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 Please evaluate my hot dog business plan...

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rickmalek

  • Total Posts: 356
  • Joined: 7/9/2006
  • Location: Bowling Green, KY
Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Thu, 02/8/07 10:33 PM (permalink)
Hello all here on Roadfood. Sorry for the length of the post...

For the past 6 months I have been a regular lurker on this site and have picked up lots of information. Now that it is time to start spending money and really putting everything in place I thought I might solicit some advice from those here more experienced than me....

Here is the starting plan: A New York style, Sabrett, red-onions and kraut centered cart, that I will work for special events. Let me explain....

I live in the mid-sized and rapidly growing town of Bowling Green,KY. We are a pretty cosmopolitan town with a huge contingent of college kids and also a ton of Yankee transplants (like me). I used to be a partner in a pizza store in town and have worked the restaurant business here for many years, so I feel like I know the community.

I decided last summer that the whole "working for somebody else" bit was not a good long term plan and that I need to return to the land of self employment. One barrier to this is that I will never borrow money again, for anything, and it is difficult to open a restaurant without debt, so I look for different avenues I could return to self employment in the restaurant business, without debt.

I briefly focused on doing a frozen pizza business, but one day I was hungry for a good hot dog and could not get one anywhere in town, so I am doing a hot dog cart!

Being that this is a medium sized town in southern Kentucky, its not every day that someone comes along and proposes to start selling hot dogs, especially with something so odd as red onion sauce! My biggest obstacle to launching this business has been navigating the overlapping sets of laws that have been passed regarding such a venture.

The crux of my problem was/is that Kentucky law allows pushcart vendors to operate as independent units with no commissary provided that the unit have a 3 compartment sink and hand wash station (standard in many states) but the cart may NOT serve hot toppings.

The other option I have to operate an enclosed cart and then I can do anything I want, as I am considered a "mobile food unit".

This forced me to consider the third option, which is to operate a cart with all the 4 sinks AS WELL AS find a commissary. Apparently, so long as I have both, I can serve the heated toppings. I have to heat the toppings at the commissary and transport them at temperature to my cart.

While I have worked out the health department issue, I also am running into the issue that local law does not allow for pushcart vendors in the city limits on streets and sidewalks, except for special events, in which case I will need a special events permit. I can set up on private property so long as I have the owners permission and it is zoned for business.

Rather than leap into any set location, and being that Bowling Green is a town that has an amazing number of summer fairs and concerts and events and festivals, I decided that my best short term course of action is to work all those fairs, maybe make some mistakes and get the town introduced to my product. Some other avenues I plan to chase this first summer is to market myself to big companies as their one-stop solution for employee picnics (We have over 100 big industries in the community) as well as market to all the big churches in town to work their VBS's as a way to feed the kids on the cheap.

I plan on doing a lot of one on one guerrilla marketing, a MySpace page, a lot of personal contact, etc...

Longer term, I have spoken to some friends in politcs and I have been assured I could get local code changed and have my cart permitted to operate on the town square. I am pretty sure that I would have more business than I can handle, certainly enough to make it worth my while.

If that does not pan out, I have several high volume businesses that I could operate near/ in front of. Thats really an issue to work out a little later.

I have a commissary, the local UAW Hall. My political contacts made that happen.

Obtaining Sabrett product has been a pain, but apparently I will be able to make that happen too.

I do plan on doing hot dog University, but I just can't afford it until mid-summer.

Here is my budget...

Hot Dog Budget: $4,000

Cart- $2,150
Trailer Hitch- $150
Licensing/Fees- $150
Insurance- $300
Public Relations- $300
Misc. Equipment Costs- $150
Shipping- $300
Other Misc…- $100
Start Up Food Cost- $400

Please, tear apart my plan...Tell me what I am doing wrong. I would appreciate all criticism and take it constructively.

Thanks for reading such a long post.
 
