In Part 10 of the A to Z hot dog vendor course we cover hot dog cart operations, we discuss branching out and more. This section you'll learn how to avoid some mistakes overzealous vendors make.
- Branching Out
Part 10 Operations
Operations, in the operations there is, as far as your food operations you have got some decisions to make on boiling, steaming, grilling. I have some videos on that if you need links to them I will provide those to you but there are basically, boiled dogs the bottom line to me boiled dogs last longer you don’t get the waste. You don’t have to steam 20 dogs to stay ahead and then all of a sudden the crowd dies down and you got 18 dogs steaming and now how long are they going to steam, you can’t steam for very long as far as keeping them in there for 35-40 minutes and they start turning grey you know changing colours or getting wrinkly it just doesn’t work, where boiling you can leave them sitting in water for 3 hours now obviously if you have got hotdogs sitting in water for 3 hours you need to find a new location but you could it could sit there for 3 hours and it doesn’t hurt a thing because you have boiled them you have turned the fire off as long as you keep the fire hot and the water warm then it doesn’t bust them you will be fine and that’s why I like boiling there’s no waste they taste good if you pre-saturate your water with flavour it’s even better and then if you have the ability to grill too then that helps as well.
Waste you will have less waste with boiling, steaming works if you are in a busy spot and you know about what you are going to do you are not going to waste a lot, steaming does work better on some dogs and when you do your taste test that’s when you can figure out that stuff, now I have boiled you know and steamed and I don’t notice much of a difference, as far as flavour it doesn’t lose anything but maybe I am just unique. Refreezing, you can refreeze dogs, I don’t recommend it, if your Health Department allows it you can do it some of them allow it I wouldn’t do it, it’s just not going to be the same quality and I always want to put out good quality. Add ons, in fact somebody asked a question about add ons and I hope they are still listening I know we have had some people had to leave, some of them messaged me that they had to leave and I understand but add ons to a cart, there’s lots of them, eye glasses, sun glasses you know, hats, before I did sun glasses or hats though which are all good I have made some fantastic money with ball caps, baseball caps and I am going to send you the links to buy those cheap, cheap and even sunglasses if you want to carry them but I have found that food products do even better, once we started adding, I have done it three times or four times lemonade and we have done pretzels and we have added on barbecue at a couple of deals, things like that cookies the other day Jason told me he is doing these cheesecake on a stick from Vienna, there’s all kinds of things you can add, the food items tend to do better from my experience but I have made a whole bunch of money on baseball caps you now with funny sayings or whatever, real nice embroidered puff embroidered baseball caps so you can add those things to your cart, a better type of chip you can add a gourmet chip or a brand that somebody doesn’t see at the convenience store and you can set yourself apart by doing that. Free dogs and water, let me tell you this real quick and I think you will love it there is a way to get free hot dogs a vendor that I talked to the other day in fact I interviewed him and he didn’t mention this because he didn’t want anybody going after his business but he is getting his hot dogs for free and he’s doing it because he read my book and in the book I tell you how to get the hot dogs for free. Here’s how you do it, when you go if you have a local or pretty local, somebody within driving distance meat factory or butcher or commercial butcher like we have in our town, well in our area I would say in the two counties around us we have 3 different companies that are meat processors they actually brand it, they are served in the local, some of the restaurants claim we only serve such and such sausage, breakfast sausage it’s kind of like Jenny Dean but it’s the local one and so Tenneesse Pride or whatever it is and you can go to them and go listen I have got a hot dog cart and we would love to serve only something local and would like to know if you want to, you know we will decorate our cart with your information if you will supply the dogs, we will exclusive you and then you will have to work out a number, they may go well okay we will give you 500 dogs a week a max and what they look at is 500 dogs cost us 20 cent a dog so we are in this whatever that is what is that a $1000 bucks and they go okay is it worth it to us to advertise on this cart on his umbrella all the stuff that you have provided them and any stuff and you tell them anytime that they do a company picnic we give you 2 of those we will show up twice for that, we will cater the company picnic for free and they obviously provide the food. So there’s things like that you can do or can co-sponsor it with them where they give you a discount or they give you a rebate where it ends up being free and vendors have had success with this and recently the guy that I interviewed he actually got the deal and they gave him free hotdogs and they limited him to how many he could get a week but now