Concession stand

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EddyBees Dogs
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2006/02/17 04:00:05 (permalink)

Concession stand

Hello all cart and hotdog people!! I have finally found what I believe to be a sweet deal. I just signed a contract to be the sole concessionaire for the biggest softball park in Denver. There are games every night and huge tournaments that are all day, one weekend a month. I can use my cart, along with a permanent secure structure that has a fridge/freezer, sinks, and free electricity. When the summer comes, I will hire a few honest(hopefully)people to run it while I take my cart to a seperate softball park on nightly basis. These are mostly adult co-ed recreational leagues.

I plan on having hot dogs, brats, sausages, burgers, chicken sandwhiches, bbq pork and beef sandwhiches, fresh made burritos, nachos, shaved ice treats, giant pickles, chips, nuts, candy, and cold drinks. I also sell packaged spices(which I use on the bbq and burritos and such). The spices are made by two of my friends' new company, so I display and split the profit. And.they give me all the spices I use of theirs for free.

What other ideas does anyone have? Unique food items or obvious ones? Perhaps even non-food items? Use me, I will be a guinee pig! Thank you all, I will keep you informed of how its going.
#1

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    Jimeats
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 07:09:29 (permalink)
    Sounds like an awfull big Menu for that type of venue. Try to keep it simple, I'd trim it back a little and add something different weekly then see what your big profit or high sellers are. Like Fair food it's got to be something people can walk around with in their hand. Don't forget coffee for those cool evenings and peanuts and popcorn are a must. Good Luck Chow Jim
    #2
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 08:00:07 (permalink)
    Sounds like a good idea to start slower.

    Get a rep for a baseline of quality and then come up with the occasional special?
    #3
    txtwister
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 12:01:22 (permalink)
    As a "softball wife" I'm pretty happy as long as there are nachos during any weather, coffee for morning/night/cold games, and misc. snacks for the kids. We almost always leave the park for real meals, but one thing I've found is that nine times out of ten, we'll buy breakfast burritos if it's an early game.
    #4
    garryd451
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 14:52:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EddyBees Dogs

    Hello all cart and hotdog people!! I have finally found what I believe to be a sweet deal. I just signed a contract to be the sole concessionaire for the biggest softball park in Denver. There are games every night and huge tournaments that are all day, one weekend a month. I can use my cart, along with a permanent secure structure that has a fridge/freezer, sinks, and free electricity. When the summer comes, I will hire a few honest(hopefully)people to run it while I take my cart to a seperate softball park on nightly basis. These are mostly adult co-ed recreational leagues.

    I plan on having hot dogs, brats, sausages, burgers, chicken sandwhiches, bbq pork and beef sandwhiches, fresh made burritos, nachos, shaved ice treats, giant pickles, chips, nuts, candy, and cold drinks. I also sell packaged spices(which I use on the bbq and burritos and such). The spices are made by two of my friends' new company, so I display and split the profit. And.they give me all the spices I use of theirs for free.

    What other ideas does anyone have? Unique food items or obvious ones? Perhaps even non-food items? Use me, I will be a guinee pig! Thank you all, I will keep you informed of how its going.


    Are You sure that you really want to be at another ball park. Over the years as s Jaycees, a parent belonging to a athletic booster club,and/or a member of a church I have both worked and a been chairman of many different kind of concession stands in the last 35 years.

    Nobody is going to run this concession stand like You would, they have nothing at stake here! It will be just another job to alot of the kids you hire, if you hire responsible adults You will have to pay them alot more money than you would kids.

    Also if you are not there, you better really reduce that menu, it would be overwhelming for alot of people. Rembember, Fast Food places have everything in their coputers or timers. All the people have to do is push buttons on the cash register or put or take the food out of the cooker, off the grill or out of the fryer when the timer goes off.

    I don't think You will be set up that way, I got the feeling You will be the computer and also the timer in the kitchen.

    Keep the menu big if you are going to be there every night, but if You aren't you better make the menu alot smaller!


    Good Luck!

