Build or Buy? Build can be cheaper but it will take some precious time. I bought a used high quality cart and never regretted the move.
Custom blend? I think that’s a bit over the top. There are a lot of great brands out there that match every flavor and texture preference. Try some out and carry one or two on the cart.
Soda’s and syrups? Once again I would focus on the dogs. Seems that you’ll spend more time dealing with the sodas than you will tending the dogs. Think of the waste that you might have in having to carry all those syrups.
Software? I run a small restaurant, in addition to my cart, with an Excel Spreadsheet and Quickbooks. You’ll spend more for your software than you will for your cart.
My advice…start out simple, focus on quality dogs and great service.
Also are “welcome posts” the norm here?
Right now I am in the process of looking over my 3 surrounding counties DOH information on licensing and requirements. I want to get all the licensing for them out of the way if I want to operate outside the county I ll focus on for random special events I ve already taken care of the red tape.
I have a few areas that I would love to get some feedback on so I can factor them into my business plan.
To build or buy?
I ve done some research and the building of a food cart can be pretty cheap, but is it worth it to just simply buy the cart. I m looking to overtime build out from one cart and I have the feeling if I build them I could save money on the long run.
Does anyone have experience building their own tow cart?
If so what resources did you use for plans?
Would you bother doing it again?
Custom Blend Dogs?
In folks experience can it be beneficial to have a specific bite/flavor profile made by local meat packers to set your cart apart?
Home Made Soda Syrup?
I ve been thinking of getting a water carbonater attached to the cart and then coming up with some custom blends of soda syrups that I d whip up real fast soda jerk style. Has anyone had any success with this? On the flip side has this approach not worked out well for folks?
Business management software
I am trying to find a software that handles employee scheduling, catering planning, food cost/menu management, accounting and such all in one package. The problem I am finding is typically a software option only addresses one aspect of the business. What setups do folks use to manage the various aspects of their business efficiently?
I really appreciate your assistance with the questions I haven t been able to really find an answer to through my searching.
Best advice just starting out in something you know little about———-K.I.S.S.!!!!!!!!
When it comes to food in general, people feel most comfortable with brands they know and trust like Sabretts, Hebrew National, Vienna Beef, etc. To try to start up with a no-name proprietary brand dog is not advisable. Find out what sells best in your area and go with that. People will buy what they’re used to eating.
IF and thats a BIG IF, you’re successful, you can experiment with other products later.
Home-made Syrup/Soda???-Feggetaboutit! That’s for the future after you’re wildly successful. In the meantime, stick to the basics, Coke, Pepsi, etc.
Buy a used cart.
Don’t buy a software package.
Employee scheduling??? YOU’RE it!
Catering Planning?? Don’t need it.
Menu management?? Put it on a whiteboard!
You’re a one man operation, not McDonalds!!
Stick to the basics.
so, the guy who sold me his backup cart had some advice… He’d been doing it for many years, and the only reason he was selling me his backup cart, was that it just sat in the warehouse every year. It was his fear that someone would ram into him some day and he would not have a cart to work from which would cost him a great deal of money and customer good will… we were bar buddies, so I promised him he could use the cart if he ever had an accident.
anyway, the advice… buy the cheapest cart you can find that qualifies with the health department… keep it as simple as possible until you make a profit… If you still like the business after a while you can sell the cheap cart and buy a cadilac… but in any event don’t worry, because there is never a shortage of people right behind you thinking they would like to sell hotdogs for a living, for you to sell your cart too if it doesn’t work out…
Note: The cart he sold me cost $6,000 and had multiple burners, sinks, a cooler, etc. etc. The one he kept, had half the pans, options, bells, whistles, etc. and some rust… He worked his tail off for 6 months a year to make $4,000 a week with that crappy cart. Proving once again it’s not the cart, it’s the OPERATOR!
Well the actual creation of the dogs would be going through a manufacturer in the area that services restaurants with custom blends as part of their basic service.
I’ll have to look into this further and I’ll get back to folks on what I turn up in case it might be of interest to others.
You would have to check with your HD about their rules (if any) and definitions about pre-packaged items vs.what might be straying outside those definitions.
You would also have to check with your insurance company. Anytime you take on the task of creating a product…the buck stops with you…as far as liability. Ingredients without consumer labels and chain of command/handling issuses…for the if or when.
Thank you for the excellent thoughts! I have thought about it a bit and I am thinking I’ll probably end up picking up a used cart my first go. After I get a bit more skill with working on them I might expand with custom built trailers.
I’ve also had time to consider your thoughts on the soda syrups and I agree. I think that it might work in a situation where 2 people worked a cart but that won’t be how I am operating.
I think I might still consider the custom blend just to help with branding if the prices are the same or similar to some of the high quality dogs. If the place I make my inquiry into has good prices I’ll update folks who might be interested here.
As far as software goes I was possibly thinking of using this companies in conjunction with some fancy excelling.
Thanks for your help I’d love to hear any other tips and tricks folks suggest.
Thank you all very much I am going to be taking this into consideration as well as some guides I picked up on starting a cart. I’ll be trying to start up working the weekends until I have the money to move over to dogging full time.
I don’t expect to get rich but hopefully I can make a living doing something I can feel good about.
Starting a cart in NY Capital region just a few questions.
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