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Hot Dog Vendors / 1st. Season is just about over.
« Last post by Blue Pig on December 14, 2017, 05:14:15 PM »
     Pretty much my season is over. The weather stayed warm here late this year so I was able to have good sales through much of Nov. When winter finally hit it hit quick. Temp. went from 50-60 one day down to 20s the next and 6 inches of snow. Unfortunately the snow took one day out of a two day event for me but such is life. The event is scheduled for three weekends this month the last one being this weekend and that should wrap up my season. Not out on the street at all anymore because the customers do not come out in 30s let alone the 20s and teens that it's been.
     So here we are pretty much 1st year over and much number crunching needed to be done. I'm considering it a success though no matter how the final numbers turn out. I learned a lot this year made a ton of mistakes but in the end learned a few things. I pretty much have my food waste under control, need to tweak the menu, and I now know what temperature hot or cold, wind speed and amount of rain when people will not stop. I've developed a signature sauce for the dogs and a few other personal touches. I now have a book that I can refer to next season in an effort to avoid some of the mistakes of this season.
      A note book full of ideas that needs to be thinned and added to, all winter for that. I have two employee appreciation days scheduled for next spring so already looking forward to next year.
   Most of all I could not have done much of it without the help and encouragement from the people on this board especially AZ and DuggsDogs. So thank you all it was and is greatly appreciated!
   Now time to find a way to make money this winter!         
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: Best location ever and not a single pic
« Last post by Blue Pig on December 13, 2017, 05:16:52 PM »
Sorry for the late response end of season busy. Have you thought about Kimchi for that asian fusion. Man I can't get enough of that stuff. Hey wait I think that goes on my list for next year Kimchi slaw!
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: If you could, if you were allowed to, if they let you?
« Last post by Blue Pig on December 13, 2017, 05:10:21 PM »
   Man that's simple HOT DOGS!!!
  Now that being said if I could set up on the CT shore or say Cape Cod. Then it would be steamed clams, mussels and plenty of lobsta! Nothing like a pound of lobster on a new england roll!
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: I was saying I don't worry about food truck competition
« Last post by Blue Pig on December 13, 2017, 05:00:00 PM »
   I had several occations this summer to be invited to sling at a city sponsered weekly food truck event. Of course when I inquired about it at the begining of the season I was informed I was personna non grata! You aint no food truck! Fast forward one month and the Mayors aide is calling me last minute to fill in for a cancelation the morning of. I show up set up and look around. I talked with every truck owner asked about their set up, food etc and checked their pricing. All of them came over and checked out my little cart they loved it and imeadiatly started following me on social media. There were three food trucks one churro truck an ice cream trailer and little ol' me. Their prices were three times mine or more I figured I'd crush it, wrong. Those trucks had a following and those people didn't deviate. On the three occations in a two month period I was there I saw the same people go to the same trucks every time. They did not check anyone else out. I did sell and sell considerably more than at my normal location and in less time. Also I out sold the trucks on water soda and iced coffee. Those loyal truck customers came to me for their drinks because I was a third or more cheaper. 1 for soda and water 3 for iced coffee, the trucks were at 3 for a can of coke or water. I saw one guy asking 4.00.
     I did not gain any new customers from this event. They did not stop by my normal location but if I was at that event they came back to me for lunch again. In the end I sold way more in liquid than dogs or red hots my customers at the event increased each week but I did not see any long term investment from it.
So I think it's possible to compete with them to some degree by getting those customers that don't have a truck loyalty or undersell something like soda.
   I got a thank you card from the Mayor and an invite back next spring so I had to make an impression somewhere. Haven't decided if it's worth it again next year though. 
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: Cash rolls as opposed to cash drawers
« Last post by Blue Pig on December 13, 2017, 04:23:19 PM »
   Just curious how'd the draw work out?
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: Delivery has been a failure.
« Last post by Blue Pig on December 13, 2017, 04:21:17 PM »
  Ten places 400 employees = 4000 potential sales. Find out which buildings have a cafeteria first because they may not let you in as "sandwich girl" to walk around trying to make a sale. I would talk to HR with those companies and sell them an Employee Appreciation Day!  You set up in their lot feed their employees and the bill is on the company. Market heavy at this event. Hand out your menu with your regular hours, location, twitter, facebook and instagram accounts listed they'll start coming to you.
If they like the event suggest to HR to let you operate from their lot once a week or month as a lunch alternative for their employees. Then promote the hell out of it so your regulars know where to find you on what days. I did that last season for a medical building and they had me back once a month. I began seeing these same people at my regular spot on the other side of the city.
    Just a thought. AZ pretty spot on with NYC prices anywhere from 15 to 20 nowadays. 
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Hot Dog Vendors / M Culinary Creations rented our carts
« Last post by AZHotdog.com on December 13, 2017, 09:57:45 AM »
Ever feel small?

Guys I know the pride we take when we graduate from street sales into catering. I know the feeling of competence and capability we have, with just 3 little carts we can serve THOUSANDS. And look what we did! We all started with just one dinky cart but we grew it up out of the dirt and it's thriving.

So I get a call from M Culinary Creations. Headed by a real-live "Celebrity Chef". They want to rent our carts. And I was thinking they probably have a pretty neat setup.

OMFG. They have a warehouse. They have a warehouse that could fit 15 of MY HOUSE in it. Their walk-ins alone were the size of my house. I have a 3br, 2 bath house with a two car garage and you could have fit the whole thing through the door.

