Helpful ReplyOpportunity to provide lunch at businesses...

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djdawg
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2013/02/25 19:48:28 (permalink)

Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses...

HEY FOLKS: see my update that I posted on 4/8 for the latest.....
 
I did a search on this and I'm postitive there must be other threads on this subject but I can't find them.
 
There is an oil refinery locally that has about 370 employees and starting next Monday I will be on site providing lunch for anyone that wants it.  This is not a pre-paid catered deal but employees will pay for lunch themselves.  I have some thoughts and questions about this situation....here's what I know:
 
The refinery is pretty secluded.  There is not a restaurant or burger joint nearby unless they drive quite a ways into town.  There is no cafeteria for the employees.  They had a hot dog lady several years ago and I heard stories that she did very well but I also think that she serviced an additional refinery closeby that has about 3 times the amount of people that this one does.  If it's the same lady I'm thinking about, she did so well she opened up a brick and mortar shop in town and left the mobile world.  At any rate, my point is that employees are used to having a hot dogger or mobile food so I think the response might be pretty good.  I also know that the serving window is pretty small as most employees have only from 12 noon - 1pm.
 
I really have no idea what to prepare for...I've already planned on having most condiments on a side table for the employees to put on themselves.  I will still put on the chili, cream cheese, grilled onions, shredded cheese and maybe a few other things but I'll let them do the sauces.  (ketchup, mustard, etc)  I'm praying the 10% rule will not come into play here....but I don't want to cook 100 dogs and end up throwing a crapload away but I know that's the cost of doing business until I know how this is going to play out.
 
At any rate, if anyone has done much of this type of hot dog work, any pointers would be appreciated.  I do think this situation is somewhat unique since the secluded area is giving me a captured audience somewhat.  I also know that the HR person that I'm working with is getting the word out there in a major way by using posters, email, etc....she's even letting contracters know about the new dogger in town.   
 
post edited by djdawg - 2013/04/09 00:38:47
#1
Joedog
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/25 20:40:23 (permalink)
Good luck. I bet you kick ass. You better bring a friend with you to  help handle  it.  First impression is everything.
 
#2
pnwchef
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/25 21:33:15 (permalink)
I did a lunch feeding on a construction site one time, the company put in a Triple wide trailer with tables and chairs. I put in some vending machines, candy and cold food machines. I had a steam table, fryer, refer for pop. We offered burgers, hot lunch special, cake, pies, cookies and fries.............we would do between 450 and 650 per day on a one hr shot. about 100 people per day..............Your menu is limited, your also serving on private property, you can be a bit more flexible with you menu. The bigger the menu and choices, the more customers. I would rethink giving the choices you give in town, keep it simple and fast. There is no waiting at lunch, you will piss them off if the line is long.........have a table set up behind you with extra warmers if needed, expand the menu to serve up and go, have someone else take the money at the end of the line................We served 100 people in minutes....pnwc
#3
Foodbme
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/25 21:43:18 (permalink)
I'd check to see if they have staggered lunch hours. Some people go 11 to 12, some 12 to 1, some 1 to 2. If they do, it'll make your life more better!
#4
BpCBlake
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/25 22:00:03 (permalink)
yeah really. You want to see a hungry mob all get released at once? would look like recess at a grade school. hope you are a fast dogger. woah doggies
would be worse then getting a contract for the local jail.
 
