Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area.

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jcheese
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2012/10/28 19:27:00 (permalink)

Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area.

I live/vend in an area with about 15% unemployment and jobs here don't pay well. On my "street corner" gigs I get a lotta people drive up and ask "How much are yer dogs?" If they are close enough I point out my menu. Or I say it depends on what you want or say they start at $2.00. Some say "$2.00 for one hot dog!!" and drive off.
Do I want these customers? Should I carry some cheap (.89 a pack) dogs and cheap buns and sell them for a buck with no chili? Offer store brand soda and chips? Should I look at these folks as cheap SOB's, or feel sorry for their lot in life? I mean, if yer that cheap or poor, go to the store and buy a pack of dogs and buns for 2 bucks and pig out. Or maybe they are out looking for a job and need something in their stomach.
Should I have a prominent sign saying "Hot Dogs...$1.00 !!" and then up-sell them? Bait and Switch?
For the record, I serve Nathan's and a local, cheaper favorite. I do "From Scratch" Chili and Slaw and get lot's of comments that my stuff is the best in the area. At events I get non-stop lines and repeat customers.
 
As winter sets in, I need a bread and butter income. If I can sell a dog that costs me .20, hell, that's .80 I didn't have before.
#1

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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/28 19:47:09 (permalink)
    There's poor and there's poor. How poor can they be driving around in a car with gas at almost $4 a gallon?

    #2
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/28 19:52:04 (permalink)
    Down here it's $3.12, as if that's cheap. Need a job, you drive.
    #3
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/28 20:03:06 (permalink)
    I guess that's the difference here and there. You're either doing ok for yourself here...or you are poor poor. Not much in-between with the cost of living.

    #4
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/28 20:29:30 (permalink)
    Explains a hell of a lot. A Middle Class dude cruizing down the road will pull in for a GOOD road food Sausage with the Works. The 1% will pass me by.
    Po' Folk tend to be hungry, just want a quick weenie to fill their gut.
    So, I guess I should go at it all ways?
    #5
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/28 21:07:06 (permalink)
    Corner stores in "good" neighborhoods don't make more $ vs. stores in "not-so-good" neighborhoods. They just make money in different ways...and they cater to all of the customers.

    Got a headache? At store 2...here's a 2 pack. Need a cigarette? Here's a loosie.

    You do what works for you...because it's business. Your business. It's easy enough to yada yada...don't sell cheap dogs. Do what works.





    #6
    Delta
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/29 04:50:03 (permalink)
    There's no "poor" people in America now, just ask Obama, he'll tell ya.. Hell, take the govmnt food stamp card, you'll be good to go all day long...Since there is millions on it.
     
     
    Waiting for the ban....
    #7
    Hepcat
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/29 18:47:25 (permalink)
    jcheese
    Should I carry some cheap (.89 a pack) dogs and cheap buns and sell them for a buck...?

    What kind of buns do you use now? I'm asking because ordinary down to earth Wonder Bread buns work the best with regular sized wieners. The bun should present the dog; it should not compete with the dog let alone overwhelm it.
     

    #8
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/29 18:49:57 (permalink)
    it's not the size of your meat. it's what you do with it.
    you must make people want it.
    it the area is poor, let them go to the am/pm for 3 for a dollar dogs.
     
    #9
    Tristan225
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/29 21:50:24 (permalink)
    Thank for enlightening me. You do know the average daily allotment is $6.67 a day, right?.....Bonehead
    Delta

    There's no "poor" people in America now, just ask Obama, he'll tell ya.. Hell, take the govmnt food stamp card, you'll be good to go all day long...Since there is millions on it.


    Waiting for the ban....


    post edited by Tristan225 - 2012/10/29 22:04:17
    #10
    Tristan225
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/29 21:56:49 (permalink)
    If I were you (aren't you lucky you're not) I might try leaving the quality dog and sell some other low cost item. Tacos, fried bologna / spam lunch meat sammich.
    #11
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 02:18:22 (permalink)
    How about a jam sandwich?
    take 2 pieces of bread, and jam them together.
    oh stop it. you are making me hungry.
     
    post edited by BpCBlake - 2012/10/30 02:19:54
    #12
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 16:49:00 (permalink)
    Hepcat

    jcheese
    Should I carry some cheap (.89 a pack) dogs and cheap buns and sell them for a buck...?

    What kind of buns do you use now? I'm asking because ordinary down to earth Wonder Bread buns work the best with regular sized wieners. The bun should present the dog; it should not compete with the dog let alone overwhelm it.



    I use Merita brand because they are not stuck together. I can grab them from the bag with my tongs. Between $2.00 and $2.78 a 12-pack, depending on sale. When dog's are flying, these work good. I guess when waiting on customers to show up I can break up buns.
    #13
    Hepcat
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 16:54:55 (permalink)
    Yeah, those look right. They woudn't be too much bun for the dog.
     

    #14
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 17:33:47 (permalink)
    OK, I'm gonna try an Econo-dog. Cheap chicken dog on a cheap bun with Texas Pete Chili(kicked up) as an option. Slaw is cheap and I make it good, could make it what stands out.
    Don't wanna be the guy with the cheap dogs....guess I need to use sales skills to up sell.
    There is a mindset for these folks......how much is a regular Hot Dog? They wanna pay a buck for a "Plain ol Hot Dog"...I usually say I don't sell regular Hot Dogs, I sell exceptcianal Dog's.
    Not gonna compromise on my quality stuff, but I'm thinking there may be a market for others.
    #15
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 17:37:20 (permalink)
    it the area is poor, let them go to the am/pm for 3 for a dollar dogs.
    And I make money......How???
     
