Archive for April 2010

You may think as an entrepreneur that your clock ends after operating hours. Sad to say, you have only started on half of your day. What follows next is the most important part of your day and this is all about checking how your business day was from a business standpoint.

Checking Sales against Inventory. This will only operate if you already have a system for the start of the day, which is a listing of the day’s cash on hand and inventory available. During the business day, all sales need to be recorded as to volume. At the end of the day, you need to check on the amount in the cash register. Then you need to deduct the start of day’s cash on hand to see how the day’s sales are. Comparing that with the items sold for the day, you need to find out if the amounts and the items balance. Then you find out the amount of inventory available by deducting the items sold (and its components) to see what is needed. With this simple system, you would be able to find out if your business is earning and weed out undesirables from your business, such as waste, rejects and losses.

Checking on Utilities. As you operate your business, you would be using up basic utilities required to prepare your hotdogs. These include fuel, paper products and water. With fuel, you can check on it if you have a gauge or by the weight method. In the weight method, you lift the bottle to see if you need to order a refill. As for water, since it is a necessity for preparing the hotdogs and for washing and cleaning. A simple visual examination would suffice for this. As for paper products, you need to determine the volume needed for a day and see if the projected utilization is at par with the actual use. Remind your staff that they need to observe the quantities when serving in order to keep your costs down after your examination.

Checking on Cleanliness and Storage. One of the important aspects of your business is health safety. Since your business is about food, you need to ensure that what you sell is safe and edible. Safety starts at the end of the day, as you need to ensure that all the nooks and crannies of the food preparation and service areas are spic and span. Food particles left overnight would become hotbeds for microbes and other harmful bacteria that can eventually contaminate your food. Health safety also includes proper storage of food and other implements for your business. If these items are not properly stored, vermin may infect them and cause problems for your business. Finally, waste needs to be properly bagged and disposed of at the end of the day. Leaving trash bags filled with refuse will only cause you problems and the wastewater needs to be properly thrown away in drainage areas.

As you can see, there is still much work to be done at the end of the business day. You need to review the sales and inventory performance for the day to see how healthy your business is coming along. You need to review your utilities so that you would not be left hanging for the next business day. Finally, you need to be sure of the cleanliness of your hot dog concession so that you would not have problems in the long run. Doing this each day would make your weekends unharried and stress free.

A hotdog is not just simply a hotdog anymore. Most often, the hotdog’s personality depends very much on the geography. While in the beginning, a hotdog sandwich is all about boiled hotdog and a heated hotdog bun with some ketchup. The following are some of the best hotdog toppings that can be done right in your own home.

The New York Dog. The New York topping includes a smear of hot mustard with a little sauerkraut. There is even a derivative to this, seeing that the region has a special affinity for hotdogs, is the Coney Island style dog. This preparation includes a foot long hotdog with chili, onions and mustard. An option is the inclusion of cheese.

The Chicago Dog. The Chicago style dog has toppings of mustard, pickle relish, onions, chopped tomatoes and banana pepper rings with a siding of dill pickle. The secret ingredient for these kinds of dogs is the sprinkling of celery salt on the toppings.

The Los Angeles Dog. This is the very different taste of LA captured in a hot dog. Often, the toppings include mustard, mayo, grilled onions, and peppers with shot of hot sauce. Some would even include blue cheese crumbles instead of the mustard and mayo combo. For some hard-core dog lovers, there is a topping of jalapeno peppers that can really fire up your palate.

The Southern Dog. Like many things from the South, the basic taste is barbecued. Thus the Southern dog includes a smear of barbeque sauce, shredded cheddar, bacon bits, onions on top of a grilled dog and bread. An option is the inclusion of corn relish over the top for a true Southern dog delight.

The Mexican Dog. The first step here is wrapping your hotdog with bacon and then grilling the hotdog. Then the toppings would be American cheese, diced cucumber and sour cream. You also put in salsa, some diced avocado and some peppers for a truly Mexican flavored dog.

