re-posted from forum "Hot dogs and sausages"
Name is Leo, I am a new member from Northern Illinois. I am new to the food vending business But have been interested in starting a vending business for years, and have thought a Hot Dog Cart an excellent way to pursue my dream. Kinda a bucket list thing I guess. I found a Cart right here in town got a good price on it as it needed some work. It's a New York Street Cart from All American carts in Miami. All the needed work is done I am ready for my first Spot.
Is there anyone on this list from Illinois with a cart such as mine? I am wondering what the Health inspection(s) going to be like?
I have a BUNCH of questions. Many of them have already been answered just reading the various posts. I know I will have many more. I got my food handlers licence here in Illinois Just this week, after almost 3 month wait! That kinda killed the thought of getting my feet wet this year. I thought I would share my plans and thoughts with you guys looking for some constructive criticism (?)
I held a Hot Dog Party and invited my friends and relatives for a tasting. If anyone is interested I'll post the results. We also had a "Name the cart" page and got a bunch of great names. I decided on "Hungry Dog" Hot Dog Cart!
I plan on starting small with a "Loyal Dog" (8:1 Sams dog) my "BIG DOG" a 4:1 Nathans dog. and A Sam's Polish rounds out my everyday menu. I plan on a "Daily Dog" A different gourmet dog every day using the Big Dog. Here's my list of Daily Dogs:
BACON CHEDDAR DOG ----------------------- Heaped with bacon & Cheddar Cheese.
CONEY DOG ------------------- Covered in Meaty coney sauce, White Onions & cheese.
CAROLINA DOG ------------------------- Pulled Pork & mustard sauce & Spicy cole slaw.
BACON LETTUCE TOMATO DOG ----- Just what it says with Ranch dressing.
NEW YORK DOG ---- Famous Sabretts Red Onion Sauce, Saurkraut, Onions & Hot Mustard.
TEXAS DOG ------------------ Chili, Chili Sauce, Hot Mustard, Jalapenos & Pickled Onions.
CHICAGO DOG --------- Mustard, Onions, Neon Relish, Tomato, Pickle, sport peppers celery salt.
BURRITO DOG ------ 2 Loyal Dogs, Bacon. Chili, cheese, Onions, Jalapenos in a Burrito wrapper.
MUSHROOM SWISS DOG -------- Garlicy grilled Mushrooms, Grated Swiss, Hot Mustard.
The favorites at the tasting were the BLT Dog, the Carolina Dog and the bacon cheddar dog
Due to the size of my cart I can only manage one daily dog at a time. My next cart will have more space for sure.
I am using the Local Moose Club as a Commisary, offering to place a Moose logo on my menu.
I have contacted the local Humane society as well and told them I would like to donate a portion of every dog I sell in town. They were estatic to say the least. This alone should make obtaining locations MUCH easier (So Far anyway)
I stopped by my local Propane vender in my motorhome. My dog was in the front seat and the gas guy was playing with him.
I am quite proud of the following conversation!
Me- "His name is Buddy" I said
Gas guy - "Cute dog"
Me- "Thanks you must be a Dog lover?"
Gas guy- "Me? Oh yeah, I love dogs?"
Me- "Have you ever thought of helping out the Humane society at all?"
Gas Guy- "No ... But I would. Why are they looking for voulenteers?" He asked
Me- " I'll be selling Hot Dogs from a cart here in town starting next year. I am helping support the Humane society with the income. My cart uses Propane. Would you be interested in Donating the Propane? I will put your name and logo on my menu and a sign on my cart."
Gas Guy- "Yeah, I would go for that"
Me- "Great, Thank you! I'll come talk to you more about it this spring! I will bring a prototype menu for your approval"
Not sure if you guys have approched your gas vender with a similar request but something you should think about! Propane is a Major expence! Just a thought.
I plan on approching the larger factories in the area with the thought of inviting the Mgmt to buy lunch for their employees. I have made up a catering menu to bring them along with a regular menu to post in the lunch room. I'll also ask them If I can set up in there parking lot a day or two per month?
I plan on approching the Bridal and Tuxedo stores as well and leave cards inviting the new couple to provide a "Midnight Snack" to their guests at the reception. (a picture of the cart is on the back) Not sure if this approch is going to work or not, time will tell I guess. You guys every try anything like that?
I got a colapsable 20' flagpole at Harbor Freight tools for $50 and a Hot Dog Flag off Ebay for $5 and an "OPEN" Banner, all will fly from the flagpole while I am open for business.
Ice will be bought for my drink coolers (2) but I am planning on using ice packs for my food coolers.
In addition to dogs I will be selling chips, Potato chips (made here in Freeport) Soda, Coke, Diet Coke, 7up, Bottled Water, Bottled Root Beer, candy bars, drink powder and a huge Dill pickle on a stick. I want to expand a bit more as I gain experience.
I will be wintering in Yuma This year, unfortunatly I will not be able to bring my cart. I would be interested in working one while there or leasing a Hot Dog cart if any of you guys know of any available in that area let me know.
Next year if the HDC works out, I'll find a way to get the cart there next year!
Well I guess thats enough for now. I will look FWD to your critisiem and further Ideas