Home › Forums › Restaurant Professionals Forum › Restaurant Professionals Forum › Can a hot dog cart hold its own at a fair/carnival against the trailers and concessions? › Re:Can a hot dog cart hold its own at a fair/carnival against the trailers and concessions?
I had a similar problem with a festival I have been vending at for the last few years. The first year they begged us to set up. We were the only primary food vendor along with a lady selling cotton candy & popcorn. The second year they added a couple of more fun food vendors and non profits doing bake sales. Last year, our last, they had four primary food vendors, three fun food vendors, a couple of non profits selling baked goods and a nonprofit ladies club selling a combo consisting of a chicken sandwich, chips, brownie, and a drink. They started out selling the combo for $5.00 but as the food got older they lowered their price to $3.00. We were selling a hamburger plate with chips & drink for $5.50. Needless to say we didn t even come close to breaking even. Then to top it off they separated the craft / art vendors from the food vendors. We not only lost sales to the vendors but most of the attendees didn t cross the road to the food vendors.
I also have been looking at purchasing a hotdog cart to replace my food booth. I am not sure if I would set up at a fair or carnival. Most of the fairs that I have researched charge a lot of money and require you to be present during opening times. I know that several of the fairs around here usually start on a Friday and run through the following Sunday, a total of 10 days. I think logistically that you could utilize enough space around the tongue area to store enough supplies to get you through the day. If you are proposing a multi cart operation then you can re supply form a designated storage area. The biggest drawback I see is that most fairs are in the fall, harvest time, and you have to deal with the weather. Our yearly County Fair always loses days due to rain.
Fortunately I will soon have an HD approved commercial kitchen / commissary. We have been given a 9 x 18 area in a soon to open new antique auction house. The county will let me build a smoke shack out back. The kitchen is basically being set up as a non-cooking kitchen due the cost of the exhaust / fire hood. I will be able to use a table top convection oven and electric burners to warm with. This is the reason I am looking at the hotdog cart. Having my own commissary opens up several serving ideas. We will open the kitchen to serve the auction house one night a week and one weekend a month. If the city lets me I might sell off the hotdog cart on weekends in front of the auction house. I still in the planning stages at this point. The owner will give me a dining area and has no problem with me opening full time. Just don t want to quit the day job just yet. If I don t do the hotdog cart I may open for coffee / sandwiches on the weekends.