Have you ever wondered how to figure out what to charge when doing a private party or catering job? In this Hot Dog Answer Man video we answer that question for all hot dog vendors. Grab your calculators and get ready. Hot Dog cart catering can be tricky. What do you do if you are asked:
- Our dealership is having a customer appreciation sale on Saturday, how much would you charge me?
- We are planning a grand opening at our new furniture gallery, how much if you come for 3 days next weekend?
- We are having big auction next month and need a vendor to provide food for the guests?
- We would love to have a vendor at our next open house in the new subdivision, how much do you charge?
Inevitably you are going to get pitched. Someone will start with something like this. Hey, you have a nice cart, one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. I’d get a hot dog but I just ate lunch. You know I have a so and so business across town and we are doing a so and so and boy you talking about making a killing, you could rake it in. (yea, probably retire off your one job huh) Yes sir, you could really make a killing, we are expecting 40 million people and would love to invite you. You’re excited right? Don’t be! If they must lay a pitch down that thick, you better grab your boots. I would say, well thank you for the nice compliments on the cart, so is this the first year you’ve done this so and so down at so and so? No, well what vendors did you have last year? (This is where they will usually bad mouth the other vendors) Well they didn’t do good, they were nasty, prices to high, had the wrong color blue jeans on or some other nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong
Some of these could be good deals, but do your due diligence first. See if you can find out who was there last time, if there was a last time. If not explain let them know that you usually charge a flat rate of $300 but will reduce that to $200 as soon as sales reach $300 or more they will owe you nothing.
Now some may even try the ole’ we’re gonna get you to work for free at your risk and expense. Don’t let them. They may say, well we will pay you your $5.00 a meal price, but only for the ones you give out, we don’t know how many people will want hot dogs (this means, we don’t know how many people will show up). So they want you to show up with enough to handle the crowds, but if it rains or if their ad they ran in the Thrifty Nickel paper for free doesn’t bring in customers, they don’t want to pay your minimum fee. So make sure you aren’t taking the risk. Why?
In case you’ve forgotten, you are the one that worked and saved to get your cart, you are the one who called 50 phone numbers to find out what licenses you’d need. Your the one that filled out the paperwork, paid the fees, got the inspections, found a commissary, got the insurance, looked up the codes, double checked the codes, found the suppliers, found the accessories, did the taste tests, took food safety, passed food safety, learned and studied all you could, ran all over town for deals on drinks and cleaned the damn chili pans. You! You did it. That’s worth a lot! You’ve already taken all the risks you can stand, why take any more unless you have to? I’ve been down this road, I’ve wanted a good gig so bad that I took the bait when the first pitch came along. Yes, some will turn out ok, but I sure like guarantees much better.
Do a good job, be a Jason or Rob, be a Hot Dog Mike or Brian Shores, be a Pocono or Biker Jim, be professional and they will beg you to come back. I know you can and I’ve got your back. You can ask Derril, Kevin, Cory, Darren, Larry, Julie, Lisa, Kari and many other professional vendors and they’ll confirm it. Always be the best you can be. Much love from the hot dog answer man.