One of the greatest business opportunities for hot dog stand operators is to make relationships with event organizers. If you can get a concession to have your hot dog stand at a large sports event, carnival or rock concert then you have an opportunity to make profits that are typically way better than you would expect from a daily road side operation.
At such events and shows you will have access to a huge, hungry market. It is also likely that people attending the event will not have a lot of other options for getting a snack or a meal. Sure there may be other concession stands at an event but in general you have a captive audience. People are unlikely to leave a concert, show or baseball game to go outside and look for an alternative. So you can usually get away with pricing your hot dogs a little higher than you would in a normal selling environment.
However, running a stand at a busy event can be challenging and is quite different from a normal street side location. You will probably be paying a fair bit for the concession so you have to make the most of the opportunity. Here are some tips on selling hot dogs at busy events.
A Concession Agreement
Once an event organizer or concert promoter has agreed to let you set up your stand at their event it always pays to get the details down on paper into some form of agreement. Both parties should know where they stand so that there is no confusion.
Make sure that you cover event dates and times as well as specifying your location, access and use of facilities. Visit the site beforehand if possible.
Try to get the organizer to give guarantees as to event attendance and the number of other food vendors that will be granted concessions. The event organizer may require you to stay for a specific time and may have other stipulations.
Understanding Market Needs
Depending on the kind of event that you will be attending you may decide to make alterations to your menu. You might offer hot tea to a crowd at a daytime trade show and offer cold beer to attendees at an evening rock festival.
Don’t forget to take the weather into account. If it looks like the day is going to be exceptionally warm then throw in some extra cases of soda and bottled water.
Try to keep your menu as simple as possible. In your regular day to day operation you may have time to discuss orders and prepare a wide variety of products. However, when you are serving a large crowd you want to be as quick as possible in terms of both taking orders and preparing them. A simple menu will avoid mistakes and customer questions and it will help you to simplify stock requirements.
Make sure that you have enough staff on hand to keep up with orders. In an environment with high volume sales you will need at least two workers on each hot dog stand and possibly more. With two employees on a stand it is common to have one taking orders while the other prepares hot dogs. You may also find that you need one staff member to tend the stand while one dashes off to get urgent supplies.
If you have attended other events in your area you should have a fair idea of what kind of price you can command for a hot dog at an event. People will expect to pay more than usual when they attend a concert or sports game but they still don’t like being ripped off so keep it realistic.
Try to round off your prices to even amounts. Four dollars is much more convenient than $3.99 for example. Make it easy for your staff to quickly count customer payments and change. Take lot’s of change as many people will only be carrying large notes and will want to make a purchase with a twenty, or even a hundred dollar bill.
Efficiency and Systems
When you are serving hot dogs to crowds of people you really have to focus on efficiency and productivity. Go over the process with staff beforehand and make sure that there is no double handling or wasted time.
There are lots of little tricks that concession stand vendors have discovered for handling crowds. One excellent way to keep your lines short is to set up a separate line for beverages as these orders can be completed quickly.
Running a stand at an event is a completely different game compared with operating a roadside hot dog stand. Opportunities to make exceptional profits are there at such events so you must know how to run an efficient business that maximizes sales. You also need to prove that you business is professional and pleasant to deal with and then event organizers will want to have you back next time.