The Pizza Dog. First you fry your dog and then lay it out on the bun. Afterwards, the toppings would be marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, diced green peppers, onions, black olives and pepperoni for a truly pizza flavored sandwich.

These are but some of the famed toppings used for the more popular hotdogs in the market today. You can make your own, so long as you have the palate and imagination to create your hotdogs that would click with your clients.

The adage is the customer is always right in the realm of business. Sometimes, customers claim to be right but are actually wrong and they complain of the services provided them. In order to calm the client and thus save the sale, you and your employees need to be aware on the proper handling of customer complaints. Here are some ways to properly handle customer complaints at your hot dog concession stand.

Listen to the Facts not the Emotion. Since the client would be angry or peeved, you need to listen to what the issue is. Try to keep your calm amidst the emotional outbursts of the customer. Do remember to apologize for the inconvenience and reassure that action would be taken on the complaint.

Action to Take. Once you have obtained all the necessary facts, take the necessary action. If the hotdog needs to be replaced, then replace the item and add on a complimentary item for the inconvenience. Properly note the action taken so that it would be counted in the end of day sales and inventory review of the hot dog business.

Review Processes. Since this problem has come up during the business day, you would need to identify where the problem arose and correct the issue right away. If it is due to employee error, you need to remind the employee of such error and if need be, require further training.

Customer complaints, especially for a small business such as a hotdog concession, can spell doom when word gets around. Thus when a complaint has been made, you need to listen to the facts and not the emotion. Then you need to perform the action that needs be done and then for the long term review processes of the hot dog concession in order to correct the problem and prevent it from recurring. Once these steps have been done, you are now equipped to handle customer complaints at your business.

Your employee at your food cart business, be it on your own or another person’s, is the representative of your business and your company. How the food handler works at the hotdog cart would be a great factor in keeping customers returning to your concession stand. Here are some recommendations that would surely score positive points with clients when you operate your hotdog cart business.

Overall Look. Having your employees wearing spiffy uniforms would be a great attraction for your clientele. Well-kept and clean uniforms are sure-fire signs of reassuring your customers that your business is professional as well as compliant with health regulations. How your employees groom themselves is also one aspect of the food concession business that would ensure clients returning to purchase your hotdogs. Clean fingernails, hair in a hair net, clean look are but some of the simple ways that your representatives say we are healthy without saying a word.

Respectful Tone. Dealing with customers needs to be consistent, cordial and respectful. After all diners are expecting full on service so having your employees being attentive and courteous to your clientele would surely help in the dining enjoyment. Even if at times that there are irate customers, your employees need to keep their cool and respond to the complaints. This can be done by properly training and guiding your personnel on how to handle customers while on the job.

Cleanliness is Key. Since the hotdog concession cart is located outdoors, you need to keep your food preparation area clean. Always keep the water in the boilers at the right temperature, making sure that the surfaces are clean and free of food particles can ensure the prevention of the proliferation of germs and bacteria. This not only prevents your clients from getting sick, you would remain compliant with health safety regulations in your area.

As you can see, these are but simple steps that would surely reap dividends for your food concession business. In keeping a clean overall look for your employees, you can impart to your clients the comfort that you are preparing safe and clean food. In having training on customer handling, the clients would be courteously served by your employees. Finally, maintaining high standards of cleanliness would also help in keeping your clients safe and healthy with the food you serve. All these would only help your business become better and in the long run, earn profits for you.

Many management gurus would say that the biggest and most important resource of any organization is their human resources. After the initial thrill of being employed, many individuals employed exhibit a drop in their productivity either because they feel that they are underappreciated or unmotivated. To keep your hot dog business in tiptop shape, here are some tips on how to motivate your employees to help your business remain at its full capacity.

Productivity Bonuses. This may make some employers grumble, as this requires some capital outlay on the part of the owner. Do remember that this system only becomes effective when an individual employee exhibits above average performance. The system may include points for attendance, customer feedback, skills testing and overall performance reviews by peers. Once the employee meets the effective criteria, then a small raise would definitely provide incentive for not only the benefiting employee but also other members of your staff to do better on the job.