#1
    bassrocker4u2

    • Total Posts: 534
    • Joined: 11/12/2003
    • Location: new holland, PA
    RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 9:37 AM (permalink)
    sounds great to me. i have been to bowling green many times(my ex has family there). great business idea. i think you can probably reduce your start up cost quite a bit. your plans have been well thought out, and you seem very savy. how about your food cost? menu, pricing. have you been around the world on those thoughts? good luck with the city gov, keep trying and you will find the loop-holes that will allow you inside the city all the time....
     
    #2
      rouxdog

      • Total Posts: 1421
      • Joined: 3/18/2005
      • Location: Carrizozo, NM
      RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 11:02 AM (permalink)
      Some good thinking you've done. Weaving your way through regs. seems you're on top of. BG, KY is a very nice place. Here's my two cents worth. Over simplifying and exaggerating,I say a hot dog is a hot dog. I love hot dogs! Sometimes bun, dog and a squirt of cheap mustard is perfect. then other times, I might be in the mood to top off with diced onions(white, reds are for fancy salads, thats another day), relish, or maybe chili. Some folks like ketchup, to me thats for fries. How far do you want to go with condiments? New York, Chicago, wisc., California probably uses soy dogs with granola and the list could go forever.
      Think about your potential customers and the environment you are marketing in(EVENTS around Bowling Green). Don't get hung up on product supplier names, people don't care. It's a hot dog!!
      Basics: a decent fresh bun and a decent weenie about the same length as the bun making sure both are heated and textured lovingly. Provide the basic condiments with a winning smile!
      KISMIF......... Keep It Simple, Make It Fun!
      I love hot dogs! I wish you success and fun!
      rouxdog
       
      #3
        dreamzpainter

        • Total Posts: 1609
        • Joined: 2/6/2005
        • Location: jacksonville, FL
        RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 3:02 PM (permalink)
        I have to agree with Roux, people looking for a quick meal aren;t to worried about brand name dogs, as long as it's a good dog. I don't however agree red onions are just for fancy salads, they're my everyday onion. Id suggest you do a poll on what people in the area like on their dogs and follow that, if the majority of people say chickpeas... then you serve chickpeas. As for the fairs and other events there's been a lot of discussions around the forum on that subject, it usually seems they are very dificult to get into. Find a good location to set up daily and Best of luck to you
         
        #4
          rouxdog

          • Total Posts: 1421
          • Joined: 3/18/2005
          • Location: Carrizozo, NM
          RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 5:41 PM (permalink)
          Drmzpntr, we're good!! Perhaps we should form a LLC restaurant consulting business. We're reading from the same page trying to give rickmalek what he asked for, advice(mines cheap). I didn't want him to know, but I was coming from a tough love perspective. We have the good cop bad cop thing going on. I enjoy red onions sometimes. When I stated white(yellow?) onion, my point was people buying a hot dog don't decide to buy based on the color of the onion you offer. Besides, where I live quality reds are not always available and generally cost more. Cost management is vital to a hot dog cart, hence a reasonable price and a reasonable profit.
          Sounds like our friend has a vision to impose a New Yorkish type dog on people in Bowling Green. Tell me if I'm wrong. I'm sure his vision is getting encouragement from folks, UAW and the VFW. Talk is cheap, I'm proving that. Don't try to push(some will enjoy)that NY cooked red onion concoction down the peoples throut. Sabrett dogs? Who cares. Sauerkraut offering seems would be low cost to you, easy to perk up, good touch.
          Measure your market, givum what they are looking for. This ain't souffle it's street food! I like hot dogs!
          I admire our entreprenaur, also wish you the very best. keep us posted.