    How's yer cart doing?
    #16
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 18:04:27 (permalink)
    thats true too. you might have to stock low cost dogs for the poor people. am/pm dont deliver. now there is a advertising thing. a dog anyone can afford. but to make any good money you will have to sell a load of them.
    hmm, contact some homeless groups and tell them you will feed the homeless for so and so amount of money. maybe the city will hire you to feed them.
    #17
    Uncle Groucho
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/30 18:57:10 (permalink)
    Jcheese stick with what you know. I work very hard for my money, at lunch time I would rather buy 2 quality hotdogs for 4 bucks than go to the gas  station and get 2 mystery meat dogs with OLD toppings that have been scrounged over by the person in front of me. We call those cheap hotdogs "Home Wreckers!". If you do offer the cheap dogs, will you also carry a quality dog?
    Good luck.
    #18
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/10/31 19:01:14 (permalink)
    Of course, I'll not compromise my quality Dogs. But I'll keep a pack of cheapo dogs and cook them to order. Also want to be known as compassionate, tho not a pushover.
    #19
    Ice Cream Man
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/01 00:22:38 (permalink)
    After 12 years of selling Ice Cream I now get very few complaints about the price. At first the complaints bothered me but I have to make a living, I know they can buy it cheaper at the store but I serve it on a cone. I found over the years every time I raise the price I got less complaints, I would have been a fool to try and satisfy the few who couldn't afford what I had to sell. If there's 15% out of work deal with the 85% who work, we're not a non profit company.
    #20
    FiveAcreFoods
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/01 07:37:30 (permalink)
    I say if they think $2.00 is too much for a hot dog, then you don't want their business. Let 'em buy the bargain weenies at the grocery store and fix them at home. What they are paying for by buying off your cart is the novelty and convenience of a good ready-made dog, right there, right then.  If you do offer a bargain dollar dog, then be prepared to sell mostly bargain dollar dogs, because most customers will buy the cheapest item on the menu. Why buy a $2.00 dog if there is a $1.00 dog right next to it? A hot dog is a hot dog to most people.
    And remember, it's takes the same effort on your part to prepare a $1.00 dog as it does for a $2.00 dog.  Personally, I'd much rather sell fifty dogs at $2.00 than a hundred dogs for $1.00. Hadn't you? Price your dogs where you feel like they need to be. If you can't sell a hot dog for $2.00, maybe you need to find a more upscale spot where folks will think two bucks is a deal.  
    post edited by FiveAcreFoods - 2012/11/01 07:45:35
    #21
    Hepcat
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/01 13:44:09 (permalink)
    FiveAcreFoods

    I say if they think $2.00 is too much for a hot dog, then you don't want their business.... If you do offer a bargain dollar dog, then be prepared to sell mostly bargain dollar dogs, because most customers will buy the cheapest item on the menu. Why buy a $2.00 dog if there is a $1.00 dog right next to it? A hot dog is a hot dog to most people.

    I agree.
     

    #22
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/01 14:49:44 (permalink)
    OK, a Nathans on a decent bun costs me about .70...sell for $2.00
    A cheap dog and bun costs me about .25.....sell for $1.50.
    I can spare a nickel if it means selling more.
    Smaller investment and less waste if I have leftovers.
     
    #23
    FiveAcreFoods
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/01 19:40:51 (permalink)
    Hey, if a cheap dog works for you, and you are content with selling them, then go for it. It's your business.  Try it and see if fifty cents makes a difference. Personally, I think if they are balking at $2.00, then they are probably expecting a two for a dollar deal like they get at the Stop & Go.
    #24
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/02 20:02:31 (permalink)
    A cheap dog is not what I WANT to sell. I just don't want to not make a buck off all who pull in.Don't need them telling others "Don't stop there, he's too expensive!" without even tasting things. A taste of my awesome chili and slaw will bring them back.
    Ads on TV right now....2 all beef dogs for $1.00 at Stop & Go. Lord knows what you can put on them.
    #25
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/02 20:36:16 (permalink)
    yeah all beef.
    beef nose, beef ears, beef lips, beef feet, beef tail.
    course there is nothing like a good piece of tail thou.
     
     
    #26
    Ice Cream Man
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/03 00:25:06 (permalink)
    Two for a buck, at one for a buck and a half you'll still be too much.
    What the small guy should be after is the 3.00 dog people who want quality and will pay. 
    #27
    jcheese
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/03 15:31:32 (permalink)
    The 2 fora buck thing is a promo they do to get people in the store.
    Typical price at every corner store is between .89 and $1.25.
    These are no-name dogs. My cheapos are a popular local brand. Cost me .15 each if I buy in bulk, or .20 at Walmart. $1.50 seems to be the tipping point.
    I push the Nathan's and sausages and sell over 50% those.
    I've tried different pricing strategies. For awhile it was $2.00 for any dog or sausage. Didn't push the good stuff. Many folks opted for the cheap one which "subsidized" the better stuff.  That's where I ran into the po' folk that ran away when they saw 2 bucks. Those with taste and money saw the bargain with the better stuff.
    At events it's $2.00 for the basic, $2.50 for the Nathan's and $3.00 for the Sausage. No problem, the line never stops. But it's winter and I don't wanna starve, or see others do it.
    #28
    Ice Cream Man
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/03 16:11:53 (permalink)
    Winters tough, I sell Ice Cream, April 1st until Oct 1st. Not worth staying open in the winter. I can make enough to hibernate.
    #29
    BpCBlake
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    Re:Vending in a "Poverty Stricken" area. 2012/11/03 16:37:33 (permalink)
    do you sell noveltys?
    if so, what is the best cold plate cart to buy?
     
    #30
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