One of the key factors that will determine whether you are a success or a failure in the hot dog business is your ability to identify and secure great locations.
Some spots are so good that you can pretty much milk them with a full time stand all day and every day. Other locations can have serious downtime hours where business is dead, yet have certain times when you can really clean up. For some spots it is all about timing.
Let’s take a more in depth look at typical places where you can sell hot dogs, how to find these spots and some of the factors that make one place better than another.
Here are some tips on finding the best hot dog cart locations.
Positioning Close to a Crowd
When deciding where to sell hot dogs you must first observe traffic flows at that specific spot throughout a typical day to get a good idea of the volume and potential. The best places are often close to where people live, work, study or pass by on a frequent basis. Position yourself close to a hungry crowd and you can’t go wrong.
A hot dog is a common fast food item that is especially sought after by busy people. You are looking for people who are in a rush and not wanting to waste time sitting down in a restaurant to have a meal.
Locations and Timing
During the day you can position your cart close to office blocks, shopping centers, educational institutions or transportation hubs. At night there is a good trade to be done outside bars and clubs or large factories that have a night shift.
Some locations may only be good for a few hours a day. You may find that you can maximize your profits by moving around, if you have a permit that allows you to do so. Keep accurate records of your hot dog sales in various locations and you will soon learn where you should be and when you should be there.
Don’t forget the habitual nature of humans. Once they come to rely on you being in a certain spot at a certain time they will be let down if they find that you are not there. Remember that your customers have schedules too. If your hot dogs can become part of a customers schedule then you have got yourself a regular customer that will be worth a lot to you in the long term.
While you should not necessarily be scared of spots that are already being worked by other food vendors, you should still take this factor into account. Healthy competition could mean that the area offers excellent potential and you can jump in and get your share of the pie. A spot without competition could be a goldmine or there could be some very good reasons why other vendors have not had success there.
Foot Traffic or Vehicle Traffic
Hot dog stands on the East coast are typically located in densely populated urban areas and sell mainly to pedestrians. Foot traffic is usually easier to sell to. However in the South and West of the US, some hot dog vendors run roadside stands that appeal to passing motorists. If people see your sign, have enough time to slow down and a place to park then you can do really well on a busy stretch of highway.
Locations Need Time to Develop
While you will get a feel for a locations potential after you spend a few days working it, it is hard to make a judgment after such a short time period. It may take local people several weeks or even months to discover your cart and try your hot dogs.
After some time you will build rapport with people in the area and get some customers that come to you on a regular basis. So don’t give up on a spot after just a few days. Unless things are looking really bad you should give a location at least a month to reveal its potential to you.
Selling Hot Dogs at Events and Festivals
One excellent opportunity for a hot dog stand owner is to gain the right to run a concession stand at a fair, concert, show or other kind of event. If such an event is going to be attended by a large number of people then you should be able to do quite well if you know how to run a stand efficiently.
Once you make the right connections and learn how to get access to these gigs you can literally write your own paycheck. Many hot dog vendors work at such events for only four or five days a month yet earn as much as those who are working in permanent locations.
As a hot dog cart business owner you must always have your eyes peeled looking for promising new places to sell your products. The old saying from the real estate industry also relates to the hot dog business, ‘Location, location, location’. Knowing where to sell hot dogs is a talent that is every bit as important as knowing how to operate a stand.