There are many things you can offer with your food cart and because you have, or at least I hope you have, added catering to the mix, your options are almost unlimited. Today I want to share with you the potentials with hot soft pretzels from your hot dog cart. Soft pretzels are unique in that they take upon whatever flavor you put on them. Now you may say that anything does that, but it's not true. Add about anything to a hot dog and it still tastes like a hot dog. But add chocolate to a pretzel and you'll be wondering if you just had a donut, add marinara sauce and you'll think you just had a pizza, add cheese and jalapenos and you'll swear you just had a Mexican dish.
You can easily have pretzels ready to serve by holding them in your steamer. They will get nice and hot and when you pull one out to serve, simply add salt or whatever topping you like. I like the easy, inexpensive toppings, sugar and cinnamon, salt or powdered sugar and of course, mustard. These items can be kept in a sprinkle type shaker and allow you to work faster. Using cheese, jalepenos or other wet type toppings will create extra work but they also will add your profits and that's what we're after.
Always test new items first. You'll need to practice, at least once so you know how long your brand of soft pretzel will hold up in the steamer, how long it will heat up from frozen and/or thawed and if you'll need to put a food cloth on the bottom of your perforated pan to avoid too much moisture. It will only take a little bit to determine the best method for the brand you purchase. I would consider trying multiple brands to test, but I'll share some great ones with you below.
- Place frozen pretzel in steamer
- Remove with wax paper sheet or aluminum sheet
- Add topping of choice
Soft Pretzel with topping $5-7
Cost with topping $.78 – $1.12
Profits! $4.22 – 5.88 each
I spoke with several folks doing pretzels already and of course it relates to your location and your current sales volumes but the 4 vendors I spoke with had an average of 31 pretzels daily. Keep in mind, this is only based on 4 vendors and one of these sells a lot of pretzels in front of a bar 3 nights a week. Also my average does not factor in days off, so it's based solely on working days.
That's still fantastic money! Right? 31 x $4.22 = $130.82 in real profit each day
If you are working areas where pretzels would be a bigger hit, as in the case with the vendor I spoke with who does the night club/bar location – he sells over 100 each night on average and just over 300 per week. That's $1,266 bucks a week in profits. How many can you sell?
Whether you sell 20 a day or 100+ a day, does it really matter? At only 20 a day based on a 4 day work week, you've made an extra $1300/monthly just from a few pretzels! It's easy, cost effective, high margins and your customers will love them.
I would hope if you've learned nothing from me over the years, that you've at least learned to do your DUE DILIGENCE! Same applies here. Research places to buy pretzels, test multiple brands, test toppings, negotiate pricing and start making more with your hot dog cart.
Webstaurant Pretzels – individually wrapped, shelf stable at room temps, no need to freeze, pre-flavored – 6oz size approx. 80¢ each
FoodService Pretzels – case packaged 3.5oz. size approx. .25¢ each
Sandiego Pretzels – case packaged, frozen, great flavor and consistency – multiple sizes approx. $1.20 depending on freight costs, qty and size
Also check with your food supplier, your local grocery store inventory manager and Google local manufacturers.