Career Path Management. It may seem laughable to many that having a career plan for hot dog concession employees in your business. This is a good incentive for individuals as this provides hope to employees in improving not only their skill set but also their overall welfare. This can be done by determining which aspect of your business requires improving skills, such as dishwashing and trash management, food preparation and then counter supervision. Having these three areas for career pathing would be a great incentive for performance improvement for employees.

Manager of the Day. Having employees perform managerial duties at certain times of the business cycle can provide an insight as to the managerial acumen of employees. You can also observe how the individual employee can perform in the high stress job of managing a going concern. Giving them a taste of how it is at the top would whet their appetite on improving their performance to eventually head their own food concession store.

These may seem to be up in the air concepts for such a small enterprise. But look at the bigger picture as these techniques would certainly help motivate your employees. Productivity bonuses would provide immediate gratification for good work. Having a career path plan also would provide employees the gusto to do better in their job to be promoted. You also can give them a taste of the reins of the managerial duties and determine if they have both the skills and abilities for it. These would certainly be good and effective ways of motivating your employees in your business and give them tools to improve themselves in the long run.

Your hotdog cart is the flagship of your business. Not only did you invest your hard earned money into purchasing the necessary equipment for your enterprise. You would have also invested a lot of your time and effort in preparing for your opening. But before opening your store, you need to do some advertising to let customers know you are in business. The following are some ways for you to inform the world that you are open for business.

Soft Openings. When you finally open for business, you need not open as a full-blown set up. You can open and provide a few options for your new clients. Once you have opened the hotdog stand, you can learn about the tricks of the trade and iron out the kinks of your business processes. After a couple of weeks, you would be able to identify your problem areas and thus improve your business when you finally run full time. Soft openings are ways in order for you to also test your market as to their response to your hotdog fare.

Flyers. This is the cheapest way to advertise your business. Since you have already scouted the foot traffic in the area and determined the businesses around your business area, giving out flyers a few days before soft opening and full opening would help inform your possible market of your business. Also, providing coupons for those that bring the flyers over to your concession stand would help in showing how effective this marketing tool is to your business.

Quality and quality. As the Latin saying goes, res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself. You need to show your prospective clients that your menu contents are the best in the area. Thus you need to keep strict quality controls on the food ingredients and preparation process for your food. When you make quality food, then word gets around and when word gets around you would be able to tap into your market and make a name for your business.

Advertising your business need not be such a full-blown and expensive endeavor. Undertaking a soft opening would make a splash for your market to inform them of your business. Giving out flyers would essentially open a larger market for your business by providing information to your target market. The best way though to make and keep your clientele is the quality of the food that you serve. Having all these together would sure start your business right for you and earn your profits in the long run.

Starting your business, like any other business, you need to have specific plans to help you on your way. If you do want to be successful in this line of business, then you need to have a specific plan to build and operate your enterprise. Not only do you have the option to sell hotdogs daily, you can eventually franchise out your hotdog stand and become a conglomeration. But before you start though, here are some basic tips you need to undertake when staring your hot dog stand business.

Get Advice. It’s hard to go on a journey without a map or compass. You need advice especially on some of the intricate details of doing business. Often, get an ebook or attend classes on basic entrepreneurship would help you iron out the details on your enterprise. It may seem to be quite an expense at first but knowledge and information you gain at the start will help you in the long run.

Find a Good Location. Since your hot dog cart business would be dependent on human traffic, finding a location that is accessible should make the business a lot easier. The key in finding a good location is that there are many people that walk past your chosen spot, there is not much competition and your location is easily accessible.

Have a Business Plan. In order to keep your business within the realm of your capacities and capital, you need to have a business plan. This will determine the kind of business you have, the taxes you would need to pay, how large your business is, the operating plans and other needs for your enterprise to become a success.