    Please keep us posted!!!!!!!
    #5
    EddyBees Dogs
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 16:01:18 (permalink)
    Thank you all very much! I think probably I will start a little simpler and see how it goes from there. My idea for hiring is college age girls(I work with a few now at a restaurant) and give them a percentage of sales after I get it all figured out myself and train them accordingly. If they get a small percntage plus all the tips(which could be a lot for my cuties), they could make enough and so would I. The menu items I mentioned would not be all that hard to do really. Sausages and dogs are a no brainer, given. Chicken breasts could be par cooked and ready to put on the grill for a sandwich, or cut up quickly and put in a burrito with beans, cheese, and green chili in a steam table. My pork would be smoked ahead of time, then half pulled for BBQ, and half pulled for burritos, with a quick shake of some different rubs, the taste profile could easily go to Mexican or BBQ. Yes. I know I act as my own computer and I know I could do this myself, but if a person is money driven(which foodservers are), then they would be apt to try to sell more and work fast and effecient. I have been a kitchen manager, as well as a General Manager for different restaurants and am able to train people well. A softball park with a bunch of men running around is a very inviting place to work for a single girl, too!

    Even still. starting smaller and doing things all right is my best way to start. March 6 is opening night!!!
    #6
    drsmoke02
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 16:01:33 (permalink)
    try hardboiled eggs.great margin,easy to prepare,very popular,no mess[EXCEPT SHELLS} 1 NAPKIN. YOU'LL BE AMAZED AT HOW MANY YOU SELL. 50-75 CENTS EA.
    #7
    dinerminer
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 19:24:18 (permalink)
    If you're thinking your "cuties" are gonna make some big tip money, forget it. I've run concessions for years and can count the tips on one hand. And as far as giving them a % of sales, are you crazy? You will make nothing. Hourly wage only and cut back that menu too.
    #8
    garryd451
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/17 20:11:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EddyBees Dogs

    Thank you all very much! I think probably I will start a little simpler and see how it goes from there. My idea for hiring is college age girls(I work with a few now at a restaurant) and give them a percentage of sales after I get it all figured out myself and train them accordingly. If they get a small percntage plus all the tips(which could be a lot for my cuties), they could make enough and so would I. The menu items I mentioned would not be all that hard to do really. Sausages and dogs are a no brainer, given. Chicken breasts could be par cooked and ready to put on the grill for a sandwich, or cut up quickly and put in a burrito with beans, cheese, and green chili in a steam table. My pork would be smoked ahead of time, then half pulled for BBQ, and half pulled for burritos, with a quick shake of some different rubs, the taste profile could easily go to Mexican or BBQ. Yes. I know I act as my own computer and I know I could do this myself, but if a person is money driven(which foodservers are), then they would be apt to try to sell more and work fast and effecient. I have been a kitchen manager, as well as a General Manager for different restaurants and am able to train people well. A softball park with a bunch of men running around is a very inviting place to work for a single girl, too!

    Even still. starting smaller and doing things all right is my best way to start. March 6 is opening night!!!



    Sounds like you have a VERY, VERY GOOD Plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I be eagerly awaitng to hear how it goes!
    #9
    Truckin
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/19 07:55:00 (permalink)
    Eddy, that is a cool gig. Congratulations.

    My concession is espresso drinks, but we have a large menu because of hot or iced, flavors, chocolate, milk portions, etc. Then add smoothies and chai, and people who don't want coffee can still buy a drink. We make most of our variations, and I think customers are grateful for a choice. Similarly, go for the larger menu, as long as you can stay organized.

    Menu suggestion? lol, this is going to start a chain of reactions, but try some tofu pups or something for a couple weekends, then let us know. I do eat meat personally, but sometimes I'm out with friends or relations that are vegan or vegetarian who would pay anything for the "dog" and chips they enjoy at home.

    Regarding tips, profit sharing, etc.... concessions just like any business vary widely, and some are more profitable than others. You are 100% right to start the venture with the hope/assumption of success. Wish for the prosperity of your employees, and you are doing the right thing by them.