          rouxdog
           
          #5
            chicagostyledog

            • Total Posts: 3218
            • Joined: 9/10/2003
            • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
            RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 8:07 PM (permalink)
            I disagree. Branding is an extremely important piece of marketing, particularly a hot dog cart. I don't sell hot dogs. I market them. The vendor isn't the star. The food is. I use the free marketing materials from Vienna Beef: metal signs, umbrellas, hats, counter top point of sale displays, menu boards, hats, and aprons. People in Chicago and Milwaukee brand with the Vienna Beef. It screams the concept of the Chicago style hot dog. What you see, is what you get. People are visual learners. Colors are important. McDonald's uses red and yellow. So does Vienna. These are hot dog colors. McDonald's posts pictures of their food directly in front of the customer with the prices located in a designated position on the photo. This is part of the science of marketing(movement of the eyes when observing things). I've used these techniques for years. Food companies invest heavily to market their product so business owners can reap the benefits. Determine the most popular brand of hot dog in your area as a starting point of what you intend to sell. Observe the competition. Determine who's the most successful and figure out how you can imrove on their success. Danny Meyer, owner of the Shake Shack in Central Park successfully markets Vienna Beef Chicago style hot dogs in the city with the most hot dog carts in the United States. While everyone else is selling Sabrett and Hebrew National, Danny is specializing. The name of the game in the food service business is differentiation. The food industry at large is now just beginning a general movement toward specialization, but some innovative entrepreneurs have gotten a head start. Specializing in a single product can be a big gamble. How do you know which specialty will attract the crowds and the money? This is where due dilligence and research come into play. What food will make you stand out? When I started selling hot dogs in Wisconsin, all I sold were jumbo Polish. My customers thought they were the greatest tasting encased meat they had ever had and I hooked my nitche in the market.

            CSD


            Business Instructor
            www.hotdogu.com
             
            #6
              rouxdog

              • Total Posts: 1421
              • Joined: 3/18/2005
              • Location: Carrizozo, NM
              RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 8:53 PM (permalink)
              CSD,
              You're the man. We're probably about the same age. I retired and hightailed it out of Chicago as I believe you did.
              Bowling Green ain't Chicago nor Milwaukee. Branding and facades are important in the aforementioned areas. Branding competition for a hot dog sale seems rather insignificant where I live as well as I sense Bowling Green might be.
              I certainly agree that taking advantage of promo gimmes from providers is a good idea if the added on costs justifies.
              Offer the consumer a quality product for a reasonable price while making a reasonable profit.
              Again, CSD, you are the man. Respectfully offering our friend my opinion. Think we've confused him enough for one day?
              rouxdog
               
              #7
                chicagostyledog

                • Total Posts: 3218
                • Joined: 9/10/2003
                • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
                RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 9:33 PM (permalink)
                Rouxdog, everyone has their own opinions and what works for one, may not work for another. When I post, it's purely from my experience. Like everything in life, there's a learning curve. That curve is never the same for two people. I'll hit the big six O this September, with 52 years of food service experience starting behind the soda fountain at my dad's drug store on the west side. I was eating Polish on Maxwell Street back in the fifties. As a retired educator, marketing, and sales have run through my veins for years. I always had a second job in sales and service. Last year, I combined my two passions: sales and teaching and opened up Hot Dog University.

                Take Care.

                CSD
                 
                #8
                  rickmalek

                  • Total Posts: 356
                  • Joined: 7/9/2006
                  • Location: Bowling Green, KY
                  RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Fri, 02/9/07 11:49 PM (permalink)
                  First, THANK YOU! The fact that you people are debating the ins and outs of my plan is very helpful. I half think I should just shut up and take notes, but I feel like I need to plug in some more details.

                  Let me lay out several thoughts....

                  1)The Community: I need to describe the community I live in a little bit better. Bowling Green is a city of about 50,000 people, so it is a good sized city, but it is very cosmopolitan, far, far more so than your typical southern city of this size.

                  We have a lot of people with money here who are well traveled and surprisingly sophisticated. We also, have a pretty significant population of Yankee transplants.

                  Another thing that I don't think I mentioned is that we have a big university here that brings in a bunch of people from the Northeast, Western Kentucky University. After Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana New York and New Jersey are states number 4 and 5 with kids at WKU.