Choose the Proper Equipment. After you have formulated your business plan, you need to determine the best equipment best suited for your requirements. There are many businesses that claim that they have the best hotdog equipment but the experience and expertise of World’s Best Hot Dog Carts is unparalleled. The carts they produce are tailor made to your requirements and design with a proven track record of reliability and usability.

The Menu. The centerpiece of your business is your menu. The menu is not just about the food and the ingredients, it is also about the quality and the cost for your clients and patrons. You also need to keep your cart and processes clean and within health standards so that you can keep your business open and serving the best food for your clientele.

As you can see, these five simple tips can help you start your hot dog business. You need to be properly guided, have a business plan, have the proper equipment, have the best location and formulate a great menu so that your enterprise can become a success at the soonest possible time.

The recent killer hot dog headlines made by the American Academy of Pediatrics have made many eyebrows rise to the ceiling. The proposal from the learned baby doctors state that hot dogs should come with a warning label, some requiring language such as “choking on this hotdog may be hazardous to your child’s health”.

Many parents experience the dread of seeing their toddler having food go down the wrong pipe. That is why it is essential that parents and au pairs know how to do baby CPR, essentially whacking a toddler between the shoulder blades. Statistics though belie the danger, as food is one of the main culprits of choking cases for children below ten years of age. The main problem is that the cylindrical shape of hotdogs that are easy to lodge in a child’s throat leading to at least seventy-seven children deaths per year caused by choking on food in general.

Also stemming from the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is the re-engineering of the hotdog shape. This may be a long ways off as the hotdog shape has been revered for centuries so parents are advised not to leave a child alone when eating. There are also some ways you as a businessperson can do to help avoid children choking on your precious hotdogs.

The first way is to cut up the hotdogs into smaller chunks when serving customers that are below the age of four years of age. The sizes can be half an inch or less, this can prevent choking from occurring. Also when cooking food, you need to ensure they are soft especially for beans, vegetables and pasta.

If your business provides other kinds of food, then you need to be very wary of what you sell. These include peanuts, peanut butter, marshmallows, chewing gum, meat sticks and round candy. Children can easily choke on candy, peanut butter globs can also become a choking hazard. Hotdogs, because of their shape can lodge in their throats that can become very dangerous.

As a food concessionaire, you need to be very aware of the food you sell and how you serve it. Always be on the lookout for your young customers as they would be your base for now and for the future.

One way to beat the unemployment bug or the boredom of a desk job is being your own boss with your own business. The hottest business nowadays is having a hot dog stand. A hot dog stand is not just about boiling a wiener and putting catsup on a bun.

Check if hot dog stands are allowed in your area. Some communities have ordinances that prohibit vending in public places. This would definitely torpedo any plans on putting up your own enterprise.

Learn from others. Before putting up your own shop, it is best to learn from others who have been in the business for quite some time. This may include being in not just one but around many hot dog concessionaires to see how they operate on a daily basis.

Attend Food Handling courses. This would prove to be helpful in your business as these would be often required in licensing your business. Not only can this be required, it only would prove helpful in your business.

Finding a Location. You need to check with the city ordinances as to what locations are allowed for this business. The location, if allowed, needs to have heavy foot traffic with few competitors or near a large operating facility with many employees. These would prove to be helpful in making your business a success.

Purchasing the right equipment. Finding the right equipment within your budget is important, as this is your workhorse for your enterprise. You may need to research a bit but you may not need to look far as World’s Best Hotdog Cart provides designs and carts that is suited for your needs and costs.

Get Good Suppliers. These are your partners in your business. You may need to look for the suppliers that provide the best ingredients at the most cost effective prices. You may also need to look for storage facilities if you intend to stock up on supplies for the long-term.

As you can see, purchasing a hotdog stand is not just about the equipment itself. It is about city ordinances and health requirements, food handling classes, learning from other business owners, finding a good location and getting good suppliers. Once you have these down pat, you are sure to be on the right track to making your enterprise a great success.