View Full Version : Does any body know anything about hot dogs?

Black Sheep
22-01-2003, 07:56 PM
Well I spend a day with a business yesterday I thought I was going to invest only to find out that working in an office and selling while owning my own biz would be the worst thing I could ever do, and under stament.

I have now gone back to my original idea... hot dogs

I have been researching all day and have come up with a push trike hot dog cart like the ice cream ones but hot dogs cost about 2500 and then supplies but would be interested to know if anyone has any knowledge of catering outside?

As my dad always says location location location

Well with it being a cart I think I could get away with moving round central London on the hoof like sandwich delivery but could always revert to a market pitch if need be then there are events like football matches and so on.

So what do you think any ideas? Or criticism?

fish boy
22-01-2003, 11:57 PM
i have a fish and chip shop in stonehaven near aberdeen and i am the uk no1 young fish frier 2002/2003.
if you are wanting to sell hot dogs in the street you will have to get a licence and probably a pitch and you will have to pay for both you will not be allowed to sell any where that you want and definatly not at footy matches as the people that sell there have bid big monay to get there.
the best thing to do is go and see your local council as they will tell you the laws of the area that you are in and give you a good insite of what is ahead.
there is good monay in hot dogs bud it gets cold in the winter and wet.

23-01-2003, 03:33 PM
Maybe this is just TV stuff but isn't the hot dog business run a bit like a cartel, not disimilar to the ice-cream business. Where pitches are heavily protected and sometimes run by quite shady and unscrupulous characters with little regard for hygience, licensing and not averse to using violence.

Black Sheep
29-01-2003, 06:37 PM
Well i have worked out i need to sell about 30 hot dogs a day 5 days a week to earn what i am earning now as well as 10 cans.

Have got the bike sorted and have seen severall companies about having the box made.

Here are a few pictures of the bike.



Have contaced westminster council about trading on their markets and they seem quite happy but my only concern is being able to sell enough hot dogs, I am prepared to work hard and long hours but i can either see me falling flat on my face or it running away with it self.

So whats your view do you think i could sell 30 hot dogs a day in central london with a modern professional loooking hot dog unit?

Black Sheep

aka Rob

29-01-2003, 11:38 PM
I dunno if this will help of not, but...

In Doncaster their is a hotdog bloke, usually selling hotdogs at night - basic, just medium and large, no frills or fancy menu. He sets up outside the most popular nightclub, selling his hotdogs at 2 and 3. it might seem a little expensive, but people leave the nightclub, feeling hungry, a hotdog is easy to get, no queues of anything, i bet he his making quite a bit of cash!

an exaple of location, location, and err, praying on the drunk? lol

30-01-2003, 09:03 AM
Brilliant, 30 isn't really that many if you've hitting the right place at the right time of day, go for it i'd say, keep us informed of how things go.

30-01-2003, 09:51 AM

there are a number of companies who supply hot dog carts based on USA Models they cost about 4500.

if you try to trade in a city centre the council will require you to get a street trading license - cost anywhere from 0-1000 pa.

I would like to know how you have worked out how many dogs to sell per day - costings etc...

hope this helps



Black Sheep
30-01-2003, 06:11 PM
Well here is a brief example although i have yet to do a full set of figures.

I have gathered the information from a few sources but one of the main ones is from an information pack have sent me westlers (http://www.westlers.co.uk/)

I am not sure weather i should just sell a quality jumbo hot dog or also sell another hot dog that is a bit tastier if you see what i mean.

The Jumbo is 7 and a half inches long

Hot Dog Cost 35p (each including delivery)
Bread Roll 11p
Sauce 10p
Serviette 1p
Onions 6p

Total Cost 63p (and i have raised this to 75p just to be sure)

Sale Price 2.50 (does this sound like a fair price for a healthy hot dog?

Profit 1.75

POR % 70%

But then i have other cost such as:

Market fees 113.35 a week (yikes but that is for a pitch in central SOHO on berwick street and that is for 7 days)

5440 per 11 month year

Storage 101.05 for 24 hour storage every month.

1321.26 for 12 months storage but i get further discounts for using them that long

Gas I am not sure about this and this is just a guess untill i speak to a few people, but say 15 per week

720 a year for propane.

and there are a few others but will leave them out as i am just doing estimates at the moment.

But then i have other profit centres like


Cost ( i will find out any ideas per bag?)
Sale Price 50p

Drinks (cans and water from a cool box in summer so they are nice and cold)

Cost 20p
Sale Price 1 or perhaps 75p or even 60p

Chocolate Bars

Cost ?
Sale Price 40p or 50p

So lets work of hot dogs alone.

at 1.75 profit each if i sell x per day as an average, asuming working 6 days per week and 11 months per year.

