Stephen Rushmore Jr.
After reading recent forum subjects on the Hotdog Business, thought I’d share my experience (for what its worth). I have a lot of respect for anyone who goes into the Wild and Wacky World of becoming "The Hotdog Man"
I’m known as the "hotdog man" in the United Kingdom. You become the hotdog man cause nobody knows your name but you know them and they love our dogs. So be it.
Getting started: 1st year. Well, the trick to staying in business is figuring out how to stay in business. This means loads of sacrifice until you know your market, know your product, remain flexible and adjust to necessity. Give time – time. I didn’t make much money the first year (about �5000 or $7000 gross). Makes it tough to enjoy but I learned a lot. The best thing is networking in that 12 month period. I met lots of folks who knew lots of folks who wanted to know if we did birthdays, parties, special events. Perhaps I was lucky that in the UK, there are no "Real American Hot Dogs" (or much of anything else for that matter that resembles really good food spots in the US).
We were fortunate that we met ex-pat Americans who mentioned that they’d come across us (with phone calls from me to Americans I knew in the British Baseball/Softball Association). This led to doing small softball tournaments (I play on a team). This kept us alive with a bit of promise that it couldn’t get worse and could only get better.
Year 2 We became a part of the softball circuit. We were invited to participate in all major softball tournaments which meant that from May to September we’d have 15 tournaments to participate. This sounds great but came with new conditions: percentage back to the organizers, add on items due to niche market i.e. coffee, tea, sweets, muffins. But, we stayed with hotdogs as the main event. This led to Major League Baseball International functions which weren’t many but well attended (loads of kid’s at the UK Little League World Series). Be aware! In certain situations, if you do well someone else will say "hey, I can do that" mentality. We started the ball rolling and next thing, we started getting competition from interested parties. What makes this interesting is this; anyone can make a hotdog. Ok, what I know is this; not a lot of people know how to make 100 hotdogs in 20 minutes (game times dictated how large the queue is). The know how to meet demand is essential. Making pizzas or hamburgers takes much more time and if folks don’t have the time they don’t get the sale. ChicagoStyleDog (great admiration for) says to leave the condiments out for the customer to serve himself. I agree if the situation requires but we make a show of doing our dogs with squirty bottles of ketchup, mustard, mayo and dress each dog individually. (Add homemade chili, diced onions, grated cheddar cheese). Turnover for Year 2 was approximately �12,000 or $15,000 gross). But remember, this is for about 25 days over 5 months.
Year 3 We now added an Aussie Pub Chain to our venue. Late Licensing laws in the UK require bars/pubs to offer food. Food doesn’t sell in pubs/bars late night. Thus the success of kebab shops close to pubs which are open till 5am. We put a hotdog stand inside of the Aussie Pub which had a capacity of 1000 persons. At the end of the night everyone in the pub passed by the hotdog stand situated at the entrance of the pub. Great site and a big break. Be aware; if you do well you run the risk of losing the site. Again, anyone can make a hotdog……looks much easier than it looks if you’re doing it in a professional manner. Still had the softball/baseball venues plus this pub chain. Turnover for Year 3 �25,000 or $35,000 gross)
Year 4 We now know all of the American niche market activities and the phone rings our way. We have lost some of the softball/baseball venues as "you’re making too much money off of us". Still, the beat goes on. If th,26,166568,0,22686,184.108.40.206
166567,166563,166563,2005-11-04 04:19:18,RE: DC Cafeterias”