Not knowing much about how you plan to market & sell these products makes it difficult to make recommendations. Also not knowing the nature of the Health Dept regulations may limit what & how you can sell it. In the USA, Health Dept reguations in different areas limit what you can do. For example, in some areas here you must use canned chili, other places you can make your own, etc.
Reading all the above comments, we are assuming there is a market for US Hot Dogs in the UK. Can you answer that question without having sold any US Dogs? You may find your countrymen may not like the tastes of American Dogs. There are some fine sausages available in the UK. Your customers might find US Dogs inferior.
Give us some more specifics about how you intend to run your business. Are you using a cart or a brick & morter building? Are you selling other products? Are their other vendors selling non-US weiners over there now? Etc, Etc
Thanks so much for your interest. I’ve started a blog in which I intend to chart the whole process, for anybody interested.
Your questions are excellent, I’ll try to answer them very briefly here and in more depth as the blog progresses. I’d be very grateful for your thoughts.
Firstly, I intend to sell from a NY style cart from a very affordable and potentially lifelong site in a Central London business district that has an average hourly foot traffic of about 1200 per hour (the busiest was 2600 in 1 hr)
In general HD regs seem far less stringent than in the US. I could make the chilli in my home, but I’d have to buy a separate fridge and have period inspections from the HD. I might eventually do this but for the moment it would be much more practical to use canned chilli, if it tastes good.
I am currently trying to source an affordable cart. I am going to see a fabricator who has just finished a custom built New York style cart and says he can build me one for around £1800 that complies to all the HD requirements.
You are right I am having to make a few assumptions but I feel confident that there is a market because there is a very strong lunch trade in the area. Also there is a general market for fried pork hot dogs but no culture of toppings which I feel sure will be very attractive to Londoners. We see hot dog stands in movies and tv shows and hear about chilli dogs and chicago dogs, but never get the chance to try them. I do not plan on just selling US dogs – they will be my premium product. I will also sell much more affordable Herta franks which are already popular in supermarkets and will be cheaper than almost any local alternative, due to my very low overheads compared to the bricks and mortar competition. I believe that the availability of a range of toppings as well as seeing a NY cart will add a new attractive alternative to what is currently on offer. The speed of service and ability to eat on the go should also prove very practical for busy office workers.
I also believe I will be able to attract a great many American to my cart since it will be the only one in London selling real US dogs such as Sabrett’s or Nathan’s. There are very many American’s living and working in London and I hope to offer them a taste of home.
There are no other cart vendors near me and as I said this will be the only US style cart selling US style hot dogs and toppings in London.
I would love to continue this dialogue with you, so please get back to me with any other queries, suggestions or thoughts you might have and I’ll reply in more detail.
All the best