Opening night tonight! Any advice?

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mdr411
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2012/10/04 09:56:06 (permalink)

Opening night tonight! Any advice?

Tonight is our opening night.  It's drizzly and foggy now, hoping it dries up before 10:00 pm when the umbrella raises up!  We're ready to go, almost lol.   I'm opening outside the bars in a major college city and I'll be there when the bars close, right outside of 3 bars and across the street from a brewery! 
 
I'm a little nervous/excited, hoping the cart that I built holds up for the amount of dogs that I'll be cooking. I'm like 99% sure I'm ready but I have NEVER done this before so it's all new.  Any advice for the first night?!
#1

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    edthecncman
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 10:24:56 (permalink)
    The best of luck to you..hope all works out well..please keep us posted
    #2
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 12:02:14 (permalink)
    Break a dog...mdr!!

    Considering your location and the current state of affairs...avoid conversations about baseball.


    I'm serious. Go Red Sox....but shhhh.
    #3
    Tristan225
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 14:14:39 (permalink)
    Depends........HAVE FUN
    post edited by Tristan225 - 2012/10/04 14:18:11
    #4
    rjspaulding
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 14:24:18 (permalink)
    Have fun doing it & Best of Luck!
     
    #5
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 14:53:08 (permalink)
    Don't depend on depends. Go before you leave home.
    #6
    mdr411
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 15:03:44 (permalink)
    Haha I like the depends comment, I am actually going to limit my liquid intake before I head up there, just in case!  Thanks for all of the support, you guys have been very helpful throughout the build.  We have  a facebook page, it's pretty bare now but we'll take pics tonight and I'll post some pics so everyone can see the cart and how tonight turns out.  Can't believe tonight is the night, I only hope I can sell a few dogs! 
    #7
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 16:03:14 (permalink)
    He wouldnt need those with some creative extra hosing.
    but he would also have to stay near the cart. really close.
     
    #8
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 16:24:57 (permalink)
    Then TLC shows up to shoot an episode of My Strange Addiction...hot dog cart.
    #9
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 17:24:29 (permalink)
    As for advice....show up early so you don't rush things or if you forget something.
    Have a check list, and be like Santa. If you have multiple people involved, don't count on someone else doing something.
    Take notes on what you can do better next time.
    Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Don't burn yourself.
    Have plenty of change. If you start building up a "wad", stash some away from your working cash.
    Listen to people so you know what they want.
    Have fun, don't look nervous, and don't expect things to be perfect.On the job training in the line of fire. If business sucks, remember, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY!!
    If your food is good, it will build.
    #10
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 18:04:43 (permalink)
    bring lots of food in ice chests for backup. dont forget a few pairs of tongs too, steam table burns smart.
    and all the rest of paper products you will need to wrap and serve. and stuff for people togo. err and a change apron to handle the cash.
    #11
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 18:17:38 (permalink)
    Bring something like Advil...and make sure you sleep afterwards. Those are hard hours when you're not used to them.
    #12
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/04 18:53:59 (permalink)
    steam your dogs in beer.
     
    #13
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 07:31:19 (permalink)
     Waiting to hear your report.
    #14
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 14:47:21 (permalink)
    maybe they got hot meat and cold feet?
     
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 15:02:19 (permalink)
    It's getting cold on a dime...now.

    From upper 70s to low in the 40s at night...starting tonight.

    He'll have a bunch to share.
    #16
    Tristan225
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 18:54:27 (permalink)
    Might of killed him-or he made so much he went on vacation to Hawaii.
    Thought I was freezing my butt off today at a windy 48 degrees. wimp.
     
    #17
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 19:07:07 (permalink)
    He better have been watching those bills...or maybe he's waiting for us to raise bail?
    #18
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 19:09:07 (permalink)
    It is hard work. the hound is a tough boss.
    something it's another get rich easy deal.
    but it's just another be independent deal.
    I hope the hound didnt take down another hopeful.
    If you want to get around, you have to dance with the hound.
     
    #19
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 19:20:04 (permalink)
    Are you working on a Lounge Act out there? I see failure in it.
    #20
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 19:54:34 (permalink)
    What, you mean my jokes are a real DOG?
     
    #21
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 21:17:22 (permalink)
    BpCBlake

    What, you mean my jokes are a real DOG?

    Yes.

