So, Hot Dog Carts.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by TheSaladGuy, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. TheSaladGuy

    TheSaladGuy

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    I've been considering for awhile now buying a Hot Dog cart. Obviously not just quitting my job and such but maybe doing it part time on weekends and such. Or really any day I have off. Was considering getting a cart with a grill attachment and possibly a deep fryer. Maybe do more than Hot Dogs, throw in some Hamburger, maybe some chicken too, Po Boys, etc. Was curious if anyone here has experience in such an endeavor.
     
  2. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Most municipalities will not allow anything but precooked foods. For raw meats mechanical refrigeration is required. Most won't allow an open flame grill and certainly not a deep fryer.
     
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  3. TheSaladGuy

    TheSaladGuy

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    You are hundred and ten percent correct. I should've done a bit more research ! In Florida Im limited to solely precooked Hot Dogs and Sausages. Nothing else, pretty much. Unless I do a Mobile Food Vending License instead of the Hot Dog route but that requires I have a work station with a ceiling, four walls and a floor. Along with running water and sewage. In otherwords, a full blown food truck. Alas, my little idea has been crushed.
     
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Man. Go to Chicago or Los Angeles. You pretty much can operate one without a license. If, if... you need a license, then it's a hundred bucks to get one in Chicago. Still you can sell a lot of hot dogs in a day. It's good pocket money.
     
  5. TheSaladGuy

    TheSaladGuy

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    @kuan Yeah I get that, but it boils down to doing what I like. I mean who knows, maybe I'll buy a cart, pay to get a buddy of mine a License in it and just do a partner type deal so I have some extra cash in my pocket. But it's not really cooking to me if everything's pre-cooked, it's hard to do my own spin on it, make something unique.
     
  6. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Hot dog carts in Chicago have NO "spin" or "unique" anything. Chicago hot-dogs are Chicago hot-dogs. You do it right ... you get paid. You do it wrong trying to improvise with unique spin ... you get poor real fast.

    Chicago Hot-Dog:
    poppyseed bun (steamed), yellow mustard, snow-white chopped onion, neon-green relish, tomato wedges, pickle spear, celery salt, sport peppers. NOBODY puts ketchup on a Chicago Hot-Dog.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Chicago Polish:
    poppyseed bun (steamed), brown mustard (good stuff, NOT dijon), grilled onions.
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree and disagree with this. I agree that if you are going to do a Chicago Dog or Chicago Polish, it had better be right on, and there should be NO deviation. That will sink your business faster than the titanic. But, I do think there is room, in Chicago, for carts that are doing something wildly different with Dogs. Just look at the splash "Hot Dougs" made before he closed up (not for lack of business). You would just need to make sure that you removed yourself far from the traditional Chicago Dog that everyone, down there, loves.
     
  8. Iceman

    Iceman

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    "Hot Dogs" was not a cart ... it was a place. ... Another really good way to get wiped-out in Chicago is to try and be like "some other famous or not, place".
     
  9. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Fradillio's is like Portillo's but is terrible.
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    The point is the people of Chicago aren't so closed minded that hot dogs, other than the icon Chicago Dog, couldn't fly and there are plenty of people that don't really care for them. Sorry, but Chicago is too big, with too much diversity to think a Hot Dog cart, that sells something other Chicago dogs is bound for failure.
     
  11. Iceman

    Iceman

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    OK. God luck with that idea.
     
  12. jimyra

    jimyra

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    Possibly a smoked sausage po'boy would take Chicago like the Blues did.
     
  13. TheSaladGuy

    TheSaladGuy

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    Well, I do not reside in Chicago, I reside in Florida ! Haha

    But I would however add the Classic Chicago dog to my menu for it's iconic.

    For my unique spin, well, there isn't a whole lot you can do besides come out with a new way to put a hot dog on a bun with different ingredients, so I won't really care for that. I figured my unique thing that I dont see any cart doing (ive been driving around town, and nearby towns with friends going to carts, talking to the people, asking about the ingredients, etc.) is "fresh" No one seems to really use fresh ingredients, source from the abundance of farms we have around here. So there's that, I did learn the proper markup and such.

    The most difficult part Im having with planning is well, the menu. How much is too much? Like should I have a menu of 20 different dogs for diversity, which will also up the food cost. Should I have a smaller more compact menu? Those are the things Im having issues with, even though its just a small side project for some extra income, I still want to plan everything for it to be a success.

    My menu idea right now are "City Dogs" Like the Chicago Dog, the Detroit Dog, The New York Dog, etc. But just... how much is too much.
     
  14. TheSaladGuy

    TheSaladGuy

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    Also, what about making the franks from scratch? I wonder how much cash that would require and what equipment that would require as well, I should look that up.
     
  15. TheSaladGuy

    TheSaladGuy

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    Also, if I do the hotdogs from scratch, what's stopping me from doing the buns from scratch too, make a "From Scratch" Hot Dog Cart.
     
  16. Iceman

    Iceman

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    THREE(3) WORDS ... "product cost" & "consistency".