Hot Dog Stands

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Sirloin
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2003/08/13 20:10:01 (permalink)

Hot Dog Stands

OK, I do admit I am dreaming..." /> However, I am wondering if anyone out there has had experience in operating a self-contained hot dog stand(s). No, I am NOT talking about operating same in any metro areas. The results of same are obvious. I am referring to a "retro" aka rather rural area where nothing really happens, except there ARE a multitude of local festivals occuring yearly. I am thinking about approaching the SBA for a loan (about 10K). I have researched same and need help in decision making. I have quite a bit of experience in customer satisfaction and in producing and maintaining a quality product. Is there anyone out there who could perhaps give a bit of input into my query?
#1

21 Replies Related Threads

    Sundancer7
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/13 20:25:26 (permalink)
    Think about this:
    1: Fees to operate
    2: Liability
    3: Hours to work
    4: Travel cost
    5: How many hot dogs do you gotta sell to cover the above
    6: Weather
    7: Employee benefits

    My guess is that you have to have about a hundred of these things going to realize any money and then you got labor problems. The type of labor requires a bunch of people and the turnover is enormous cause you cannot pay them enought to make them stay. In addition you will have to have a HR dude to take care of SS, income tax, benefits, INC fees, income tax forms, Manager to do the scheduling and 1,000 aspirins and a case of liquor to help you with the headaches that comes with this type of stuff.

    It sort of sounds romatic and adventuresome, but in my opinion, you would make more money doing a double shift as a Walmart greeter and a hell of a lot less headaches

    Paul E. smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    Adjudicator
    Sirloin
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/13 20:33:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Think about this:
    1: Fees to operate
    2: Liability
    3: Hours to work
    4: Travel cost
    5: How many hot dogs do you gotta sell to cover the above
    6: Weather
    7: Employee benefits

    My guess is that you have to have about a hundred of these things going to realize any money and then you got labor problems. The type of labor requires a bunch of people and the turnover is enormous cause you cannot pay them enought to make them stay. In addition you will have to have a HR dude to take care of SS, income tax, benefits, INC fees, income tax forms, Manager to do the scheduling and 1,000 aspirins and a case of liquor to help you with the headaches that comes with this type of stuff.

    It sort of sounds romatic and adventuresome, but in my opinion, you would make more money doing a double shift as a Walmart greeter and a hell of a lot less headaches

    Paul E. smith
    Knoxville, TN


    I,in my limited wisdom, my friend; have covered these issues. This venture would NOT be a primary income source, but only a possible source of revenue. :0
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/13 20:39:30 (permalink)
    Did not mean to offend you
    My dear Roadfood friend
    Just offered my thoughts as you requested
    With a well intentioned grin

    Business ain't easy
    To make a buck
    No matter how hard you try to make it
    It ain't up to luck

    You ask for advice
    I gave you my thoughts
    You seem not to like it
    But it was not something you bought

    Good luck to your venture
    From one who has been there
    Cost me my britches
    Whose ass was threadbare.

    Burma Shave

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #4
    seafarer john
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/13 21:52:13 (permalink)
    I've had a yen for a number of years to buy an abandoned little diner near Treasure Island in the St Pete, Fl area. The place is really run down, has virtually no parking, and I don't know a damn thing about short order cooking or how to run a business. People with more sense than I point out that all of that makes me a typical naive would-be restauranteur.