post edited by BpCBlake - 2013/02/25 22:01:37
#5
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/25 22:00:38 (permalink)
Thanks guys....Yeah foodbme...we are thinking alike!  That was my first question and they do not have staggered lunch times.  I think if I stick with getting the dog in the bun and whatever warm topping they might need, then give them the dog, collect $ and move them along I should be pretty quick.  I will have help the first day just in case....
#6
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 13:45:55 (permalink)
Good news!  My door knocking is paying off...I have another manuf plant in the same area (about the same number of people - 350 or so) that is signing up.  I'll be doing them on Tuesdays....just put in a big hot dog order....now I'm nervous.  : )    They are similar as they are remote (even more remote then the Monday plant) and have no cafeteria.
#7
Poverty Pete
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 13:53:52 (permalink)
Better to be nervous than overly confident.  Just do what you're good at.  You'll be fine. 
#8
CCinNJ
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 14:03:15 (permalink)
It may just be a good time to brush-up on biscuits & gravy.
#9
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 14:10:09 (permalink)
I think I'm going to need help....time to recruit the kids!  ha ha  At least until I know what I'm getting into.  Nervous also about the freaking huge dog order I just put in....eep!  They better buy...
#10
BpCBlake
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 14:11:12 (permalink)
chicken and waffles
#11
FriedTater
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 15:34:40 (permalink)
If you can`t dazzle them with your brillance, than baffle them with your bull****.  You`ll do fine. Just look professional, even if you stomach is in knots.
 
#12
kland01s
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/02/28 16:51:12 (permalink)
Make sure you have a helper, at least at first to see how it goes.
#13
Midnite
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/01 19:00:42 (permalink)
Glad you posted this DJ,
 
I'm making the switch from the night-time bar crowd to lunch for a 300ish people office building next week and I'm curious to see the responses....Will add more thoughts a little later.
 
Midnite
#14
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 17:26:32 (permalink)
Hey guys (and girls),
 
I know that I've been accused of overthinking things but that's what I do....call me the Peyton Manning of the hot dog world, ha ha.  I want to be fully prepared in everything that I do...better that then not, right?
 
So I'm trying to decide what toppings I will have on the side table for the employees to put on, and what toppings I will continue to put on.  I need help in finalizing this...
 
All of the sauces - for lack of a better word - will be available for the employees.  Mustard, ketchup (I know, ketchup!) bbq sauce, etc. will be on the side table.  I've also decided to have the following in larger tubs for them to put on:  relish, chopped onions, sauerkraut and jalapenos.  I will still put on chili, grilled onions and cream cheese if they want.
 
The only thing I'm not sure of whether to put out for them or not is the shredded cheese.  I can portion control this better if I do it but I'm wondering if it's necessary.  And I was going to go with one big thing of mustard with a pump attachment on it but I'm wondering if it would be better to have multiple smaller bottles so more than one person can use it.  I know alot of this will depend on how many people actually come out so who knows....but any thoughts if you've done this before would be appreciated.      
post edited by djdawg - 2013/03/02 17:28:00
#15
jcheese
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 18:07:56 (permalink)
In my state, the only things customers can put on themselves has to be in a squeeze bottle. Your rules may differ.
As for cheese, I would not let them do it themselves. Besides sanitary conditions, it is pricy and they know it. So they will pile it on and probably spill a lot.
And, I would have multiple bottles. They stand in line once to buy, don't need to stand in line for mustard.
That said, ya might wanna pre-wrap a bunch of "Plain Dogs" right before the dinner bell rings. Sell them as DIY dogs for a good price. Make Combos with a number......2 dogs, chips and soda for X$ is #1 Make the chips and soda self-serve. Could even have folks in line use sign language(One finger is a #1).
Some kind of an account system could speed the line.Like a reverse loyalty card. Buy the card for, say $20-30. Ya punch it as they spend it.Two lines may make this work better.
Hope this helps.
 
 
#16
jcheese
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 18:18:32 (permalink)
Just another thought on the cheese.......
When you use it at home, how do you grab it?
I'm betting you use your fingers.
I use cheese sauce on my cart cuz shredded cheese is so hard to handle.
#17
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 18:22:09 (permalink)
Thanks guys....jcheese...when I do shredded cheese on my cart I use little black, plastic tongues like you see at Cash & Carry, Rest Depot, etc...
 
That's a great idea on the reverse loyalty card!  That could work!  I think I'll do the cheese myself.....good idea. 
#18
CCinNJ
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 18:30:48 (permalink)
Thank you for the "girls" DJ!

If you're doing the chili it really makes sense to do the cheese.