Fixed cost per year, and i have added 5% extar just in case, and it is just under 8000 a year cost (yikes again)


43.75 per day
262.5 per week
12,600 per year

and then fixed costs of

8000 leaving 4,600


87.50 per day
525 per week
25,200 per year

and then fixed costs of

8000 leaving 17,200


131,25 per day
787.50 per week
37,800 per year

and then fixed costs of

8000 leaving 29,800

i was not going to do 100 but i like the way these number are staking up and it has just occered to me that the gas will stay the same no matter how many hot dogs i sell as long as it is in the same time span as it will be running all day anyway.


175 per day
1050 per week
50,400 per year

and then fixed costs of

8000 leaving 42,400

And there will be some big events in london like notting hill carnival marathon and so on, but i would like to have a regular spot where people come back again and again.

Thanks for all your advice and ideas.

And do you think the smell of onions will attarct people and if so how can a pump it all around SOHO ;)

30-01-2003, 06:38 PM

makes intersting reading, how many dogs / buns / drinks do you think your cart / bike will carry? does it have a fridge etc..

sounds good, I would look at rollover hot dogs aswell and maybe do a taste test on a couple of brands.

one last point there are over 400 hot dog stands in moscow, formrly USSR and they turnover $25,000 per month!!!!



30-01-2003, 06:44 PM
I'd say go for it. 30 hot dogs a day doesn't sound that much but like someone said you will need to get your location right. And remember if things get bad then pray on the drunk!

Black Sheep
30-01-2003, 06:49 PM

Well one of the reasons i am going to have the cart built my self is so i can make it the most efficient possible, and have looked at severall already on the market in the uk and states so i can make a super hot dog cart.

I am building as much space into the cart as possible but in the front of the unit i am aiming to be able to store enough supplies for at least 200 hot dogs.

As for drinks i think i will have a huge cool box that i can put on the top of the box while moving then put on the floor when i get to my spot or have a rack made over the rear wheel to carry two normal size cool boxes,

And if i ever need more space for a large event or so on i can get a trailer for the bike although this will make it a little more difficult to move!

As for the dogs one of the reasons for looking at westlers so closley is they have a huge cut of the uk market and the hot dogs can be stored at room tempreature when in the tin, they come in tins of 25 so one tin is the most i will ever waste, and i can put those in the fridge overnight for the next day no problems.

Wow $25,000 o month i just london is that hungry.

Rollover is one of the companies i am looking at although they want lots of money for a franchise!

30-01-2003, 06:54 PM
rollover want 2500 just to have a chat!!!

remember if you are designing your own cart that it does have to be up to uk food spec as dictated by local councils and also that the dog carts in the us are the best because they have evolved over 100 years of use, which is why everyone copies them.

keep us informed, but looking good so far.



fish boy
31-01-2003, 11:29 AM
well i agree with others i would by a purpose built cart as the companys that make them have been doinig this for years and they will comply with food laws. and lets face it to convert your cart will cost a pritty penny and thats is not what you do for a living let someone that deals in this do it wright as it could become costly and you also need the correct image that will sell the hot dogs in its own.
i have used westlers for about 10 years know and the are a v good dog and that is the brand that sells the most in this country.
the buns good makes are euro buns and kara they will cost 15p each but why not use a baget and do what the other countrys do and stab the baget and put the sauce in and then the hot dog, this will cost more but you will sell more as they are tastier and less messy fot the custemer.
you said the most you would have to through out is 1 tin well that costs 9 well that every day for 300 days will cost you 2700 and 10 buns at 0.15 will cost you 450
total 3150 a lot of money and that is from your profit.
because the cart is not refrigarated you will have to chuck out opened tins and rolls every day.

i think that your gas bill is far to low as well you will need to find out about that.
i noticed that you are trading for 11 months a year remember it rains , snows , sick days , holidays, other commitments and if you are working at nights you will have no social life and you need to keep in touch with family and friends or it gets very hard and lonaly.
i think if you do it properly you will sell more than you think you will but it is not easy and you need to get some banter going with the custemer as the will come back if they enjoyed the food and the company while waiting.

31-01-2003, 11:50 AM
Have you factored in costs for storage of food supplies and storage for your cart? and of course travel ferrying your cart to and from location. And possibly congestion charging?

fish boy
31-01-2003, 12:09 PM
you will also needto prep your onions and if you do this at home you will need a food safety ticket for your house as if you store the products at home i/e the buns in the freezer and this becomes a hassle you dont have to but if you get caught it will be costly.
and in this day and age if you have food to sell you will need temprature logs for the raw food , frozen foods, and the hot food that you sell.
and i would advice you that you will need insurance for public liabiltys as if you give someone food poising or something along them lines it will finish you and there are funny people out there that will try anything for money for free

31-01-2003, 12:55 PM
What about hygiene issues? will you be wearing gloves, proper clothing? you have to look clean! I don't usually buy from people who sell hotdogs on the streets but If I did they would have to look clean and tidy, what guarantee can YOU give the customer that your food is 100% safe to consume?

maybe as promotion you could ask one of your friends to dress up in a hot dog costume? LOL I'm not making fun of you just trying to give u some other ideas.