                  2) I need to mention that there is a lady in town who has a hot dog cart. She sells Chicago Vienna Beef 1/4 pound dogs for 3 bucks in front of the Lowes about 8 months a year and she works a few special events. A "New York" style dog would be a direct contrast to her product.

                  3) ME!!! Let me lay out a bit of background about me, and I think this is important to understand too...

                  I am not Rick. I am not "Fat Rick". I am "Rick, the guy from New York"

                  I came to Bowling Green at age 18 and got very involved in local politics from day one. I have gotten to know, literally, thousands of people in this town and the fact that I was from New York was an obvious part of my identity.

                  The fact that pretty much everyone knows me as Rick, the guy from New York, make my decision to do a New York style hot dog a no-brainer.

                  This leads me to the next though...

                  4) Marketing and Branding: A little more on me. My background is that of a political campaign manager and a marketer and a salesman more than a resturanteer... I got involved in the whole restaurant
                  business by accident. I first bought into a pizza store here in Bowling Green about 8 years ago on the thought that as a part owner my responsibility was to sell our product like it was a political candidate.

                  I did so. My partner underestimated my ability as a salesman and we got murdered. Long story, but I know that I can make business happen, as I think like a salesman.

                  I defiantly think that the concept that I envisioned on day one, a REAL hot dog cart that represents an authentic experience is going to make me stand out. My ability to sell this business is exactly what makes me want to do it. The idea of going out and making people want to come visit my business is, to me, the easiest part of the whole deal.

                  5) I am giving myself a trial run by just working special events and stuff. If the overwhelming response to my product over the course of the summer is that they hate a real hot dog and want the mushy Wal-Mart hot dogs, then I'll just buy those too and sell them at the same price and make even more profit. Good enough for me.

                  I'm sure I'll have more thoughts, but I honestly appreciate all of your advice. Thanks for taking interest in my situation.
                   
                  #9
                    oklaburger

                    • Total Posts: 3
                    • Joined: 1/12/2007
                    • Location: Ponca City, OK
                    RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 1:20 AM (permalink)
                    ...Just a quick comment re: branding and hot dog quality.

                    I'm not sure brand is as important as flavor/quality. The best hot dog I've ever had in my life was in Boston at the train station. It was a white dog, and I probably had my usual mustard and onions -- but I don't remember the brand.

                    This type of hot dog is simply not available in Oklahoma (nor anywhere else in the southwest, to my knowledge). If Sabrett is a premium hot dog, I'd go with that. My instinct tells me that most people would learn to appreciate a special hot dog rather than a weiner they could just as easily boil in water at home.

                    Rob
                     
                    #10
                      rouxdog

                      • Total Posts: 1421
                      • Joined: 3/18/2005
                      • Location: Carrizozo, NM
                      RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 1:28 AM (permalink)
                      Rick,
                      I wish you well. I've previously presented my advice, plain, simple, no frills.
                      Go to CSD's University. Maybe he has a scholarship program to get you under his tutelege earlier than you hoped for. I hereby offer, for free, don't need to leave your chair, my unaccredited University's degree if you will read the following statement. Vision, commitment, hard work and honesty will lead you to success and happiness. Serve the customers needs with a smile.
                      If you read and digested, you are a graduate. You've been a good student!
                       
                      #11
                        genewj

                        • Total Posts: 370
                        • Joined: 9/2/2006
                        • Location: Bradenton, FL
                        RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 1:52 AM (permalink)
                        All the advise given U is just fine!Now for a bit more!
                        Go to Sam's, or the equivalent and see what dogs they are selling! Then talk to the guy who puts them on the shelf and see what sells the BEST. If u have seen pictures of my cart here on the forum, U will note my Umbrellas..They sell the type of dogs I do..Great advertizements..Like I've said many timeas FEED them what they want to EAT, with a SMILE and U will be successful!
                         