his cart is going to have their name on it and all that stuff and he is serving their products and he is helping his community, he is helping them and he is helping himself and he’s got free hot dogs reduced his costs quite a bit. Now let’s talk about the water, water is even cooler but most places have a water bottler somewhere near them, most water bottlers and if you don’t have one you can go to Sam’s because they do this they are just more money because they have to ship it to you but will private label that water bottle because you can buy bottles from them with no label then they will private label, which means they will put your message on the bottle it will look like your bottle of water, hot dog answer man water, the best water in the world you know, blah, blah, blah because it doesn’t matter to them they will private label it for the same price that you can go and buy it in the stores for you know in bulk maybe 11 cents a bottle you buy 500 bottles at 11 cents a bottle and you go and pick them up and now you have got your name on them. Now that’s not the trick though you are not trying to get your name on them, I mean you may want you name on them but the trick isn’t that the trick would be to go to somebody local in own like a furniture store or the tyre shop or the local cash for gold deal and you go to them and say listen I am a hot dog vendor, we cater we do this stuff, we go through about 800 bottles of water a week or whatever it is roughly give them an estimate and you go how would you like to an add on the bottle and they go I would love that, how much is it, well it’s $300 and you get half of the label the whole half of the label is you and they go well what if I want the whole label well that’s $600 okay or I am going to sell the other half to somebody else or you put your own name on it now you give that copy to the water company they make your labels attach your labels now you have bottled water with this guy’s information on it and maybe he has got a coupon on for 10% off your next check for cash or whatever is it and he’s buying all your water you are charging him enough to buy your water. I actually was doing this and making a profit on the water before I even sold the first bottle of water and I am still selling them for a dollar a bottle, so that’s how you do the free dogs and water if you have any other questions on that please don’t hesitate to ask me.
Give aways, candy and cheap stuff is a great idea, if you keep a jar of candy, I know vendors that keep a jug of snack size candies that you know individually wrapped Hersey bars that kind of stuff can get you in a mess because it can melt, but like hard candies, necklaces, fireballs, lemon drops that are individually wrapped and put in a bucket and that customers can just grab and go it’s just an added little something and people will love it.
Branching out and this business, I think we are one slide away from being done and then we are going to questions and if you have more questions or if there is something that I didn’t cover good enough or I didn’t cover thorough enough let me know and I will do it but branching out is another way you can make a lot more money, you can add cart, add cart and basically whatever this cart is doing for you this cart can do it for you too and you can end up going to big, I get people calling me going Ben I want to order 4 carts and I go how long have you been in the business, well I am just getting started well let me back you up not that I wouldn’t love to sell him 4 carts but I don’t want him to buy 4 carts and not be successful so I try to talk everybody into buying one first get started buy another one next week and then another one the next week and the another one the next week or the next month or however you need to do it but don’t come in and buy 4 carts or 10 carts and I have had people do it that I couldn’t talk out of it but it’s not the wisest way to go about it until you get your feet wet and you know what you are doing and you know how are you going to charge, how you are going to pay employees how are you going to handle employees are you going to sub contract them how are you going to do it, but there is lots of money to be made in multiple carts. I have got a good friend of mine that has got multiple carts and he does very well with multiple carts and you can too so it’s all doable.
Commissary money you can open a commissary like we talked about before and actually make money from vendors you are not taking advantage of them you are proving a needed source I wish there was more people out there that would open commissary’s and give vendors a reasonable rate to let them use it, it takes out one more step that they have to overcome to get going. You can also rent your cart, we already talked about this kind of drop off service the rental carts like that, I have quit just renting carts just because it is a headache but there are vendors out there renting carts making money you can do it, it’s doable you can rent it just like you do a piece of equipment and it’s a felony if they leave with it because it’s considered property theft of a 500 or whatever, so you can do that as well so keep that in mind. Now that is it for stuff that I have prepared for the most part I did rush through some of that for you so if there is something that you want me to touch on deeper please post it up now I am going to start on the questions and we will take it from there and see what I can.