Cheese can also get ugly fast...when it's sitting around.
#19
jcheese
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 19:45:30 (permalink)
I can't imagine any HD allow folks to handle cheese. So that's decided.
Besides, cheese on chili gets a chance to melt.
Speed is gonna yer biggest challenge.They all come at once.If you can convince them to stagger lunch, even by 5 min., could make everyone happy.
Also, being at each factory only one day a week will make your food all the more special. Folks will leave their lunch box's at home on that day. Don't forget social Media to possibly take pre-orders.
#20
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 20:07:03 (permalink)
Now I'm really starting to question my layout....maybe I SHOULD do the bigger condiments like relish, sauerkraut, jalapenos and onions?  Let them do the mustard, etc but I do everything else?  How much more would this slow me down....I'm just picturing a table that is thrashed and messy with relish and onions, etc.....hmmmm.....
#21
chefbuba
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 23:15:44 (permalink)
DJ, All your stuff  needs to be squirt/pump and single serve packets/containers for self serve....you can't have open containers and let them help themselves.
#22
brickboo
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/02 23:16:00 (permalink)
I get must, relish, ketchup etc at Sam's in squeeze plastic containers and let the customer do it themselves on a table.I just put the dog or brats on the bun and hand it to them and take the money. I'll admit I don't have 50 people in line but still the mess is minimum. 
 
It doesn't take a minute to wipe a table down. Give a customer a free dog meal to hang around a while and wipe the table down if you can't bring a helper.
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djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/04 10:37:33 (permalink)
Well today is the day....nervouser than crap.  (is nervouser a word?)  I've prepped as much as I can.  I have two of my kids to help out...it could be a trickling of workers coming out or it could be a rush...I have no idea.  Going to put a bunch of dogs in the pans and wait and see....I'll take some pics of the set up....
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CCinNJ
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/04 11:03:11 (permalink)
Break a Dog...DJ!

It's just today.
#25
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/04 19:52:42 (permalink)
Well, not nearly as busy as I was hoping but I really think this place has tons of potential.
 
Are you ready?  Drumroll....28!  LOL  Needless to say I threw away a crapload of product but oh well.  I talked with the HR person about putting up more posters (I didn't see a one in the HUGE locker/bathroom....really?  Not one even on the bulletin board there? )  She sounds more than happy to put up more.  I think I'll drop her an email kind of wrapping up my thoughts about the day and encouraging her again to put up more posters.  
 
Everyone seemed very happy that we were there, so I'm sure word will spread.  The layout and set up worked well...I'll put some pics up in a couple days.  I knew that I would sell a lot of polish but didn't think I'd sell twice as many polish sausage as I did hot dogs....hot dogs have always been my #1 seller....I charge more for the polish so even though it was just 28 sales it was decent money.  Also - no surprise - sold way more meal deals than I ever did at my lunchtime downtown location.   
 
Tomorrow is the next company on the list...similar size company, no cafeteria.
 
Today I met with a third company that I had networked with and they are set to start on Thursday.  They also have around 300 people and no cafeteria.  This one is campus style location...not as blue collar and more of an equal # of women and men. 
 
We'll see how the rest of the week goes!
#26
BpCBlake
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/04 21:47:45 (permalink)
good for you. hang in there. soon as they know you are there your business will take off. the few you feed each time will tell others. people love good fresh food. thats the same with lunch trucks too. one day you will look up and see a line you wont believe.
#27
djdawg
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/04 23:13:09 (permalink)
Thanks Blake...it's nice to have those encouraging words.  I slept poorly last night because I was worried about not selling much and throwing away a bunch of stuff...which is exactly what happened today.  But even though that happened I was strangely encouraged.  Probably because of what you're thinking...I think word will spread and it will do really well! 
#28
BpCBlake
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/04 23:59:31 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
no sweat, it is rare to just find a good spot right off the bat. when you provide a good product word will spread.  you will be asked to cater events and things too. get some nice business cards made up. I see carts here in town start slowly too. they setup outside the bars and night clubs. it's all getting your product out there. always have a good fresh product.
#29
jcheese
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Re:Opportunity to provide lunch at businesses... 2013/03/05 17:49:15 (permalink)
Waitin' to hear how Day 2 went.
Also, wondering just what you are throwing out.
#30
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