    I like the idea of still using your cart at the smaller venue.... but that is the operation you should subcontract, profit sharing and all. Where you have a complex menu, more employees, more visibility, and more chance of significant profit, that is where you, the business owner, should be.

    Good luck!
    #10
    garryd451
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/19 13:10:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Truckin

    Eddy, that is a cool gig. Congratulations.

    My concession is espresso drinks, but we have a large menu because of hot or iced, flavors, chocolate, milk portions, etc. Then add smoothies and chai, and people who don't want coffee can still buy a drink. We make most of our variations, and I think customers are grateful for a choice. Similarly, go for the larger menu, as long as you can stay organized.

    Menu suggestion? lol, this is going to start a chain of reactions, but try some tofu pups or something for a couple weekends, then let us know. I do eat meat personally, but sometimes I'm out with friends or relations that are vegan or vegetarian who would pay anything for the "dog" and chips they enjoy at home.

    Regarding tips, profit sharing, etc.... concessions just like any business vary widely, and some are more profitable than others. You are 100% right to start the venture with the hope/assumption of success. Wish for the prosperity of your employees, and you are doing the right thing by them.

    I like the idea of still using your cart at the smaller venue.... but that is the operation you should subcontract, profit sharing and all. Where you have a complex menu, more employees, more visibility, and more chance of significant profit, that is where you, the business owner, should be.

    Good luck!



    I agree with Truckin, You should be where their is the most risk! I tried to say that in my post, but Truckin said it alot better than I did.
    #11
    EddyBees Dogs
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/19 13:22:08 (permalink)
    Having someone else run the hot dog cart makes some sense and may be a good choice, especially whaen the second park would not be every single night. What does anyone think of a fryer? Is it worth the cost and mess? Do I need a huge one so I dont need to change the oil every two hours? Also, does anyone know anything about the ice shavers on sale on ebay for around $300? Are they good quality, and has anyone had problems with them? Thanks again, everyone! Lots of good stuff! Eddy- owner of Big Bee Sidewalk Grill-Denver Colorado
    #12
    myway
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/19 14:07:43 (permalink)
    Hi,
    Eddy, I was reading this post. It is fantastic you are getting this opportunity. Just one thought though. As far as help. There is a hot dog stand that I know of that hires young girls. The thought being that young good looking girls will bring in more business. The owner of the stand advised me that it was not necessarily true. The young girls also have young hormones that apparently cause them to give food away free to young men whom may suit they're fancy. Also consider the amount of food given away to family and friends. Adds up to a bit of a loss to an upstart business. Here's the idea. How about using retired persons? So many of our senior citizens are setting home with nothing to do. And would probably love the idea of being able to get out of the house and do something. Hire on a part time basis. Many retirees would love the ability to work to supplement they're sometimes small monthly income, as well as the chance to intermingle with people. It might work well. Senior citizens are less apt to give away product, and heaven knows we could all learn from they're experience! Just a thought.
    #13
    garryd451
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/19 15:13:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by myway

    Hi,
    Eddy, I was reading this post. It is fantastic you are getting this opportunity. Just one thought though. As far as help. There is a hot dog stand that I know of that hires young girls. The thought being that young good looking girls will bring in more business. The owner of the stand advised me that it was not necessarily true. The young girls also have young hormones that apparently cause them to give food away free to young men whom may suit they're fancy. Also consider the amount of food given away to family and friends. Adds up to a bit of a loss to an upstart business. Here's the idea. How about using retired persons? So many of our senior citizens are setting home with nothing to do. And would probably love the idea of being able to get out of the house and do something. Hire on a part time basis. Many retirees would love the ability to work to supplement they're sometimes small monthly income, as well as the chance to intermingle with people. It might work well. Senior citizens are less apt to give away product, and heaven knows we could all learn from they're experience! Just a thought.


    Also somtimes the sight of pretty, cute, Young Girls attracts Dirty old Men too!

    Another reason You will want to be there every night.
    #14
    txtwister
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/20 16:30:53 (permalink)
    One other thought on hiring hotties - you might want to check out your actual market a little more closely. Softball around here (western central TX) can't be that different than softball anywhere else, and softball here seems to attract 30ish married men. For us, tournaments are always family oriented - lots of wives and kids and it's a big social thing for the families as well as the players.

