Top Tips for Selling Hot Dogs in the Winter
So you've heard the statistics about how most hot dogs are eaten in the summer… The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says:
The summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day continue to make up the “hot dog season.” Hot dog producers estimate that an average of 38 percent or $614 million of the total number of hot dogs are sold during this time.
But you know what that means? That means 62% of hot dogs are sold, bought, and consumed outside of the big summer season! So you have an opportunity to make money selling hot dogs during the winter!
To help you out as you prepare for your cold-weather vending, here are Ten Tips to increase your success as a vendor in the winter.
1. Foot traffic is better than driving traffic. You will be more likely to have success if you find a location where there is good foot traffic. You can't set up next to a highway where people don't have a reason to stop, and expect them to park and get out of their heated cars to check out your cart. Find a place where they are already walking by.
2. Find a great location and stick with it. Think of places where people are walking around, but maybe a little less obvious than Wal-Mart. Try an area between night clubs to catch people between bar hops. Or a spot between bars and the college campus. Who can pass up a hot dog on the way home from the bar when it's cold outside?
3. Get a portable heater. A torpedo heater will not only make your work more bearable, but your customers will appreciate the heat. Your cart will be an oasis of deliciousness and warmth in the cold!
4. Partner up with a local business. Find a factory, car dealership, hospital, etc. and serve lunch or dinner, depending on the shift. That way, you are providing a service of feeding people, and you get the benefit of a location where people will definitely be eating. It's better than guessing on a street corner where you don't know what kind of walking traffic you might get.
5. Try a car dealership. One vendor booked a local dealership, and they would open up a service bay for him to set up his cart. The dealership paid him a flat rate to be there every Saturday. It helps the dealership to offer food, and it's guaranteed sales for the vendor.
6. Bring your own shelter. A couple in Canada sets up a portable carport for shelter, and puts heaters inside. Besides protecting the vendors and the customers from the weather, the carport makes a fantastic billboard for the vendor!
7. Make deliveries. A vendor in Detroit sets up his cart at home two days a week, takes lunch orders from offices, and delivers hot dogs to the businesses. You can set this up! Visit office buildings and offer to take lunch orders and deliver hot dogs for the employees.
8. Check your local event calendar for opportunities. Many areas have fall harvest and Oktoberfest events, holiday craft fairs, Christmas tree lighting, and home and garden shows. Find out what's going on in your community and get involved.
9. Get involved with school activities. Winter is prime time for basketball games and tournaments. Check for concessions opportunities. If you offer a portion of your earnings to the school booster club, you may be able to make a deal!
10. Do catering! Catering gives you more freedom in your menu offerings, and removes the uncertainty of guessing on a location. Pass out cards with your phone number and basic information, and let people know you're available. “We cater! Employee appreciation lunches, tailgate parties, birthdays…” You get the idea. You could be the solution they need, that they never knew they needed!
You Can Make Money!
You can definitely make good money selling hot dogs or street food in the winter. Just do some research, scout a good location, and stay warm! You'll be bringing in money while other people are huddled indoors waiting for spring. Start now!