Actually, the numbers worked in my favor on this event. I originally underbid the event at $1.50/8:1 or $2.00/4:1, but when we dropped the count to 250 and upped it to 4:1 (while keeping the same minimum price on the event) I came out above the $2.00 mark.
I did not run out of product – used less than half of what they asked for. All in all I’d say a resounding success for the day!
I’d been waiting to see how this worked. Seem’s it did. Did you “unload” the product and the number’s make yall happy? Did going from 8-1 to 4-1 make sense? Seems you paid more for product that you sold of. Maybe it’s my math.
But, GREAT……ya pulled it off.
If it’s a paid in advance 1 per person cap on 400 deal…you or the organizers will need to implement a ticket/voucher etc. system to keep track of that.
Also…when you cater to a 1 per person anything you have to be prepared with a quick answer or a fast plan when x percentage of people start to tell you that they are really hungry and would like to purchase an additional hot dog. That will especially apply when catering to college students. Talk to the organizers about that before the event. That can slow things up…for sure.
First figure out what your dog, bun, condiments and supplies are going to cost you. Throw in a penny for propane. Then decide how much profit you can reasonably expect and price accordingly.
The first rule of business- You’re in it to make a reasonable profit.
Are they going to pay you in one lump sum for 400 hot dogs—-I sure hope so— or are you going to be collecting money from each individual sale? Can’t do it by yourself if that’s the case.
You have to serve 400 hot dogs in 2 hours!!! That’s 3.33 dogs PER MINUTE! You will have a long line at the beginning of the event. Throughput is a must!!!You need them wrapped , (I suggest a foil wrapper) and ready to hand it to them as they pass by and send them on to the condiment table. This is not a typical cart operation business model. I’d be tempted to set up a 4×8 table with disposable chafing dishes to load up with pre-wrapped, warm dogs and just have the cart sitting there for decoration!
Since it’s just mustard & ketchup, set up a side table and put ample squeeze bottles out there AWAY from the cart or serving table so people don’t get backed up in front of the cart. More mustard than ketchup. 2 to 1.
I’d set up an alternate cooker like a deep fried turkey fryer rig to heat large quantities of dogs. With a basket insert for the pot to be able to get them out easily.
I’d definitely get a helper.
Some one to tend the dogs that are cooking and someone to assemble, wrap and pass out.
Don’t forget the Napkins![:D][:D]
Hey all – I bought my cart a week ago. I’ve had it out one day testing in a neighborhood setting, and loved it! I’m glad I made the plunge to go dogging…
I’ve been asked to provide a quote for an open house at a college in my area for 400 people. They’ve asked me to quote it for just 1 dog per person, and ketchup/mustard only. I have a couple questions for anyone who is willing to help a pup out. 🙂
I know there are a ton of variables that go into quoting a price, but here’s what I know: one of my larger competitors in the area charges $1.75/dog with all the toppings for an event. I would probably carry B&C dogs at this event as they haven’t asked for anything specific and seem to be cost oriented.
Considering the info above, what would you all suggest for a selling point? I’m thinking about $1.50 but wondering if I’m selling myself short. On the flip side, a few phone calls and they could beat my price if I went any higher…
Also, on the operations side: I have a single full-size pan set up. The event is scheduled for two hours. That makes me think perhaps I should run three 1/3 pans boiling dogs at full bore (~15 in each pan), which means I can’t steam the buns on the cart. If it’s a sunny day I can set up a table and lay the buns out and cover them with a black plastic cover. On the flip side, if it’s not sunny (as is likely around here), any suggestions? Does 400 dogs in 2 hours sound feasible for one guy with a single pan set up? Remember, the only toppings they want are red and yellow.
Any advice for a brand-new-first-timer-pup who just got a cart and may have a gig already? I stumbled into this opportunity because it’s the college I’m attending, but I don’t want to over/under bid it because of a complete lack of knowledge. I also don’t want to under perform the day of the event.
P.S. RJT – thanks for the help and the on-the-job experience!
Hey everyone – thanks for all the great input! I did the event this week, and it went stellar.
They ended up dropping the number of dogs they wanted from 400 to 250, and we increased them from 8:1 to 4:1 and kept the quote at the same price, so that worked out well.
I used a turkey fryer to heat up 40 dogs at a time, then we’d transfer them to the steam table and drop another pack of 40. The school gave me a volunteer to help so I didn’t have to hire anyone, and I was able to rely on him to do the simple stuff (drop more dogs, hold the basket of dogs being transferred, check temps, take out trash, etc) and during the times when a line formed he’d wash up and jump in to help with condiments.
I used the large push-top ketchup and mustard, and threw in some relish as well to give a little more variety. I chose for us to dress the dogs rather than self serve, to try and avoid there being a big mess. The dressing of the dogs definitely slowed it down (and the relish took twice as long as the other two combined). However, our line never got more than 4 or 5 deep, and since they were “free hot dogs” I didn’t worry so much about a short line forming. Our turnaround time per dog was pretty quick (less than 20 seconds) when we were hustling.
We caught some sun, so I was able to lay the buns out on a table to self-steam. I purchased them the day of the event so they were nice and fresh.
I should be getting some photos from the school photographer soon and will upload a pic of my rig and set up at the event.
The dogs were very well received. I had four people come back to tell me that they were the best dogs they’ve ever had. And that was with only three condiments. 🙂
Again, thanks everyone for all the good feedback and suggestions! I really appreciate it. I definitely learned a lot about the capacity and speed of my cart when the line forms.
Excellent!! You will be excited. Now you don’t need to be scared to death that any shoes will drop.
If the school has vending machines…ask the organizers if it would be ok if you sold soda and/or snacks. Some vending machine contracts (especially to schools) have language in them that can go beyond any “sure go ahead I don’t see why not” if not checked to “who told you… you can do this?” Never assume it is a given….outside or not if there are vending machines.
Good news! I spoke with my local HD and they told me that since I won’t be selling individual hot dogs to consumers, this would fall under the general food safety rules (i.e. catering) and not under pushcart rules. He suggested that I could pre-heat all of the dogs at the commissary and then transport them to the site in a suitable container; although he understood the desire to actually prepare the dogs on location as part of the show, so he said a turkey fryer would be fine as long as the food is being safely handled and prepared. He did reiterate that if I were to be selling the dogs individually that it would then revert back to pushcart rules.
I have a meeting with another health inspector tomorrow to actually permit my cart and will reiterate with him as well to ensure that they are all on the same page and that there are no nasty surprises later.
Thats GREAT news!!
Let me give you some more great news. Because you will fall under “catering” you can now allow for self serve. This will help out greatly!!
Sounds like you are off to a great start!! Let me know if you need anymore help.
You still can not use a turkey fryer at all, even to boil water. If that water is being used for the hot dogs then the answer is still no.
If you were using it to boil water for coffee then yes. I know it is confusing and really makes little sense but that is the way the rules are written. Like I said in my earlier post you can only use the cart for cooking anything to do with a hot dog.
One thing to do to know for sure is to contact your local health dept and ask them yourself. You will have to notify them that you are doing the event anyway because that is part of the rules of a cart also. Ask them about doing extra dogs in a fryer. Do you have a back up plan if it rains? Tent?
There are plenty of locked doors during events like this. Check and stress the fact in advance a million times that you will need an appropriate water supply. Avoid Ohhh Janitor Jeff Is the only one they know who has the only copy of the keys….and he is not here…and cannot be found.
Unless you are bringing a ton of your own plus extra extra extra. Then where are you putting it when you break it all down?
First catering opportunity…
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