For those whom have caught the bug of becoming a hot dog vendor – you know that unquenchable thirst to get up and running quickly. Often there seems no time to do all the due-diligence required, for we want immediate gratification. Get up and running and start making money. BUT then there are those whom may not have the money to buy a new cart and they can not find a used one –
OR they simply have more patience and skills and decide to build a cart for no other reason than they can. For some the thought of building something like a hot dog cart is overwhelming. For me, it was. I am handy when it comes to changing a light bulb but dare a faucet on the tub start dripping and I must enlist the help of a family member or friend. I am not Mr. Fix-it. Hence why when deciding to build hot dog carts for others, I enlisted the help of my friend Keith, “the brains behind the cart”.
Well I said all that to introduce you to Mr. Ambition: Bradley Jacobs! Five years prior had started a shaved ice vending business and noticed the money the food vendors took in. They researched different items and landed on – hot dogs! With a construction course found online and the skills of an artist, carpenter and handy man this “Jack of all Trades”, built his first cart.
Holy Cow is right! Impressive. Well it gets better. Bradley didn't stop there, he built two, then 3 and that is when I became awe struck. This third cart was a massive undertaking…
“The catalyst for building this cart was that we had no easy way to sell both hot dogs and shaved ice at an event. If we left either the shaved ice or the hot dogs at home, we were missing out on a great deal of profit potential.”
Sounds easy enough huh? Well read on…
So my wife and I set out to design a cart that we could do both on, and still keep up with the demands of a large event. It took us around 100 hours of design time, rearranging, discussing and agonizing over where everything had to fit. This is what we came up with.
A few specs on this cart:
- 4ft x 8ft
- Removable Tongue with casters to roll under the cart when in use.
- 4 Sinks (gets me around the commissary requirement in my state, and a lifesaver for the shaved ice.
- Hot and cold running water. 16 gallon fresh water, and 21 gallon waste.
- Pump on waste water, so I don't have to wait so long for it to drain.
- 2 Steam tables – double the production.
- 2 20-pound LP tanks
- Internal Cooler – not taking up surface space.
- 2 12V deep-cycle marine batteries and an 1800 watt inverter that can run the shaved ice machine for 4 solid hours. The inverter also auto-switches between shore and battery power, so even if someone trips the breaker at an event, we're still in business.
- On-board marine battery charger.
- Power outlets in strategic places on the cart.
- And my wife's wonderful idea: a clear 4ft wide display case to sell candy, etc.
- The shaved ice machine and cups stow inside the cart for transport, and so do all the pans, utensils, wheel chocks, etc.
- Of course, we have 12V power outlets in one of the dry storage towers for cellphone, iPod, and WiFi, and we put a string of rope-lights around the display case and towers just to draw attention.
- I'm going to add some more lighting under the shelf, above the signs for the night events.