New hot dog vendors often don’t realize how the dynamics of running a stand change when you go from a casual location with small to medium sales volume to an event with high sales volume. Events can offer you a chance to make a really good profit within a short period of time so it is crucial that you maximize this opportunity by getting everything right.
After you have done a few events you will get the hang of it and will be able to prepare based on past experience. However if you are just starting out with your first concession stand, below we have set out some tips on how to sell hot dogs at large scale events.
Some of the tips below are real gems so if you find that some of the content seems obvious just keep reading and you’ll get to the good stuff.
Get the Details Clear
Make sure that you have accurate details from event organizers. You should have up to date information on event dates and times and know when you will be allowed to have access to set up.
To get an accurate idea of the kind of sales volume that you will be doing you need to have a good idea of event attendance as well as how you will be positioned to gain access to attendees. You also need to know how many other vendors will be selling food at the event.
In most cases it will be obvious as to what kind of people will be attending an event. A rock concert will attract a different crown from a garden festival so you should keep this in mind when putting a menu together.
Visit the Site Beforehand
Wherever possible you should visit the site beforehand to check it out. This will give you an idea of what kind of space you will have to work with and what facilities are available.
Scale Down your Menu
As you will be selling hot dogs and drinks to large numbers in a busy environment you should keep your menu quite simple. This will limit the time that customers take to make choices. It will also keep your inventory requirements under control and help to limit mistakes with orders.
Estimate Staff Requirements
You need to make sure that you have enough people on hand to handle a high sales volume at any given time. Yet to make a good profit you want to limit staff to only the number that are essential.
It is likely that you will need at least two people and possibly more depending on the size of the crowd. It is great if you can have one person dealing with money and orders while the other prepares the hot dogs. A team of two also allows you to have one person manning the stand while one is free as a ‘runner’ to go and get additional supplies when necessary.
Hot Dog Pricing at Events
It is likely that you are paying a considerable sum to be at the event so you have to make sure that your time there is profitable.
The great thing about selling hot dogs at events is that your prospective customers are usually in a fairly captive environment. Depending on the number of other food vendors at an event, customers may not have a lot of options to get a snack apart from your hot dog stand. This may give you some power to price a little more aggressively.
Where possible you should go for optimal pricing points that enable faster service. If you keep your prices at even dollar amounts ($3 rather than $3.20 for example) you will avoid the need for a lot of coins as you will be handing over mostly dollar bills as change. If your staff have to scramble around calculating and getting together the correct change then you are wasting time. At an event you should be looking at selling every item for at least one dollar anyway.
Make sure that you start off with a huge amount of change as it is typical for customers to hand over a large bill for a small purchase. There is nothing worse than running out of change and not being able to sell a hot dog to someone who only has a twenty dollar bill. In some cases you can approach other vendors at an event for help but it is always best to be self reliant.
Systems and Productivity
It is important that you and your team focus on developing a system so that productivity is maximized. Each part of the process, from taking an order and preparing a hot dog through to handing over a customer’s order should be analyzed, refined and made to run as smoothly as possible. Observe the process of delivering a hot dog to a customer at Costco as they run one of the most efficient operations that you will find.
In a busy environment you will find that you have customers lining up to buy your hot dogs and other products. Under normal circumstances a small line can be good for business but remember that if it gets too big then it can turn people off. Make sure that you don’t let your line get out of control. One great way to manage a line is to create a separate line for those wanting to order only drink as you will be able to fulfill these orders much faster than orders for cooked food.
Also give some thought to the weather. If you are attending an outdoor concert in the summertime for example, then you should consider stocking extra bottled water.
Working a hot dog stand at a large event like a sports game or music festival is a whole new level compared to running a roadside cart. To make the most of the excellent opportunities that events represent you must know how to sell hot dogs quickly and efficiently.