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 Unique Hot Dog Ideas!

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  • Total Posts: 4
  • Joined: 12/18/2008
  • Location: West Union, OH
Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Thu, 12/18/08 7:17 PM (permalink)
Hello this is my first time on the fourms and I'm new in the hotdog selling business. This is the second time I've written this thread since I minimized the editing window and lost it. :( Anyway I already have a cart and location just planning the menu and hope to be out selling soon. I read a post on here that someone said you need to be "the best, not just another vendor". So these idea's and those you share might be just the thing, to give a different edge to your business.
So as the title says I want to share a couple of ideas I had for hotdogs, to make them special, and give a little variety to my day to day menu. So here are some of mine.
Idea: 1
   As always a steamed bun, Meat balls and spaghetti sauce with a good ammount of fresh chesse on top.
Idea: 2
  Deli meat (Turkey, Beef, etc) Rolled into a steamed bun with Lunchmeat condiments.
Idea: 3
  Little sausages(aka. smokies) put into a bun with bbq sauce or whatever condiment.
So let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions or additions let me know!
    Curbside Grill

    • Total Posts: 3916
    • Joined: 10/11/2007
    • Location: Lawrenceburg, TN
    Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/19/08 4:46 AM (permalink)
    What can you do off of a cart in your area. How about two thin slices off pastrami.  Different cheeses, stinky dog(bleu cheese,stintons,limberger)
    "being the best, not another vendor" ALSO  means quality of product served. By this I mean quality or taste of dog and sausage served , the quality of bun and condiments. Variety of mustards and ketchup, no canned kruat, good chili, clean serving area and signage that stands out.
    People remember the small things, towards the end of september was throwing a mint into the bags on every order, cost to me--pennies, most of my orders are what you would consider take out, order and run, but a mint (peppermint disk) different and had people return just for this extra tidbit, mostly after the onions.
    When I open back up, going to try sauce buns, Chili on a bun,no dog. Have asked around and with my chili sauce might work at the right price.  This item is big in some places, just tring to add something new they haven't seen.
    <message edited by Curbside Grill on Fri, 12/19/08 4:52 AM>

      • Total Posts: 4
      • Joined: 12/18/2008
      • Location: West Union, OH
      Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/26/08 9:05 AM (permalink)
      Yes quality is paramount, I agree totoally with that. Also I believe it's mostly a heat and serve policy in southern ohio, I know we can have a separate cooler for ice, but far as cheeses would have to go on the cart. Which isn't a problem.

      I love the candy idea, I'll have to inplement that for my area. Maybe have a different cheap candy each week to keep customers in variety.

      I also will be serving fountain drinks in 4 flavours, I noticed that alot of places in florida where I'm on vacation, now have lime, cherry etc. flavours for adding to drinks, going to be researching in to maybe offering that if possible.
      Also would offering candy bars for near cost help? Or just sell them normal price? And it is better to stick to a small menu like under 10 items, or have it a little larger?

      Thanks for your comments!
        Curbside Grill

        • Total Posts: 3916
        • Joined: 10/11/2007
        • Location: Lawrenceburg, TN
        Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/26/08 10:06 AM (permalink)
        I'd start off small good dogs and good sausages,different Mustards( Yellow, spicy,hot), different ketchups,Kraut, reg. cheese, chili, onions,relish, here we do slaw(Hot mustard slaw) do not know your area.
        Start small and people will ask for different items and you will get a feel of what will sell in your neck of the woods. You mentioned fountain drinks on a cart, what kind of setup do you have, never seen this. You can go candy bars but I would not attempt, just a small peppermint disc candy, helps with the stomach, cheap- on sale somewhere every week, grocery stores, pharmacy's.  If enough people ask for chips might consider, or buy a case and see what happens.
        But the main thing is to start at some reasonable place and grow from there.

          • Total Posts: 6093
          • Joined: 11/22/2007
          • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
          Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/26/08 5:09 PM (permalink)
          Hot Dog a little Spaghetti on top, a little Chili on top of it, a Chili Spaghetti Dog. I'll take 2!

            • Total Posts: 3127
            • Joined: 3/8/2008
            • Location: Sardinia, OH
            Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/26/08 5:47 PM (permalink)
            How about just a bowl of chili?

              • Total Posts: 3127
              • Joined: 3/8/2008
              • Location: Sardinia, OH
              Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/26/08 5:48 PM (permalink)
              Where will you locate?
                Dr of BBQ

                • Total Posts: 3716
                • Joined: 10/11/2004
                • Location: Springfield, IL
                • Roadfood Insider
                Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Fri, 12/26/08 7:33 PM (permalink)
                Have you spoken with your local HD?
                Have you spoken with your local Zoning Dept?
                Have you had any food service training?

