How to start a kiosk business

In Austria, Switzerland, and Germany there are over 25.000 kiosks. This number shows the high popularity of such businesses, but also the enormous competition in this industry. On this page, you’ll find a break down of all steps you need to do to open your kiosk. Follow our tips and advice to stand out in this industry and a successful business owner.

About Kiosks: Definition, Types, Pros & Cons

1. Getting in touch with the word “kiosk”

How to start a kiosk

1.1 Defining a kiosk

A kiosk is a practical local supplier in a high-traffic area. Some of them are in big shopping streets and malls, some others in smaller neighborhoods. They aim to provide the people of a specific neighborhood or area with goods that satisfy basic needs. Kiosks are usually manned by a maximum of two workers who sell products and even offer certain services.

Kiosks are small and involve low startup costs, therefore, they require a low-cost marketing strategy. Entrepreneurs can kick off a business without having to sacrifice a huge sum of money.

The main success story of kiosks is their high social values. They offer the possibility for customers to get in touch with the workers and ask questions about their products. So, it has a high informative value too. That’s why nowadays there even are digital kiosks such as a large display in a mall, which tells you where specific stores are. But on this page, we’ll focus on the classic type of kiosks with real human interactions.

food kiosk

1.2 Knowing the types of kiosks

The type of kiosk very much depends on where it is located. For example, an entrepreneur who is selling newspapers might open a kiosk nearby a grocery store to gain new customers. Some types of kiosks are:

  • Newspaper kiosk: This type of kiosk is the classic and most common one. It offers customers an enormous selection of newspaper and magazines. Also, in newspaper kiosks, you can purchase tickets for public transport, tobacco, lottery tickets, and many more things.
  • Employment kiosk: In these kiosks, job seekers can look and apply for jobs. These types are very common in big chain stores and provide a quick and easy way for a job application. Employees can even do job interviews on the spot.
  • Foodservice kiosk: These kiosks offer an interactive and customized food selection for quick and uncomplicated orders. They are often found nearby a restaurant or big supermarkets.
  • Healthcare kiosk: They offer some basic medical services such as taking blood pressure, paying bills, checking in for appointments, and keeping records. Of course, they are located nearby or in a doctor’s praxis.
  • Bitcoin kiosk: Customers can purchase bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
Types of kiosks

1.3 Evaluating the industry

Just like any other thing in life, having a kiosk comes with its pros and cons. You need to know all the aspects of the industry to be able to deal with them.

Advantages of a kiosk

  • It improves the customer’s shopping experience, as it is easily accessible and the employees there are well informed and ready to interact with and help people.
  • Because of their small size, kiosks can be strategically opened at places with a lot of traffic. This increases the customer base.
  • The size and the small number of workers reduce the rental and business costs and therefore increase the income. This extra money can be invested into growing the business.
  • Kiosks can be easily used to promote a brand, whether it is your brand or from a business partner. This is a great way to work together with a business, attract their customers, and have another income source.

Disadvantages of owning a kiosk (and how you can outgo them)

  • As already mentioned, many kiosks are turning into machines and human workers are being replaced. However, just as there are people who prefer talking to a computer, there are many people who want to talk to humans. So, make sure that you offer both services, a machine, and a human worker, to satisfy both types of customers.
  • Adding to the first point, a machine increases crimes such as shoplifting and vandalism. If you decide to waive human workers, you must invest in a good security system.
  • Kiosks require good maintenance and must always be up to date. Otherwise, you will get beaten by the competition and the customers will be left with a bad user experience.
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Business planning & Location

3. Working on the details and opening the kiosk

Kiosk business plan

3.1 Establishing a good business plan

By now, you should already have a concept and a business idea in mind. Now it is about time to work on all the details of this concept to complete the big picture. At this point, you should start writing a business plan. Not only does it help you work on the details, but it also eases up the process of implementation. It also helps you get loans and attract business partners. A business plan is also dynamic and can be changed further on so you can adapt your kiosk to your customer’s needs and get ideas for the future. Lastly, it gives you a certain idea and a forecast for the future of your business.

In short, the most important elements of the business plan are:

  • The idea: Start by bringing your idea into paper. Also, define all your goals so that you have them right in front of you and bring them into awareness every time you open the document or read the business plan.
  • The foundation: Basically, this chapter aims to talk about yourself as the leader of your business. If you are not planning to lead it, then you should introduce its leader and talk about his visions, ideas, and qualifications.
  • The details: This chapter gives additional information on your idea. It should explain the concept in all its aspects. Write about what services you want to offer. A person who reads this chapter should know exactly what is on your mind and how you want to reach your goals.
  • The target group: Depending on the type and location of the kiosk, you will deal with a different target group. In this chapter, you should describe them, why they are your target, and how you want to attract them. Also, do not forget about their demographics.
  • The marketing strategy: Here you should lay out a plan of how you want to bring customers to your kiosk and gain the attention of your target group. This part is very important because the success of a business is measured by the customers they attract, so do not neglect this point.
  • The finance plan: This chapter lists out all the costs you need to open your kiosk, including all the gadgets and products you need. Also, it defines the cost of your products and services. This point is of utter importance for external financing because here you calculate how much the costs are to get the business started.
  • The rights: Here you should explain and attach all your rights, licenses, permits, and legal papers. Also, explain the legal form you decided on and why you chose it.

Learn how to write a gastronomy business plan


3.2 Choosing a location

The ideal location of your kiosk depends on the type and concept as well as the target group and some important demographic factors. It should be:

  • easy to reach and visible to the human eye,
  • located in high-traffic areas of the city,
  • in a place where a big number of your target group’s customers can be met,
  • in a place where the number of competitors is as low as possible.

Especially the last point is important. If you do not have any other choice than to open a kiosk at a place with many competitors, make sure that you have a unique idea and stand out.  

Kiosk Opening Hours

4. Opening hours for the kiosk

4.1 Going shopping

After working out all the points above, it is finally time to finish what you started. Make a more detailed list of all the machines, goods, and products you need for your kiosk, and go purchase all the items. Now you can start putting up all the products and prepare your store for the opening.


4.2 Marketing the business

The opening period is the hardest and most intense period. The goal here is to attract customers and build up a large customer base. You should have already worked on a marketing strategy in the business plan. Now you should implement this strategy. To gain people’s attention in the beginning you can hand out flyers or hang out banners with special opening offers on them. After that, you can sell your products at their normal price and start making profits out of this journey.
To Sum Up

5. Summary – opening a kiosk

Opening your own kiosk

In summary, planning is the key to running a kiosk.

Think carefully in advance about the competition and the best location. The location plays an important role when opening a kiosk, as the target group is usually walk-in customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

6. FAQ - How to open a kiosk

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