Concession Trailers as Tiny Houses

On a fall trip to Oregon, I saw what looked like a tiny brown house parked in a truck and trailer rental lot in Klamath Falls. The owner told me that it was a summer concession trailer built specifically for serving coffee and sweets. It is 8×15 and about 3,500 lbs. and looked so much like a tiny house that I was wondering if other concession stands could also be turned into a small house on wheels.

Concession trailers are created specifically for serving food or beverages on the road or in parking areas. They range from mobile food trucks to trailers towed by larger vehicles. The design of concession trailers will sometimes reflect what they sell and will be decorated with a tropical theme for Thai food or a classic 50’s theme for hot dogs and corn dogs. Most concession trailers are equipped with industrial and public food-grade equipment or sometimes they are stripped so you can install your own equipment. Many of them already contain the necessary plumbing for water, propane and electricity. Concession trailers can range in price from about $40,000 to about $6,000.

I was curious if there are any building experts out there who have refurbished a concession trailer and have turned it into a tiny house? Has anyone worked in or owned a concession trailer? Do you have any ideas about how they can be converted into tiny houses?





Photos courtesy of, and Ebay.


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]


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alice h - December 31, 2012 Reply

I’d love to turn the pretzel wagon into a tiny house but the first thing to go would be the name! The cookie trolley looks interesting too. I suppose you could get a decent price for selling off any cooking equipment but there would likely be a lot of cleaning to do. Fast food kitchens get pretty greasy.

breid - December 31, 2012 Reply

i have done the plumbing and wiring on several. in other words i don’t remember how many. lol. smell. lots of it. insulation. huh. none. at least on ours. generally they are used up. worn out. walls industrial so that they can be power washed with a steam jenny to clean. i also made repairs to them. changed out appliances. they will be very similar to a used restaurant kitchen. me i would gut interior. mask off windows/doors and spray several coats of clear primer/sealer with an airless. THEN finish. ask away. billy

Eddie - December 31, 2012 Reply

An interesting idea might be to disguise a tiny house AS a concession trailer. Consider the “vegan jerky” trailer. Imagine what it looks like with the shutters covering the windows. Now, imagine that the side with the sign, menu, shutters, etc., was actually a fold-down deck which hides a row of french windows opening into the living area. The industrial chimney on the roof would be fake (secret storage compartment?), as would the shutters on the porch side. This might not add too much expense to the house, as a concession trailer is expected to have a plain, burglar-proof appearance, and could be cheaper overall than faux Craftsman features, wood siding and other frills. This frees the builder to focus on the quality of life in the interior rather than making yet another photo-op for twee tiny house blogs.

Tiny Houses Hankerings - December 31, 2012 Reply

What a great idea! I love that trolley cookie one, cute tiny windows in the top too. I wonder what it would look like from the inside.

Joe3 - January 1, 2013 Reply

Interesting thoughts, I like the Pretsel traile and, and the Cookie trolley(but not those colors!) what if you built a small home and used the concession trailer theme on the outside? I think it’d be pretty cool looking …

John Woods - January 1, 2013 Reply

There is a listing for a moveable kitchen building on Craigslist with nice photos if anyone wants to try it out.

However, in this case, it seems to make more sense to keep it for its current use. It looks like an amazingly efficient tiny commercial kitchen space.

Abel Zyl Zimmerman - January 1, 2013 Reply

Well, from the ones I have been around: If they are made to code for a food trailer, they are likely built pretty strangely for houses. No insulation (maybe the roof for hot climates). Alot of fireproof and/or washable materials: pvc, sheet metal, FRP sheet.

It might be easier to build out a cargo trailer, at least then you get to start with a clean slate…

The tiny houses I have seen (and build) are vastly different critters. Much more cozy… Though, to be fair, I like the idea of living in a “Pretzel Palace” or “Stir Fry Shack” or “Weiner Wagon”.

Em - January 1, 2013 Reply

I love the pretzel wagon … and nice catch about the tiny windows in the trolley THH.

But Billy’s comments definitely are a deterent. Smell? Yeah, I bet they do smell like a kitchen (and I’ve worked in plenty) and the grease factor and no insulation.

It does get you thinking about different shapes, though, which is nice.

Great post.

stpauligirl - January 1, 2013 Reply

What an interesting idea. I looked on my local craigslist, just to get an idea of what they were selling for. The three I saw listed were 15-25k. Not bad prices, but assuming you put another 5-10k to make it a home (insulation, building out the walls, changing out windows…), I’m not sure it would be cost effective, for me.

Still, living in a former pretzel wagon does have a certain cache. I like the idea.

breid - January 2, 2013 Reply

google “new concession trailers”. price new one that unfinished. have it constructed to you specs. fwiw cookie trolley is on ebay for 21k. at 570 units to many to peruse. click on “completed listings”. then “concession trailers” red did not sell. most are red. lol. get a new email account and send them an email while listing is valid. ask them to email you when unit does not sell. make an offer that YOU REALLY, REALLY LIKE. they can reject your offer. lot of these folks are real proud of their stuff. also, they are upside down. nothing has to be wrong with the units, some folks are just not very good business people. have fun. billy

Kaelan - February 3, 2013 Reply

With the street food boom, this idea makes no sense at all – these mobile vending stands are worth a small fortune right now, if you bought one to turn it into a tiny home you would be completely upsidedown. We should be asking, which tiny home designs can we turn into concession stands??? - September 30, 2014 Reply

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