                        #12
                          rouxdog

                          • Total Posts: 1421
                          • Joined: 3/18/2005
                          • Location: Carrizozo, NM
                          RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 2:05 AM (permalink)
                          TIMEOUT!!!!!!!
                          Lets stop and welcome a first time poster, Oklaburger who calls home Ponca City, Oklahoma. Okieburger,thanks for producing the fuel which keeps my big Dodge Hemi hauling my cattle down the road! You help put meat(and hot dogs) on tables around the country!!!!
                          rouxdog
                          PS.I ranch in southern New Mexico.
                           
                          #13
                            oklaburger

                            • Total Posts: 3
                            • Joined: 1/12/2007
                            • Location: Ponca City, OK
                            RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 12:00 PM (permalink)
                            Thanks, Rouxdog. At one time, 10% of the world's above-ground oil reserves were stored in tanks at Ponca City (Marland Oil, the predecessor of Conoco). Of course, that was back in the 1930s.

                            By the way, we don't boil hot dogs at our house. I use seasoned grapeseed oil in a cast iron skillet with a small amount of water. As the water steams up and evaporates around the hot dogs, it leaves the oil to add some crispness to the casings.

                            I've often thought about opening a small gourmet hot dog business featuring this technique as well as home-made condiments (mustards, relishes, slaws, etc., but no ketchup!). My only real competition would be Sonic Drive-In.

                            In any case, best wishes to everyone here, especially rickmalek and his new business.
                             
                            #14
                              dreamzpainter

                              • Total Posts: 1609
                              • Joined: 2/6/2005
                              • Location: jacksonville, FL
                              RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 2:11 PM (permalink)
                              While I bow to the knowledge of CSD, Im speaking as a consumer and only for myself but when I come out of HomeDepot all Im interested in is a convenient snack and the only sign I pay attention to is the menu and price list. If there is no menu, I ask for a dog,mustard,onion and relish and a cola. But then again we don't have vendors on every corner giving a lot of choices
                               
                              #15
                                genewj

                                • Total Posts: 370
                                • Joined: 9/2/2006
                                • Location: Bradenton, FL
                                RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 2:40 PM (permalink)
                                U'R NOT ALONE!!!
                                 
                                #16
                                  rouxdog

                                  • Total Posts: 1421
                                  • Joined: 3/18/2005
                                  • Location: Carrizozo, NM
                                  RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 3:33 PM (permalink)
                                  Okie, I don't boil either.
                                  Grill outdoors or castiron skillet in the house. Sometimes split and prep, actually I may like this method the best. I give loving attn. to prepping the bun. I've stated earlier, my add ons.
                                  HEY RICK!, you're why we are doing this to begin with, an earlier brief post by "genewj" contains much wisdom. Read it again!!!!!!
                                  NOW GET OFF YOUR BUTT, GET YOUR STUFF AND START SELLING SOME DOGS!!!!
                                  Okie, please tell us about that "seasoned grapeseed oil"? What do you like about it, where can I get it??
                                  rouxdog
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Matt Gleason

                                    • Total Posts: 689
                                    • Joined: 12/25/2006
                                    RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 4:07 PM (permalink)
                                    How are you buying your Sabrett hot dogs, locally or via UPS? If you are buying online then try some other brands of dogs like Thumann's, Sahlen's etc.
                                    Don't count on the hot dog either, many packing companies discontinue brands or go out of business.

                                    Create a catchy name for your cart and create an act that goes with it, there is nothing worse than walking up to a zombie selling hot dogs, say something other than the price.

                                    HDK
                                     
                                    #18
                                      UncleVic

                                      • Total Posts: 6025
                                      • Joined: 10/14/2003
                                      • Location: West Palm Beach, FL
                                      • Roadfood Insider
                                      RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 4:11 PM (permalink)
                                      What I see missing from your business plan is quarterly sales projections.
                                      You need to determine your income, costs, fees, etc and work it into your plan. Determine how much product you need to sell everyday to meet this goal (even if your part time, you still should be doing this). Also, come up with a sub plan if these projections are not met. You need to figure out what to do to fix the problem. (i.e. change location, some sort of marketing, different product, pricing, etc).
                                      Just my couple pennys worth! And wishing you the best of luck there...
                                       
