Hot Dog Carts & the economy. What do you think is the most commonly asked question that I get from my customer regarding the hot dog business? Do these things really make money?
Where do I start? Do these things really make money? What the hot dogs? The carts? I have never come into the shop in the morning just to be amazed at how much money is flowing from my hot dog cart collection. These "things" as some may call my beloved hobby carts, have never made a dime. NO, honestly.. not a dime. However, if you are saying as a tool is it possible for me to make money? Then a resounding "YES" would be in order.
First of all the fact is that the average restaurant start up project could well cost you over 100K and that is looking for used appliances and cheap help. Then monthly you get every imanginable bill in the world as added overhead. Then you get daily walk in sales people who think if you own a restaurant you have money "yeah, right." Advertise, Advertise they tell you is the answer. Well, there are actually some coupon foodies out there that will try out a new place with a coupon but it had better be damn good if they come back and pay full price next time ! lol
Second of all is the staff, if they don't eat you out of house and home then they probably will get their friends to help out. Maybe they will just crank up the air so that they stay cool in the kitchen once you leave or turn up the heat so that their feet are hot while their cheeks are red. Don't forget to mention how they think you never pay them enough for what they do... am I stretching the truth? Weigh in... tell me what you think
As if that is not enough, you buy your equipment.. stoves, refrigerators, prep tables and such and then get a tax bill from somebody later that thinks you ought to pay for them again. Yes, like they bought them? Excuse me, someone said this was a free nation. Obviously they weren't born here and didn't pay taxes. Not to say that mobile food operators don't pay their portion of taxes but they don't have serious overhead and the utility bills don't come in once you think you may have made enough to buy yourself a cup of coffee.
The brick and mortar food establishment will always have more overhead and more headaches. Try taking a vacation. Go ahead, leave your staff in charge when you are gone. I dare ya.
The average hot dog vendor sells 100-150 dogs per day at their location. The average sale of a hot dog is $2.00. That equates to a gross of about $200-$300.00 per day, not counting side item sales. Overhead costs of a location is usually 25%, Food costs while escalating still around 25% you take home 50%. Tell me, what profession is it that you make $150.00 per day in? A good location will gross $500.00 per day.. what is 50% of that in your pocket? And..do you miss the electric bill at the end of the month? Most locations will trade employee meal coupons, catered events and favors in lieu of rent. Try it. City transient permits are free in most cities, especially if you are a vetran.