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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A Freelance Gig Worth Considering: Hot Dog Vendor



No, I'm not on the edge of my head with this one.  Food trends come and go and let's face it, rarely does junk food make a permanent exit.  A hot dog business has a lower startup and less overhead than a traditional catering business.  And not like I'm suggesting a casserole or meat stew stand in the middle of downtown.

While you may not make the six-figure salary that some New York dog vendors bring home, netting more than $100 a day isn't impossible.  That is...if you know how to market your offerings.  And it wouldn't hurt to be creative if your area already has a couple of regular vendors.

THE PLACE AND SETUP
It's no surprise that the best money is in business districts with limited offerings.  You have to move and think (calculate orders and/or monitor visitors) fast, along with not give in to pressure.  This is why this type of operation works well for pairs - one to take orders while the other does the assembly. 

If you choose to have a self-serve condiment option, this saves time and you might be able to go at it alone.  The only catch is that you have to use the little time you have to clean up between visitors and make sure visitors don't get greedy with the condiments. It's also best to invest in a cart that can be locked and secured for when nature calls.

THE EVENT
Working private events is a lot safer for those who may be susceptible to theft or other act of violence.  Even if you do carry a firearm permit, sometimes it's not worth the stress when an area is dangerous.  And that's why we pay law enforcement every year...who wants that job without the pension package?

In an age where people are getting away from the traditional wedding, you may be surprised to see more bridal parties opting for real comfort food.  Instead of choosing the usual pork dogs with mustard and relish, look into more unique ideas for the wedding reception.  If you're handy behind the grill, you may want to offer a variety of link sausages and condiments that will appease every appetite.

IDEAS THAT STAND OUT
This is where creatives can truly shine.  Condiments ranging from aioli to zydeco pepper jelly can give your dogs a gourmet touch. There's also the plant meat movement for those vegans or anyone who's curious about a meatless hotlink that tastes like it came straight from a Texas meat market.  Also,  protein diet trends or choosing to go with a wide variety of sausage types that will leave guests drooling are good ideas.

There are also sides you can offer, like chips that are hard to find, retro candy bars, or crazy soda flavors.  You may have to adapt to cultural tastes in your area or take a page from Roy Choi.  This may be the right time to come out with your own successful version of the Kogi taco.

Finally, this is also a business that will allow you to test the waters before making a large investment.  While carts aren't cheap, they cost much less than a food truck or storefront.  Like any new venture, you also need to study your competition and get at least a couple of ideal places to set up shop.

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