What size hot dogs should you serve? Vendors for years have debated this and over time, there has been a slight shift from a “normal” hot dog to the 1/4lb. hot dog.
8:1 “Normal” Hot Dogs
Walk into your local grocery store and you'll find the most common size is 8:1s. This simply means eight hot dogs to a pound. Still the leader but it doesn't mean it's the leader among we purveyors of prime tube steaks. Widely used by vendors, even if they are offering other sizes.
10:1 SAY WHAT?
Can you guess what a 10:1 is? Correct! It's 10 hot dog to a pound. Something many major manufacturers started doing as costs went up to make you feel like you were getting more for your money.
Ten to ones are used by some vendors, especially if they handle a lot of large gatherings or kid type events.
BUT: some vendors, the ones who pile toppings on, like Mac & Cheese, like bacon jalapeño with sweet slaw. The extra room allows for much more toppings without also changing your bun size.
THE NEW NORMAL HOT DOG SIZE
Many hot dog vendors are offering a 4:1 (four hot dogs to a pound or 1/4 pound hot dogs. Even if they are offering 8:1s, they often add the 4:1 for the folks who love more meat to bun ratios.
Toppings can be challenging unless you do what my friends and expert vendors do. They use larger buns called pan loafs. Most bakeries can make you these and some wholesale suppliers already stock them. They are similar to a hoagie roll or brioche buns.
Of course – they get more money for these and like anything else in sales… it's an up-sell.
MINI SIZED DOGS
Some vendors only carry mini hot dogs. Like Krystal burger chain or White Castle – who serve only little tiny burgers – these are extremely popular in some areas.
It's more labor in reality, but the food cost is extremely low for what they are charging.
Finding mini hot dogs and buns can be harder in some regions so many that offer these have resorted to using dinner type rolls “Kings Hawaiian” rolls and then dividing a normal 8:1 or 10:1.
THE 1/2 POUNDER OR 2:1 OR FOOT LONG
Not all foot long hot dogs are 1/2 pound but many are. It really doesn't matter. It's like having two normal hot dogs in one. More meat, more toppings and all delivered on one looooong soft bun.
Not too many vendors offer them but the ones that do – treat it like any other specialty hot dog they may have on their menu. As there are only 2 ends compared to 4 ends on 2 hot dogs, you absolutely can have more toppings to attract the hungry passerby.
WHAT SIZE HOT DOGS SHOULD YOU USE?
In my opinion, based on thousands of vendors I work with and help including the several hundred pro vendors in side our VendorsUnited.com mastermind group – I'd have to say… 8:1 and a 4:1.
This does not mean if your business plan is to only serve mini hot dogs or 1/3 pound exotic meat hot dogs – that you shouldn't. Absolutely do what your market wants.