    I'm not saying we would object to Hooters-at-the-Park (or even notice unless it was blatant) but after about six years of doing the "softball thing" I feel confident in saying that I think you'll find that 80% or so of your business comes from middle-aged women and their kids.

    Speaking of kids, that reminds me of another concession stand "hit" that are SUPER inexpensive for you, especially since you have freezers available. I'm assuming you'll sell pickles (if not, plan on it!) - freeze the leftover juice in small plastic condiment cups, about halfway full, and sell them for .25 each. These are a huge hit with kids and one of the most profitable concession stand items offered at our high school games during hot weather. I know, weird, but true. I guess it's all about the pickle-juice/dehydration thing. Or, kids and adults are just occasionally demented.

    Since you're considering burritos of some kind already, consider using the tortillas for your brats and sausages, too. Cheaper than buns usually, and easier to eat.
    #15
    EddyBees Dogs
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/21 01:26:46 (permalink)
    TXTWISTER, Pickle juice? frozen? I don't know if I can look people in the eye if I sell them that! Anyway we'll see how it goes. But I will NOT put my brats and dogs in tortillas!! I use Vienna poppyseed hotdog buns and they are great.

    Ok, how does one pay and how much for a person to work my hot dog cart? I found someone who may be interested and has worked a cart before. Do I set up and then they meet me? I guess I could do whatever works, but what does anyone else do who hires out? Since I use good buns that dont get oversteamed or go bad easily, these are a good indicator of inventory and sales at a glance. Just buns and drinks. Then I could count individual dogs and sausages, if I suspected theft. I need someone I can trust!! Does anyone sell at Soccer games? Do soccer people eat hotdogs and sausages? Or should I try some sprout veggie burgers? Yeck Anyway Thanks for all the input guys and gals! pickle juice...
    #16
    UncleVic
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/21 02:57:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EddyBees Dogs

    TXTWISTER, Pickle juice? frozen? I don't know if I can look people in the eye if I sell them that! Anyway we'll see how it goes. But I will NOT put my brats and dogs in tortillas!! I use Vienna poppyseed hotdog buns and they are great.

    Ok, how does one pay and how much for a person to work my hot dog cart? I found someone who may be interested and has worked a cart before. Do I set up and then they meet me? I guess I could do whatever works, but what does anyone else do who hires out? Since I use good buns that dont get oversteamed or go bad easily, these are a good indicator of inventory and sales at a glance. Just buns and drinks. Then I could count individual dogs and sausages, if I suspected theft. I need someone I can trust!! Does anyone sell at Soccer games? Do soccer people eat hotdogs and sausages? Or should I try some sprout veggie burgers? Yeck Anyway Thanks for all the input guys and gals! pickle juice...


    Just a note, counting hot dogs and sausages does you no good if the employee brings their own stock... Your cart, your hourly pay, their product being sold, them keeping their new found profit... Make sure to have an occasional 'mystery shopper' to snab a sample and make sure it's your product being sold.

    #17
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/21 13:26:05 (permalink)
    Eddy, given your situation, I'd concentrate my efforts on the stand and keep my menu simple: dogs, brats, bbq pork, drinks, and ice cream novelties(for kids & adults). Too many choices means too much work. Chicken and burgers take too much time to prepare. Get customers in and out as fast as possible. A large menu will slow your pace. Hire and train people to be your food handlers. You collect cash and hand out drinks and over see the entire operation. Give your self time to build this business and train your employees well. You may discover the stand will bring you enough business and profit. Your greatest risk begins the moment you become an absentee business owner. Most people believe if one business is successful, a second will bring more profit. Max out the stand first before considering the cart. Working both now will be your greatest risk. Can you afford trusting someone at this point in time with your business, your service, your money, your food quality, and above all....your name? This opportunity is not about money, it's about building a reputable, successful business. You've got to do, what you've got to do, but it's got to be the right thing for you. Did you get an opportunity to visit my buddy, Fast Eddie on Pearle Street in Boulder? We both share identical hot dog business philosophies. He sells Vienna Beef products too. If he's not busy, he may share some of his wisdom with you. It's worth the visit.