                                      #19
                                        porkchopexpress

                                        • Total Posts: 798
                                        • Joined: 9/29/2006
                                        • Location: White House, TN
                                        RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sat, 02/10/07 4:52 PM (permalink)
                                        Hey Rick send me an email and we will discuss several things. I live near BG and have done several events there. I don't do them anymore because the rent was high and they over booked food but you may have better luck than I did. My best friend from high school owns a bar a block off of downtown near banks a very heavly populated road. They don't open till late 7pm or 8pm you might work something out with him and try it there during the day. Send me an email and I'll help you anyway I can
                                         
                                        #20
                                          rickmalek

                                          • Total Posts: 356
                                          • Joined: 7/9/2006
                                          • Location: Bowling Green, KY
                                          RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sun, 02/11/07 12:36 AM (permalink)
                                          Some more answers...

                                          I forgot to tell you the name... Fat Ricks Yummy Yankee Dogs. My business e-mail is fatricksyummyyankeedogs@gmail.com.

                                          I agree that the exact brand is not vital, but the brand identification is. I don't HAVE to have Sabrett dogs. I am open to Thumans, Boars Head etc...

                                          I AM doing HDU, I just might not be able to attend the first or second class of the season.

                                          It looks like I will get my product locally.

                                          What did I miss?

                                          Thanks, everyone.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            rouxdog

                                            • Total Posts: 1421
                                            • Joined: 3/18/2005
                                            • Location: Carrizozo, NM
                                            RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sun, 02/11/07 5:10 AM (permalink)
                                            Rick,
                                            A little, perhaps a bit more, tough love here. You come across as a lotta talk, no action!!!I've earned my living, I'm retired so I can afford to screw around on the internet. If you want a hot dog cart, PLEASE go buy the damn thing, getta photo of the first puppy you sell, post it so we can all shout hurray!
                                            With much respect for CSD (savvy businessman), why would a upstart person with good business sense($$$$$) travel from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Wisconsin to watch someone cook a hot dog and get a printed certificate stating you were there!
                                            Wake up, take to heart the FREE, GOOD and SINCERE advice folks have expressed.
                                            I certainly don't mean to offend anyone with my somewhat strong wording. Appears to me, all who've contributed made encouraging remarks.
                                            Rick, its up to you, show us what you're made of......

                                            By the way Rick, you get that cart operating, invite me up for a puppy, I'll do my best to get to Bowlinb Green!
                                            rouxdog
                                             
                                            #22
                                              rickmalek

                                              • Total Posts: 356
                                              • Joined: 7/9/2006
                                              • Location: Bowling Green, KY
                                              RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sun, 02/11/07 4:10 PM (permalink)
                                              Uncle Vic...

                                              I had all the numbers worked up on my old computer and the thing crashed. I have hard copies here, but I need to put that stuff back into my computer.

                                              I also have several marketing plans drawn up.

                                              Like I said earlier, I am working outdoor events, which don't start around here until April or May. I appreciate everyones feedback.

                                               
                                              #23
                                                rouxdog

                                                • Total Posts: 1421
                                                • Joined: 3/18/2005
                                                • Location: Carrizozo, NM
                                                RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Sun, 02/11/07 9:38 PM (permalink)
                                                PSST..... Snail mail it still works.
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  bassrocker4u2

                                                  • Total Posts: 534
                                                  • Joined: 11/12/2003
                                                  • Location: new holland, PA
                                                  RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Mon, 02/12/07 12:01 AM (permalink)
                                                  good idea, to work out all the numbers. good point, about the food cost, and the goals. it can be enlightening, to know how many dogs you gotta sell, just to take home min wage, for the day. and to hit that target every day, is some times alot of pressure. so....
                                                  know all that learn it, thn throw the books away, and go with your instints and your heart
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    oklaburger

                                                    • Total Posts: 3
                                                    • Joined: 1/12/2007
                                                    • Location: Ponca City, OK
                                                    RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Mon, 02/12/07 1:46 AM (permalink)
                                                    rouxdog,

                                                    Our choice of oil for saute is going to be olive oil or grapeseed oil 95% of the time. The Watkins company has some grapeseed oil infusions in addition to the straight grapeseed oil product. My favorite is the Garlic & Parsley. The grapeseed oil has a high smoke point, and the garlic & parsley infusion leaves a gentle aromatic bouquet.