    My idea is to open only for breakfast - coffee, fantastic egg dishes, pastries, fresh fruits, and pancakes. Maybe some wines, cheeses and cold meats for those with a continental taste. My clients would come by invitation only and any who did not measure up would be stricken from the list . My diners would love me, love my food, and I would love them
    and be back to the beach by 11 am every day....
    #5
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/13 22:01:46 (permalink)
    I'd say the first thing is to scout your location. owning a hot dog stand with nowhere to run it is a sad thing. They were banned in the kansas city area where I grew up. They are prolific in the rogue valley of southern oregon where I am now. these guys do well. You have to decide on your sides. Chili? potato chips? beans? the sides make a difference in the unit you choose. also consider pop/coffee big bucks abound there
    #6
    signman
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/14 01:10:56 (permalink)
    Are you talking about a hot dog cart or a permanent freestanding building.
    #7
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/14 02:00:48 (permalink)
    as for me, I was talking about carts. they work out a corner with a business owner.we have dozens. Lots of taco wagons in the rogue valley too
    #8
    tiki
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/14 06:31:52 (permalink)
    ah yes--own my own diner!!!just breakfast you say---figure for every 4 hours that you are open you work 6 hours prep,cleanup,book keeping,and general errund running,not to mention the 3,694,000 hoops that your local and state regulators will put you through---i personally figure that to succeed in your own place yopu will probably work an average of 90hrs a week and earn just below minimum wage for 2 years.Then theres the fact that EVERY person that walks in the door is your boss and wants stuff cooked the way his mom did it or its not right.Then factor in the fact that 85% of resteraunt fail in 8 mos---another 10% by a year. Of course with a mobile venue its MUCH easier--say only 65 hrs a week--includeing ALL weekends! Oh yeah----no holidays off---those arebig sales days---(remember your holiday trip to the shore/mtns/whatever--where everyone was partying EXCEPT those folks working at the diner you eat it!)

    Other then these few little inconvienences its a wonderful idea----GO FOR IT---who knows you may be the one in 1000.s that actually becomes an icon and gets to be everyone favorite stop and a big hit with those folks that hang out at Roadfood.com
    #9
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/14 08:55:20 (permalink)
    Anyone who is interested in reading about the trials and tribulations of "Hot Dog Stand Operation" should read "Managing Ignatius". It was written several years ago by Jerry Strahan. He is in the history department at UNO and was a protege of Stephen Ambrose and Doug Brinkley was his adviser while Jerry was working on his Master's. This book is about the real life of everyday "Ignatius O'Reilly's. Jerry took over the Lucky Dog operation while he was in college and ended up buying the company. There is a lot of practical everyday business advice for "weenie vendors" and also lots of anecdotal stories about life on the street in NEw Orleans. There is a great story about the battle with the State Health Dept. about the redesign of the cart. The book is well written and hysterically funny. And for those of you that have visited New Orleans and thought the French Quarter was an interesting place full of "colorful" characters, your suspicions will be confirmed. The other book about Hot Dog Vending in NEw Orleans is "Confederacy of Dunces". I cannot reccomend it highly enough. Hysterically funny and about as good a "slice of life" book about New Orleans in the 50's as you can find. John Kennedy OToole wrote the book and then proceeded to go crazy after he could not get it published. He eventually killed himself, but his mom was able to present the book to a local publisher and Walker Percy. Through Percy's influence, the book was eventually published and has become required reading in all decent Southern Lit. classes.

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Managing+Ignatius&userid=33MN224K2L&cds2Pid=946

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Confederacy+of+Dunces&userid=33MN224K2L&cds2Pid=946

    I know I am always reccomending books, but both of these are well worth reading (especially Confederacy of Dunces). All the hot dog news fit to print in Managing Ignatius.

    #10
    Adjudicator
    Sirloin
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/14 11:58:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by signman

    Are you talking about a hot dog cart or a permanent freestanding building.


    A cart on wheels that can be towed behind a vehicle. I have seen them available between 3K & 4K.
    #11
    EdSails
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/14 16:22:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    I've had a yen for a number of years to buy an abandoned little diner near Treasure Island in the St Pete, Fl area. The place is really run down, has virtually no parking, and I don't know a damn thing about short order cooking or how to run a business. People with more sense than I point out that all of that makes me a typical naive would-be restauranteur.