    I wish you well.

    Just my two cents.

    CSD
    #18
    Kenny da Fat Man
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/21 13:42:51 (permalink)
    Good luck Eddy! Sounds like a GREAT time!

    I'm not reading the entire thread, but here's my two cents:

    I live in Pittsburgh and we have a great ballpark called PNC Park. They have a concession there called the Steel City Grill. All they make there are footlong hotdogs (Hebrew National) and these sweet italian sausages on a soft bun. Along with the sausages, they grill onions and green & red peppers to put on the sausage. People line up for those sausages (and I'm one of them).
    #19
    txtwister
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/21 14:01:21 (permalink)
    LOL, Eddy, I know the pickle juice thing sounds (is!) bizarre, but I'm not pulling your leg, I promise. Do you, by chance, remember the nutritional PSA's from the 70's, the "hankerin' for a hunka cheese" cartoons? That was also my first experience, at about 8yo, making pickle pops - one of those PSA's suggested it. All of the kids in our neighborhood loved them, but I hadn't seen frozen pickle juice in the condiment cups until about 10 years ago, at high school football games. Having an eight-grader who plays all sports, I've worked my share of concession stand duty, and have to say that they sell very well during hot weather.

    As for the tortillas, we have a large Hispanic population, both within TX and within the softball community, and I've never have considered brats in tortillas before a big tournament in the DFW area, but it works well for walking and eating.
    #20
    EddyBees Dogs
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/21 21:07:51 (permalink)
    Chicagostyle, thanks for the input and it sure makes sense, I wouldnt ever risk putting my reputation on the line if I couldnt feel comfortable with my help, and therin lies a challenge. I will have to see how that goes, or if its even cost effective to work both parks. I do plan on doing some festival work selling Hawwaiin Ices this season on the open weekends. On some weekends, there are all day long tournaments, where I could use both in different areas of the park(it's a huge complex). I would be close enough to oversee both concessions.

    txtwister, I plan on getting on of those fancy ice shavers in June, will I ever feel dumb when I spend $500 on a unit, when everyone keeps asking for pickle pops! But, I guess I could go into the relish business at the same time!
    #21
    V960
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/22 09:34:50 (permalink)
    I have found that a mix of retired folks w/ HS or college kids makes the best staff. The young ones will give away the store and the older folks will charge for a salt packet. The mix seems to work. I watched one of my daughter's friends give away a double size platter of burgers and onion rings to a couple of football players a few years ago.

    "Candice...what was that?"

    "Aren't they cute?"

    Candice does prep work only now

    My Mother was the WORST person to leave running a place. Food was great but she would give customers grief if the put too much relish on their dogs. She was a depression era kid and never forgot it.

    .
    #22
    AndreaB
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/22 13:48:09 (permalink)
    How about funnel cakes? They always seem to be wildly popular. But, I don't know how much of a pain they are to prepare.

    Andrea
    #23
    garryd451
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/22 16:37:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by AndreaB

    How about funnel cakes? They always seem to be wildly popular. But, I don't know how much of a pain they are to prepare.

    Andrea


    That's a good question!

    I have a friend that sells elephant ears, he travels to fairs, festivals. concerts, and fireworks shows. He never travels more than 25 miles because he has to get his employees to the location of the event, I know this wouldn't effect the Baseball Concessions.

    But for elephants Ears, He uses 4 poeple at busy events, 2 making dough, l frying and 1 taking money and selling soda pop. There is usually a 12 to 15 person waiting line.

