Now, when you say you have a new idea for hot dogs, please clarify if/not these ideas are including an actual hot dog (I am guessing not) along with those ideas?
I imagine a meatball sandwich, would not be a new "hot dog idea" including a hot dog. So, I will just assume that the idea is for new ideas to fill a hot dog bun, sans a hot dog.
If you are new, maybe you will want to keep the focus on the hot dogs, before you expand the selling scope to include new ideas. If/when you stray too far (too fast) from your primary "seller" you are building on/around a foundation. Make sure that foundation is very strong, before you add additional weight. You need to build a (hot dog) customer base, before you start to expand the menu. You expand with business growth. If you expand before a solid customer base, you end with a menu full of "creative" ideas (harder sells), in competition with your primary seller (driving force) of the business. If a customer decides against the harder sell, many times they will just walk away, rather than opt to purchase a hot dog. Hmmm.....nah! When you keep it simple, there is not too much to think about. Hot dog? Yes! Simple, without TOO much additional thought, or distraction.
If you cannot resist the temptation to add something, add creative non-perishible sides, drink options, and/or pre-packaged dessert items. They will not be in direct competition with the star of the show (hot dogs) and those options may drive more business. The first favorite vendor who carries Gatorade (in the summer), will usually get me to purchase a hot dog, too. Maybe a Black & White cookie. Or all of the above. How did that happen? I just intended to buy a Gatorade? Well, the Gatorade drew me in, and sometimes I will realize that I have not had dinner, and I AM hungry.
I am all for creative toppings. Creative meaning spins on traditional and popular toppings (no marshmallows). Start with condiments. Work within the rules and guidelines of the local HD. Do not invest any additional time, take away any much needed space for your primary seller (hot dogs) "loyal" condiments and traditional toppings, or risk any money on stocking perishible items, before you know your market.
A meatball or cold cut sandwich, in a steamed bun? Steamed buns work for hot dogs, but when I think of those sandwiches, I think of a nice crusty Itailan roll. Using steamed buns, round meatballs (covered in sauce) for mobile food? Sounds VERY messy, without a good strong roll. Same goes for any items BBQ sauce, just add sticky to the messy. Steamed bun for cold cuts? Sounds soggy.
<message edited by CCinNJ on Tue, 01/13/09 12:57 PM>