                                                    Quite honestly, however, a good hot dog ought to be about the frank itself -- and, of course, some fresh buns and decent condiments.

                                                    Speaking of buns, I've had to gnaw through some fairly awful hot-dog-stand bread. ...Stale, dry, crumbly, over or under-baked, and so forth. What do the hot dog experts here recommend for bread suppliers?

                                                    rickmalek -- how will you ensure the quality of your buns/rolls?
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      rickmalek

                                                      • Total Posts: 356
                                                      • Joined: 7/9/2006
                                                      • Location: Bowling Green, KY
                                                      RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Mon, 02/12/07 1:56 AM (permalink)
                                                      I will be buying my buns fresh from the local factory that bakes them for the Kroger grocery chain. Country Oven Bakery. The factory is a mile down the road. That is already a done deal.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        Sonny Funzio

                                                        • Total Posts: 902
                                                        • Joined: 2/13/2006
                                                        • Location: Detroit, MI
                                                        RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Mon, 02/12/07 11:28 AM (permalink)
                                                        I don't have experience in this area, but here's a couple observations ...

                                                        Personally I would think getting an enclosed cart would be the way to go ... even more so a used mobile concession trailer or van. Even if you had to stretch to buy it and it was a used one ... as long as it passes. I would think this would offer greater convenience and good protection from the elements for your operation. Maybe some of the pros here have an opinion on one vs the other.

                                                        Brand marketing is crucial. Your brand is largely where you accumulate the goodwill of your customers. What CSD said in his longer post above is absolutely spot-on.

                                                        Finally, considering you'll be operating at different locations, I'd make sure that the appearance of your concession is recognizable from at least half a mile away by way of it's color (paint etc) decoration, awning or umbrella etc.

                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          Sonny Funzio

                                                          • Total Posts: 902
                                                          • Joined: 2/13/2006
                                                          • Location: Detroit, MI
                                                          RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Mon, 02/12/07 11:40 AM (permalink)
                                                          One other thing that strikes me is the name ... specifically the term "Yankee". I lived in the Nashville area in the late 1970's for a period of time and remember some distinct anti-"yankee" sentiment with some folks. It was still a sensitive topic. Maybe that sentiment doesn't exist any more, but I'm not sure if the term says something valuable.

                                                          Another bit of "food for thought": "Fat Ricks Yummy Yankee Dogs" doesn't seem to roll off the tongue cleanly ... as compared with, say for instance "Fat Ricks Yummy Dogs", "Fat Ricks Red Dogs", "Fat Ricks Devil Dogs" or even "Fat Ricks Yankee Dogs" if you decide to keep the "yankee".

                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            rickmalek

                                                            • Total Posts: 356
                                                            • Joined: 7/9/2006
                                                            • Location: Bowling Green, KY
                                                            RE: Please evaluate my hot dog business plan... Mon, 02/12/07 12:45 PM (permalink)
                                                            The name was purposely done, for several reasons...

                                                            First, I have seen the first hand the value of humor, especially self-effacing humor. Being "Fat Rick" rather than just Rick is a just a way to say to people that I don't take myself too seriously and I can laugh at myself. Its part of selling me.

                                                            The Yankee thing is more complex, but essentially the same deal. I think its fair to say that the term is more one of annoyance than hatred anymore. I AM selling "Yankee" dogs, why lie?

                                                            As for the enclosed cart, I might move up to that after the first year, but for me, I need to get in with as little money on the front end as possible....

                                                             
                                                            #30
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