesn’t love candy? Chocolates, fruit-flavored candies, candy bars, and more are enjoyed by people of all ages. They’re also a great impulse buy. Hungry shoppers and their children stop to feed their sweet tooth all day long. If you’re skilled in the kitchen, you could even make your own candy, which would give you a fantastic margin on every sale.
Imagine all the bedraggled men trudging through the mall trying to find the perfect gift for their significant other. Then, they see your kiosk and feel a sudden relief – perfume, of course! You could even make your own perfume at home, design some sharp packaging, and build your own brand. The $30 billion global perfume industry is growing fast — projected to expand more than 40% by 2028, so if you’re able to come up with an appealing fragrance or two, the possibilities are endless.
Did you know Americans eat 15 billion quarts of popcorn a year? Popcorn is also popular around the globe, and as bold flavors like chocolate, jalapeno, and peanut butter gain ground, the industry is set to nearly double by 2031. You can go a few ways with a popcorn kiosk. You could invest in a popcorn machine and sell bags of good old-fashioned buttered popcorn, or you could make gourmet popcorn at home, package them, and stock your kiosk.
16 Kiosk Business Ideas
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
and gain insider access to cutting-edge business insights and trends.
10 Drive Thru Business Ideas
Published on August 11, 2022
16 Street Food Business Ideas
Published on July 28, 2022
Hot dogs, pizza, snow cones and bubble tea are among Americans’ favorite street foods, which are quicker and more affordable than restaurantfo ...
How to Start a Small Business
Published on January 15, 2022
Owning a successful business is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your life. It’s empowering and liberating, and allows you toprodu ...