    My idea is to open only for breakfast - coffee, fantastic egg dishes, pastries, fresh fruits, and pancakes. Maybe some wines, cheeses and cold meats for those with a continental taste. My clients would come by invitation only and any who did not measure up would be stricken from the list . My diners would love me, love my food, and I would love them
    and be back to the beach by 11 am every day....


    That's an absolutely ridiculous idea.......do you need a partner?
    Gotta serve some conch fritters though.....
    #12
    EliseT
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/15 06:18:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Mayhaw Man

    Anyone who is interested in reading about the trials and tribulations of "Hot Dog Stand Operation" should read "Managing Ignatius". It was written several years ago by Jerry Strahan. He is in the history department at UNO and was a protege of Stephen Ambrose and Doug Brinkley was his adviser while Jerry was working on his Master's. This book is about the real life of everyday "Ignatius O'Reilly's. Jerry took over the Lucky Dog operation while he was in college and ended up buying the company. There is a lot of practical everyday business advice for "weenie vendors" and also lots of anecdotal stories about life on the street in NEw Orleans. There is a great story about the battle with the State Health Dept. about the redesign of the cart. The book is well written and hysterically funny. And for those of you that have visited New Orleans and thought the French Quarter was an interesting place full of "colorful" characters, your suspicions will be confirmed. The other book about Hot Dog Vending in NEw Orleans is "Confederacy of Dunces". I cannot reccomend it highly enough. Hysterically funny and about as good a "slice of life" book about New Orleans in the 50's as you can find. John Kennedy OToole wrote the book and then proceeded to go crazy after he could not get it published. He eventually killed himself, but his mom was able to present the book to a local publisher and Walker Percy. Through Percy's influence, the book was eventually published and has become required reading in all decent Southern Lit. classes.

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Managing+Ignatius&userid=33MN224K2L&cds2Pid=946

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Confederacy+of+Dunces&userid=33MN224K2L&cds2Pid=946

    I know I am always reccomending books, but both of these are well worth reading (especially Confederacy of Dunces). All the hot dog news fit to print in Managing Ignatius.




    Confederacy of Dunces is my favorite book of all time. They have also published a paper he wrote for school which was found much later. Although nothing can reach the height of "Dunces" the Neon Bible is well worth the read. Now I must buy "Managing Ignatius"!

    As for advice for Adjudicator, just from the perspective of a customer, I have noticed that the dog stands that do best spend alot of time looking for "voids" and filling them. If you can find a trade school or factory with no fast food places within 3 blocks, you are set. Near subway stations and corners where many buses trasfer are also good. But the best place ever, is outside the bars and nightclubs at closing time. You could sell ANYTHING there.
    #13
    seafarer john
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/15 07:40:50 (permalink)
    Confederacy of Dunces is one of the funniest books ever written- I loved it.
    What ever happened to the movie they were making a few years ago based
    the book?

    BTW We were in NO shortly after reading the book visiting a relative who lived
    in the Garden District. We made some attempt to find locations mentioned in
    the book, but gave up when we became hopelessly confused without a native
    NO guide.
    #14
    LizzieR
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/21 21:58:43 (permalink)
    Visit Boothbay Harbor, Maine and you will find Brud's hot dog cart. He's rude, the dogs are brown and he doesn't have many condiments but people have been going there for years. This year, however, the city fathers almost closed him down because of his lack of cleanliness. He keeps forgetting to use plastic gloves!
    #15
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/21 22:51:34 (permalink)
    Seafarer John,
    I just saw this post. Shoot me an email next time you are here. I can show you the whole book and get you a tour of the weenie barn. One of the most "New Orleans" things you can do is go down and watch all of those characters roll out of the barn. Incidentally, my best friend, and fellow tour guide is a Merchant working out of San Francisco. He is a chief on the APL China (this time out). We cab probably find somewhere decent to eat lunch as well

    Elise,

    Did you find Managing Ignatius?