Black Sheep
31-01-2003, 04:39 PM
I have seen severall comapanies already about the cart but have not been happy about the quality they provide and as it is going to go on a bike i need to have a custom unit made, I am going to see www.towability.co.uk tommorow about having a unit made, as they have done simalar things before.

The unit will consist in basic of a box made of swirley stainless steel with doors on the front, a bain marie and other cubby holes for buns etc, a lid that i can pull down over the top to seal it all off and lock up. The unit will be made to corrgi standards for the gas.

It will also have a small portable wash basin that is a bit like a big flask you fill it up with hot water in the morning as it has a sink on the side that flips down with a tap behind it and then as you push the sink back upinto postion all the water drains into a section in the bottom.

But there will also be a sort of soap dispeser that you put on your hands and rub in and you do not need water, I have seen this but am unsure of the name, but should be able to find out what is called from towability (any ideas anyone?)

And the first aod kit and fire extinguisher of course.

As for insurance I have had a look round and i think i will join www.MOCA.org.uk as in there member ship about 300 a year, 5 million insurance is part of the package along with a food hygine course.

As for wastage yeah that is a LOT of money but i should be able to freeze any left over to use the next morning.

I really like the idea of the stabed baggets and will look into this further although i asume this will be more expensive.

Onions i can do these at home and getting the kitchen looked at is no problem but if i need to i can buy ready done chopped ones form westler although this is quite expensive.

As for storage, for just over 100 a month i can get a 24/7 room big enough for the bike and some shelves to store the tins. This will be in battersea which is about a 3 or 4 miles bike ride to central london, so i hope to get really fit at the same time as well :))

As for image this is the most important thing i would like to get some jackets or fleces with some westler or hot dog branding but I am not sure where i can get these from as i will only require 1 or 2 of the jacket and a 4 or 5 of t-shirts and jumpers, any ideas?

I would love to have someone in a hot dog costume any takers?

Thanks for all your input, it is really helping to get thinks going in the right direction. And you can all have a free hot dog.*

*subject to you having nine paying freinds

Black Sheep
31-01-2003, 04:53 PM
Oh yeah a couple of other things, displaying my certificate of food hygine and insurance on the cart for all to see, i think this might boost customer confidance.

I would really like to have a regular spot so i can get reapeat biz.

Sorry for my poor spelling, bad grammer and gibberish. I could spell check but lifes to short.

Black Sheep
01-02-2003, 04:02 PM
Well i have been to see towability this morning, but unfortunatley they are not really intrested in the idea unless i want 5 or more but got lots of ideas of them.

Another company is sending me some information on thier carts that they make here so i will see if it is somthing they can help me with.

Onwards and upwards though ;)

04-02-2003, 04:04 PM
I once worked at one of Bristol's biggest tourist venues selling ice creams. one bank holiday they got out the big ice cream trike cart things that could be pushed around or set on a pitch.

It also had riding capbilites. It seemed like a good idea at the time to give it a spin. Bearing in mind this is a monster bike to support the weight of the cart it picked up a good speed going down a slope. the thing wouldnt stop coz it was too heavy and it plowed into a group of tourists and children before coming to rest in a flower bed.

My friends kindly covered up the fact that I had mowed down a large group of tourists and i didnt receice my p45 for another year.

The moral of the story is that these things are big, and heavy. Hills and slopes are best avoided whilst in control of them. Never ride them it ends in disater. You do get a lot of custom for them in the right seasons and if people are rude to you you can roll it over their feet (joke)

Black Sheep
04-02-2003, 07:09 PM
Yikes, I am going to have to watch out for that. Its also one of the reson i am buying a modern bike with hydarolic brakes.

As for the unit I have found a company that makes hotdogs carts allready that can make me one custom to fit the bike and it is everything I am looking for and cheaper than what i have been quoted allready, so the unit should cost 1600 to 1800 with sink bain marie gas the lot.

But then i need to spend another few hundred for stuff like a soap dispensor, first aid kit, boxes etc, and also a canopy from www.zappumbrellas.com

All going great though and also found i can rent a lock up garages for about 80 a month in waterloo so no need to worry about where to park my bike like i would with 24/7 storage centre.