Row after row of shelves containing everything you can imagine. Dozens of Camp Chef stoves, dozens of coffee urns, hundreds of flagons, they have a propane filling station in the yard. And they got trucks. Real trucks. They have a fleet of trucks. Big ones. And they turn $3.5 MILLION per year. $3.5 MILLION DOLLARS.

Oh man were they hard on our equipment. They beat the crap out of our equipment. Our vintage Victor hot dog carts are our pride and joy. They are irreplaceable. And they took more damage in 3 days than we have put on them in a decade.

My team is outraged. Highly indignant. Downright pissed actually. But I drank a couple cold ones, collected my thoughts and cordially informed them (via email) that I am willing to forgo any charges for damage if we can come by and get an actual tour of the facility and meet Mr. Celebrity Chef himself.

Why?

Because I don't know how to take us from where we are to where they are. I just want us thinking in that direction. And I'm willing to absorb a couple hundred in damages if it gets us thinking in terms of what is POSSIBLE.

Hey if we put our heads together we could do this. Hey we're smart too! Hey we're organized, between us we have this capability. We touch the sky! We get to kiss angels! We don't know God but we got to take a selfie!

Of course, the counter point to all of this (Dugg's Dogs!) is we're allowed to be happy and grateful for the life we have (Good Good!) and there's a lot to be said for just doing what we do and doing it well.

So I'll leave this with my usual ball of confusion. I'm not sure all of us can or even want to do this. But I know at least one of us can. And that one of us might just be you, dear reader. And it's our job to lavish advice and encouragement on you. We do happen to be pretty good at that.

May God bless each and every one of you this day and all days to come.

NOW GET OUT THERE AND SELL!
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: Delivery has been a failure.
« Last post by AZHotdog.com on December 13, 2017, 08:54:15 AM »
I think she charged $8 per sandwich with the expectation that we'd just throw her a $10 spot. Sounds expensive but I swear, just BREATHING costs money in NYC. And that was right around Y2k so the going rate for a nice sandwich is probably like $15 now.

As to dipping sauce we'd have paid a million. But there was a "look but don't touch" policy in effect. And even at the time I was old enough to be her dad so we're not gonna discuss the matter of dipping sauce in conjunction with Sandwich Girl ever again. Ever. End of discussion.

;)
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Hot Dog Vendors / Re: Delivery has been a failure.
« Last post by SuperDankHotDogs on December 10, 2017, 05:37:41 AM »
Lemme tell you about Sandwich Girl.

Way back when I worked in a huge office building (long long ago far far away)....there was this enterprising girl who just.....must have basically tipped the concierge and doormen to let her pass and then she just rode the elevator. And she'd just show up at your office and say "sandwiches".

And she had pretty good sandwiches. One of my faves was Cheddar Apple and you got a little dipper of dijon. Another one was the veggie chicken salad. Almond butter with swiss cheese and spouts was another. And the best sandwich of all....you guessed it. Sandwich Girl herself. Whom nobody even touched thank you very much. Heck even then me and everybody in that office was old enough to be her father. But let's say she had the presentation aspect handled.

Now I'm not suggesting that you become a sandwich girl and go with the whole "trans" thing. What I am saying is in a dense urban environment, what you need to do is GET YOUR PRODUCT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. And if it looks good and if it is good? More of them will want it.

Now I'm gonna take 15 minutes to strum a guitar and sing the words "sandwich girl". I have many pleasant memories about that time and place.

I think I'm about to turn my girlfriend into Sandwich Girl. We work 11-3 at a location which is by about 10 huge places of employment. like 400+ employees for each business.

How much was Sandwich Girl charging for her sandwiches? Did she keep sodas & chips? Did she charge extra for dipping sauces?
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Hot Dog Vendors / Failure. Success. How do we define it?
« Last post by AZHotdog.com on December 05, 2017, 11:31:57 AM »
I've been on a few hot dog boards over the years. I like this one because we're sorta "country". Success to most of us means "getting by" or "happy with myself". There's other boards for top dogs that literally make like...megabucks. And they brag (market themselves) far and wide.

And that's cool. I had that attitude myself starting up. It's an East Coast thing if you haven't noticed. The whole "come in large, project success" thing.

Some of us do make megabucks and you don't get there by being quiet, shy or underconfident.  We've all heard about them. Guys with perfect locations, guys with vision, guys that brought in half a $million where we had a couple thousand to start up with.

So for newer readers I thought I'd talk about failure a bit. Like how many locations we tried and lost money. Losing money is just part of business until you can't pay the utility bills. Or buy the kids new clothes for school. And I'm not sure if more money is gonna change anything with me and the kids. Because at one point there was no baby sitter so the kids got dragged out on the jobs with us.

So are they ever gonna see me as anything but the guy that let them down?

I dunno. They are grown up now.

Can I consider myself a failure now that our company puts smiles on people's faces? And how we've helped some people out along the way?

Naw. Not in the long run anyways. I'm pretty proud of all of us.

For you folks just starting up, over the past 15 years or so we kinda took hot dogs from this kinda sleezy dirty biker business into something fresh and hip. The food trucks added a lot to this effort. But the one thing that really marks us is our TENACITY. We just don't give up. I think that's the one thing that we all have in common.

Sometimes I tell customers that this beats working for a living but that's one of our lies. We're supposed to make it look easy.

The man I remember most (Old Pete my mentor) told me "I'm just willing to work as hard as necessary to not have a job".

So we know it's hard. But we never give up after the first try. Or the next few after that. And if it really was that easy? If this business was really easy?

We'd find something cooler to do. But for now we're doing this. Keep at it.
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