IT FEELS LIKE EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT
vegetarian or vegan foods and sometimes that can throw us off track. One vendor calls in about going with a vegetarian menu on his new cart and we offer some sound advice. A vegetarian hot dog cart has been done and it’s being done as I type, but it’s not for everyone. Listen or watch the show and find out if it can work big for you.
Hot Dog Vendor Needs A New Location
Hot dog vendors call in every week with questions or tips and advice to share. This week we had a great mix of hot dog vendor callers.
From The Great Thunderdog
What to do? What to do? What to do?
Ever found yourself asking that question? Sometimes when we start out with a dream, in this case, Hot Dog Vendor, you discover many twists and turns in the road that you had no idea you would encounter. Rules you never knew existed, regulations that make your head spin, and there is the daunting of the Health Department…or “haunting” might be a better word. But let’s say you made it thru all of that ( if you haven’t you will, just DON’T QUIT). You have been out slinging for a while and actually have your feet on the ground. Hotdoggin is good and you are having success, but you want to do more. This is about what your Hot Dog Cart has the potential to do…
Sometimes depending on the area you live in, it may be necessary to combine several just to make it past the break-even point. This requires creativity and thinking out side the box. We get so caught up in getting the hot dogs off the ground that doing anything ‘different’ would be well, just wrong. It is okay to get out side your comfort zone. I am not suggesting that you leave the one that brought you to the dance. But after you have ‘enhanced’ your cart, your condiments, your shirt, shoes and everything else in site…let’s look at a couple of other possibilities that you can do WITH your Hot Dog Cart..It might even expand your ‘location’ possibilities.
Your Hot Dog Cart is a ‘steam table’. Restaurants use these all the time, especially if they have a buffet. Keeping that in mind, all kinds of things open up to you. I want to explore 2 that I have used successfully.
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It might be hard to do these along with hot dogs, so this first suggestion, I do as one of the things I cater. I also pick a day and maybe a different spot on the street and offer a BBQ menu on say, Thursday or Saturday.. You will be the best judge of that..
This is not hard if you have a Commisary to prepare your food in. Or even better, find a successful BBQ place near you and make a deal to select some of his menu items to serve at a remote location, a la carte… Advertise his name on your cart as a mobile site away from his location. It is a win win for both of you. He may want a small premium over his cost for preparing it but that is certainly fair considering that you don’t have to.
Sliced brisket/sausage/rib plate
Chopped brisket sandwich
Sausage on a stick or wrapped in a flour tortilla
Beans & Potato salad for the plates.
Condiments should be something you already have. Pickles onion etc.
You will have to get something to serve it in that you don’t currently use, but that should be all you have to do different to accommodate this.
DO NOT be afraid to ask $6-8 for a plate or $4-5 for a sandwich.
Suggestion 1a: ( this is just a single item enhancement, not like the above)
I have added a Bison (buffalo) burger to my menu. Serve it on an onion roll, with all my usual
Condiments. I use my Commisary to mesquite smoke what I want to sell on any given day, put it in the fridge (cooler) if you are going out that same day. ( usually only take enough for one day and do it one day a week. When you put your sign up, make sure to add ” while they last” . I have them in ziplocks and put a few on the steam table to warm up ( they stay really moist) then when they order , just like the dogs, I flip em on the griddle and let em sizzle while I ask if they want mustard or mayo….
There you’ve just added an item that will sell for $7-9. Probably not many places in your town that serve bison burgers. Guess where customers will come? Then, when the word gets out that you have bison, well, you can finish this story……
Search around your area for a special sausage link ( you may have to order it shipped in) it’s best if it outsizes your bun. Create special condiments for it and you’ve added another gourmet item with ease to your menu. I get $7 for my crawfish sausage dog…( I make a special relish for this) again only take enough to sell out of each time till you figure out the magic number.
Most sausages are pre cooked. That makes it easy.
If you only sell 10 a day, that’s $70-90 additional for that day…
I should mention here that I have one of Bens Big Dogs with the grill/griddle, and use a roll top to steam my buns.
Suggestion 2: Breakfast….specifically breakfast TACOs !
These are served on a flour tortilla.
I use liquid eggs for the base ingredient. You can do a bunch ahead of time (right before you serve) and just put them in one of your steam pans ( how many times have you gone thru a breakfast buffet line and seen your scramble eggs served this way) I use the griddle portion of my grill to prepare these…or if you have an open flame, just use a skillet.
Warm tortillas in the steam table just like buns or briefly flip it on the griddle
Ham, egg and cheese
Bean and cheese ( heat up a can of refried beans)
Bacon egg and cheese
Beef or chicken fajita tacos
Wrap each one in foil and serve.
Hot sauce red and green
Offer a variety of bottle,Tabascos
ALWAYS be generous with your condiments. Your customer should be telling you “wow, that’s a lot of food”
Again, you can be as creative as you want..
I get $2 for all except the beef and chicken fajita tacos, those are $3
Your location avenues will broaden. If your current hot dog location doesn’t feel right for this, you can easily find another one for Breakfast tacos. Be sure to have something in writing that your customers can see to know where/what/when you are serving. You might also want to consider using twitter and create a following.
This can be successful if you live in an area where there is a group of office buildings or high rise offices, factories or groups of people going to work in the morning…. just get permission to serve them as they arrive to work. Serve coffee, juice, hot chocolate.. In fact if you have access to electricity or you have a battery/inverter on your cart, Get a Koerig coffee maker and the selection of coffee, tea and hot chocolate is endless. With NO WASTE!
Serve it in a 12 oz cup w/lid and get $2 for a cup of JO…each coffee pod is about .45 cents, but the quality and variety is superior and your customers are paying $4+ for coffee at that Starbucks place, so $2 is a bargain. ( I am writing this as I sit in a Starbucks 🙂
Understand that using k cups is not for everyone. Volume will have to be taken into consideration when making this decision. Offering a variety will add perceived value to the overall picture you are presenting to the public. The more perceived value you can present, the higher price your customer will pay.
We are street vendors, not street thinkers.
Wishing you great success
Cory Lawrence Over At O’Doggy’s Added To His Fleet
Cory has just added a Chill Trike, it’s the Chill Mobile and its self powered, solar powered and people powered. He got it from over at www.IceCreamBike.biz and shared with us some of the latest news on it’s outings. Cory has a concession stand, a hot dog cart and now the Chill Mobile. Congratulations Cory!