    #22
    Foodborne Wellness
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/06 22:21:46 (permalink)
    Well if he started on Thurs nite, Fri and Sat would have been busy as heck. Therefore i would not expect to hear from the OP until Sunday afternoon.
    #23
    mdr411
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/09 10:27:18 (permalink)
    Hey all, no worries I'm still here lol I'm pretty busy on the weekends so I usually check in here on the first day of the work week.  Opening night went great!  The rain held off and it was drizzly and muggy but warm enough to roll my sleeves up.  The night started off slow but as the night went on it picked up.  There were a few big rushes where all of a sudden 10 people would magically appear in line, that was tough but I made it through.  Since I had my girl helping me do the money there was no waiting for customers.  There was one point where I came pretty close to not having enough cooked dogs to serve but I made it down to the last dog!  It took a little while to figure out how many dogs to have ready and hot and when to put more in. 
     
    The late night college crowd was very entertaining!  We saw college chicks wearing close to nothing (the mini skirt is back with a vengeance!), a few fights, barefoot people, students being kicked out of bars, all kinds of things!  I had one cop come over and ask if I had permits.  I told him, oh yeah, I have a binder full, would you like to see them?  He said no it's ok just checking, we talked for a bit then he took off. 
     
    The thing that really surprised me was how many people had opinions on how to run a hot dog cart!  Apparently, everyone is an expert.  Also, there were many who thought that we wanted to hear their life story and they seemed to enjoy hanging around the cart.  I don't mind talking to people at all, I enjoy it, but really people don't you have anything else to do rather than talk to the hot dog guy for 30 minutes?! lol 
     
    1. I need larger signs.  Alot of people walking by had to come up close to the cart to see/ask what we were selling and what the prices were.  2. We barely sold any chips/soda/water.  I guess this crowd is only interested in dogs.  A couple times people actually said they couldn't drink any more since they had been drinking all night!  Based on that I'm going to change the menu and rather than have meal deals I'll have the price for 1 dogs, 2 dogs, 3 dogs, then one meal deal at the bottom. 
     
    Also, I am using Kayem dogs, which I think are delicious, and had many comments on how delicious they were, one guy actually came back for a second and third time!  But I'm thinking maybe I could buy cheaper dogs to use for this late niht drunk college student crowd and save the kayems for daylight hours where people would actually appreciate them! 
     
    All in all it was great and I can't wait to get back out there Thursday!
    #24
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/09 12:51:26 (permalink)
    Great news!!

    Congratulations mdr!!!
    #25
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/09 17:58:56 (permalink)
    It's amazing what you learn on your first gig. I love hearing first day stories.
    Yep, have big clear signs.
    And you learned a drunk wants something to stuff in their mouths. The 1,2,3 dog idea shows you learn quick and will do alright. Maybe push the two dog thing.(One for each hand).
    Not sure I'd cut the quality of dogs. Maybe offer two dogs. Two Kayems for xxx or 3 Brand X for the same price. Some won't care, just wanna stuff themselves, others didn't drink as much, can still taste things.
    I think you'll do alright.
    #26
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/09 18:07:36 (permalink)
    Next challenge, keeping warm, negotiating snow covered roads, etc.
    #27
    jcheese
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/09 19:05:45 (permalink)
    OK, here's a thought....
    Back when I was that age, I remember taking the party to one of our house's when the bar's closed. We kept on partying. Now we could "Smoke".....
    Make a "Party Pack"....Twenty-four dogs, wrapped up. Packages of most popular condiments. Make it a party plate. They will be drunk stupid and buy it. As a bonus, sneak in a bunch of Dessert items. Like Mini-Snickers (Fun-size). Or pudding........Munchie's.......make money off it.
    #28
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/09 22:07:45 (permalink)
    Pudding is a good Munchie snack. So I hear.
    #29
    Foodborne Wellness
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    Re:Opening night tonight! Any advice? 2012/10/10 22:22:15 (permalink)
    The "Low price leader" can be a double edged sword, so be careful. If you have a generic dog for a buck less than the Kayem (or whatever premium dog you normally sell). What I do is on the generic dog, there is no choice of condiments. Mustard and relish and that's it. You want premium condiments, buy one of the premium dogs.
     
    The key is to maintain profit margin, not just on a spreadsheet but on the street. That means that your Dogs Per Hour for the low price leader needs to be higher (like double or more). If you can have them done up ahead during the slow minutes (I can imagine inebriated folks being allowed to build their own) you are then making dead, zero profit minutes and making them worth something...
     
     
    #30
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