The Number One Question from Hot Dog Vendors for Five Years:
How Many Hot Dogs Do I Need to Take?
This is the most common question from new hot dog vendors for the last five years. The short answer? It depends… But since that's not very helpful, here's what I can tell you from my own experience.
I Started With 16 Hot Dogs
My first time out, I could only afford to take 16 hot dogs to get started. No kidding. I set out on my first day of vending with just 16 hot dogs.
As we sold through our little inventory, my wife would run down to the grocery store and buy another package of dogs. And as we went through those, she'd go buy one or two or even three packs more. That's how we had to do it, and it got us started.
If you're in a better financial situation, you should be able to take more hot dogs out for business. But don't take too many, because then you might run the risk of having too much food on hand, and you might waste some.
Buy Hot Dogs in Bulk
What I do now is buy hot dogs in bulk, like a case of 80 hot dogs. And I'll split them up into zip bags of 10 and zip bags of 30, and then I freeze them all in those bags. When I'm ready to go out and vend, I'll take as many as I think I will need for the day. If I sell out, that's okay, and if I don't use them all, they're still frozen and I can put them in the freezer again for next time.
For a Typical Lunch Shift
If you held a gun to my head, and I had to pick a number of dogs to take for a typical lunch shift (say 11am-2pm or so), I'd say take 200 hot dogs. That's 100 meals, since most people will eat 2 dogs for a meal. And depending on how you've priced your meals, that could get you about $600 gross, and then you subtract your costs and maybe take home $475. Is that good for a 4 hour workday? I think so!