    Brooks
    #16
    howard8
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/22 12:21:21 (permalink)
    I operated a sabrett hot dog stand for its owner in the mid 1960's near a park in nj. I did have to get a food handlers liscence. There were politics and pay offs involved in order to be allowed to do business in one location. This practice may vary according to local government ordinance and the relative boredom and attitude of the local police. The job was rewarding in that I ate a lot of hot dogs and continue to love them. People that enjoy your product will come back and go out of their way to do so. Our draw was the onion sauce made by the boss's wife. The people contact was great and the set up and clean up minimal. I have often thought about doing the same thing again almost forty years later.
    #17
    seafarer john
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/23 14:39:00 (permalink)
    Mahaw: Thank's for the invitation. it would be a Hellofalot of fun to have a native
    guided tour of NO and to relive that great book. When we next get to NO we will surely contact you.
    Do you know anything about the movie that was annouced for production about seven or
    eight years ago?

    Glad to learn there are still a few American merchant seamen working - all
    of the lines I worked for are long gone except Sea Train which still runs from
    NY to the Gulf Coast. A book by John McPhee, "Looking for a Ship" gives a
    bleak picture of the current state of American shipping - a far different
    world than I knew fifty years ago.
    #18
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/23 17:21:00 (permalink)
    [url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=72']Chez Lenard[/url] in Ridgefield, CT, seems to be a thriving one-of-a-kind hot dog stand. One location, one menu item (with a wide array of condiments).
    #19
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/23 22:58:51 (permalink)
    Seafarer,
    Actually, right now is as good as it has been in a while for catching out. THe entire Military Sealift COmmand got activated to go blow up Iraq, and that is completely American Merchant Marine.

    I read "Looking for a Ship" last fall. A very interesting book.

    Supposedly it is finally getting made:Search /Confederacy of Dunces Movies New Orleans/ and there is alot there or read this from Variety

    Green Tapped for 'Dunces' Hat
    After 22 years in development, Variety reports that the film version John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces has a director attached to the project. David Gordon Green has been picked by Miramax to helm the adaptation of the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel about Ignatius J. Reilly, would-be academic who suffers through a series of misadventures while living at home with his mother in 1960s-era New Orleans. Steven Soderbergh and Scott Kramer have written the screenplay, with Kramer and Flower Films partners Nancy Juvonen and Drew Barrymore producing; Barrymore will also have a not-yet-determined part in the film. The adaptation has been off-and-on for the past two decades, with various directors, producers, and studios attached, and has also been the subject of lawsuits.

    #20
    tiki
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/24 08:23:29 (permalink)
    You know if you do set a up hot dog cart--you might try setting up in front of Lowes. Theres a guy out in Chico Ca that does---"The Hippie Hot Dog Stand"---does a booming business--contractors pull in there all the time and grab one to eat while they are there and have him bag a bunch for the crew to pick up on the way out.I worked at the park down the road and did it frequently. I think the manager didnt mind him out there because his employees were never late for lunch after he started setting up out front--and he had the use of the overhang of the building to shade him and keep the rain off, He also had a habit of taking customers pictures on his digital camera and telling them to stop by again and get the prints--folks are suckers for their own pics and he got lots of return business out of it---and besides--he had a great dog!
    #21
    EliseT
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    RE: Hot Dog Stands 2003/08/24 08:34:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Mayhaw Man

    Seafarer John,
    I just saw this post. Shoot me an email next time you are here. I can show you the whole book and get you a tour of the weenie barn. One of the most "New Orleans" things you can do is go down and watch all of those characters roll out of the barn. Incidentally, my best friend, and fellow tour guide is a Merchant working out of San Francisco. He is a chief on the APL China (this time out). We cab probably find somewhere decent to eat lunch as well

    Elise,

    Did you find Managing Ignatius?

    Brooks


    OK, I just jumped over to Amazon and bought it along with Raising Ignatius.

    But my head is aswirl with fantasies of the great photos I could get of streaming steaming hot dog carts rolling out into the world. Sign me up for the Ignatius tour! (Already have my photo hanging all over his statue).
    #22
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