    I don't know if you need 4 for funnel cakes.
    #24
    AndreaB
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/02/22 16:50:51 (permalink)
    Yah, I've always thought one could do a good business just selling hot dogs, fries, and funnel cakes at these sort of events. Maybe soft pretzels too, and corn dogs. That way they can get the meat and the sweet all at one place. I know when I go to these sort of events I have to ask myself "do I want the hot dog more or the funnel cake more" because I hate the lines and usually pick one over the other.
    Andrea
    #25
    EddyBees Dogs
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    RE: Concession stand 2006/04/10 01:52:49 (permalink)
    Hello all, thanks for all the advice and let me tell you how it has been. March--nearly 700$ of start-up expenses with tax letters, food product, insurance forms not faxed, numerous trips downtown to get the stuff right, very little helpful responses about any league or tournament play and bad weather, and the feeling like I might push the cart off a cliff, and $50 of sales for one cold night.

    And then came April 1st. I was informed of a tournament. I drove up at 8:00 a.m. and saw 10 and 11 year olds playing baseball with all their family members 20 teams, 15 players a team average, and 2 or three minimum family members for each player, all day long on a sunny warm day and absolutely no one to buy drinks candy food from other than me. After several trips back to Sam's that day and my wife and pushing my new son in the stroller with 4 cases of Gatorade attached, me and my "crew" made it through. I had my highest one day sales and I realized some windows of opporunity

    I know some of you cart people here I know can relate to the satisfaction, of how it is when you think, dream, breathe, and work so hard and get nothing except propane expense and a belly full of dogs, then it comes together. I have things set up nice in my little shack and its organized, I can work the cart and shack at the same time alone, pretty much, though I have had someone ther during most of the day. Lol, I realized, if the line is real long, no one is goin anywhere so the threat of losing customers is not the same as if they are downtown or at a home depot.

    The second tournament I sold my signature Giant Brats, which looked great on my little Weber Q 300, I smoked some pork butt and made burritos and BBQ sandwiches SUPER EASY! I sold the cheapest dogs with the cheapest buns for two bucks a pop. My father-in-law sold shaved ice from his new $1200 toy (though I didnt include those in MY sales)I did not sell pickle juice. I was able to beat my sales with 3 hours of outside labor on a tournament half the size of the previous weeks'.

    I knew this business would work, and now not EVERYONE will roll their eyes at me when I talk about my new business. Oh by the way, I sealed up a deal for a 4th of July festival that attracts 15,000 people. I am the only food vendor except for a kettle corn stand. Thanks for the good wishes! By the way Cowboy Bob, in regards to your recent location troubles I say this, "Doesn't it have wheels?". You should know by now any gold mine is temporary in this business.
    #26
    adbunting
    Hamburger
    • Total Posts : 72
    • Joined: 2006/04/07 08:14:00
    • Location: Pahrump, NV
    • Status: offline
    RE: Concession stand 2006/04/11 07:31:06 (permalink)
    Hey...

    I've rolled dogs in tortillas with cheese and deep-fried them.

    Pretty darn good. You could spread 'em with a smudge of chili.

    April
    #27
    chicagostyledog
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3283
    • Joined: 2003/09/10 16:13:00
    • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Concession stand 2006/04/11 08:36:43 (permalink)
    Congratulations Eddy! Being the sole vendor and bringing food to the masses is the key. It works even better when people see the lines. It's magnetic. Be prepared for the 4th of July event with adaquate product and enough help. It's easy to over estimate and over buy. Should this happen, it's not a problem if you have enough cold storage for up coming week ends and events. Let the good times roll and keep rolling. We're re-opening memorial week end and can't wait to debu our pulled pork sandwich and Chicago Italian ice. We have a hot dog cart and an ice cream cart side-by-side. This is our 4th year at the same location. The first two years, we were the only food in that location. Last year we encountered competition, which only made us stronger and better.

    CSD
    Born in Chicago
    Escaped to Wisconsin
    Selling Vienna Beef hot dogs/Polish & pulled pork from cart #1
    Selling Dove ice cream bars and Chicago Italian ice from cart #2
    #28
    Pitts
    Hamburger
    • Total Posts : 78
    • Joined: 2003/12/25 04:54:00
    • Location: Centralia Wa., WA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Concession stand 2006/04/12 17:34:28 (permalink)
    Popcorn??
    #29
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