                In some parts of Ohio this is the law: Prior to construction or issuing a license of a new mobile food operation, a detailed set of plans will be submitted to this office for review. Please submit to the respective sanitarian in your area of the county for assistance:

                And a bunch of Ohio food service rules change Jan 1st 09 and some others change March 1st 09.

                I know I got a ton of information from the Ohio State HD  in the mail recently, concerning an app for an Ohio event, from last year. I did  not do the event but they still mail me all kinds of information concerning food regulations.

                  • Total Posts: 4
                  • Joined: 12/18/2008
                  • Location: West Union, OH
                  Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Mon, 01/12/09 4:08 PM (permalink)
                  Sorry haven't been able to reply sooner, So I'll answer the questions then I have one for you guys :).


                  Yes my cart has a mini fountain machine, 3 baths and sinks and a cooling unit to put ice in which also cools the pop so you don't need ice.

                  Yes I've talked to our local HD and everything is in order. Although I haven't taken a offical course on doing this, so hope you guys can help.

                  Ok my question:
                    How do you serve the buns? I have a tray under the burners which heat the baths. Do I put them there to heat up? Or do I steam them? Should I keep the buns fresh?/ refriderate?/ I shouldn't freeze them right?


                    • Total Posts: 362
                    • Joined: 1/6/2009
                    • Location: Athens,Ga
                    Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Mon, 01/12/09 7:54 PM (permalink)
                    Being from the south I have come up with what I call the "white trash" dog. We commonly put ham hocks in our collard greens so I think to myself why not take a sausage dog and put collards on top,add some pepper vinegar and its heaven on a bun.

                      • Total Posts: 5504
                      • Joined: 1/13/2006
                      • Location: Dallas... DFW area
                      Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Mon, 01/12/09 8:35 PM (permalink)
                      Yulek, great luck w/ your venture!

                      Im' no hot dog pro but I am into new recipe ideas.... but if I was going to have a cart I would seriously consider attending CSD's Hot Dog U. Just the degree posted at your cart would make money I think. And, lots of other money making tips are to be learned there.

                      All that said... there is a thread about burger dogs. I think that, made right, they would be big sellers. There are some ideas about how to make them. Check out the thread.

                        • Total Posts: 4
                        • Joined: 1/13/2009
                        • Location: Tallahassee, FL
                        Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Tue, 01/13/09 9:59 AM (permalink)
                        I'm not familiar with the "dog cart" business, but I would think it might be a good idea to steam the dogs in beer.  The aroma ought to catch a few customers, and they taste good too. :)  Not sure if that might cause a problem with enforcement.  (Keep the beer cold. Just in case!)  :)

                          • Total Posts: 9527
                          • Joined: 9/1/2006
                          • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                          Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Tue, 01/13/09 10:18 AM (permalink)
                          Being new to the business,I suggest you just start with the Basic Dogs. A QUALITY dog, a QUALITY bun, A QUALITY sauce and QUALITY Condiments.
                          Once up and running, talk to your customers about the different ideas you're thinking about and ask them what kind of different dogs THEY would like to see. Let your CUSTOMERS dictate what you offer!!!
                          You could feature a "Weenie of the Week". Track the sales and see what sells the best. The important thing is to walk before you run. Don't overextend your offerings until you are comfortable with your skill level of operating your cart. A bad decision early in the game could loose some customers forever.

                            • Total Posts: 1787
                            • Joined: 3/23/2008
                            • Location: Minot, ND
                            Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Tue, 01/13/09 11:17 AM (permalink)
                            On a lark, I made chili out of hot dogs for my kids.  They absolutely loved it and it was a topic of conversation for them for WEEKS..  It was mild in spice since they're still little.  I ground up about 2/3 the hot dogs and left 1/3 cut into 1/2 chunks and substituted it in to a mild simple recipe.

                            A total win for anyone looking for something fun and special for their kids, grandkids, or a kids menu.

                              • Total Posts: 7742
                              • Joined: 7/24/2008
                              • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                              Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Tue, 01/13/09 12:11 PM (permalink)
                              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>

                                • Total Posts: 4
                                • Joined: 12/18/2008
                                • Location: West Union, OH
                                Re:Unique Hot Dog Ideas! Tue, 01/13/09 8:23 PM (permalink)
                                Thanks guys for you tips! Using them throughly and thoughtfully :)
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