Selling Hot Dogs at Events – Tidy Profits at Fairs, Festivals, and Shows

New hot dog vendors often don’t realize how the dynamics of running a stand change when you go from a low- to medium-volume casual venue to a high-volume event. Events can offer you the opportunity to make a huge profit in a short period of time, so it is crucial that you maximize this opportunity by doing everything right.

After you have done a few events, you will master and be able to prepare based on past experience. However, if you’re just getting started with your first concession stand, here are some tips on how to sell hot dogs at large-scale events.

Some of the tips below are real gems, so if you find some of the content seems obvious, keep reading and you’ll get to the good stuff.

Get the details clear

Make sure you have accurate details from the event organizers. You should have up-to-date information on the dates and times of the events and know when you will be allowed access to set up.

To get an accurate idea of ​​the kind of sales volume you’ll have, you need to have a good idea of ​​event attendance and how you’ll position yourself 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 what kind of people will be attending an event. A rock concert will draw a different crown from a garden festival, so you need to take this into account when preparing a menu.

Visit the site beforehand

Whenever possible, you should visit the site beforehand to check. This will give you an idea of ​​what kind of space you will have to work in and what facilities are available.

Downscale your menu

Since you’ll be selling hot dogs and beverages in large quantities in a busy environment, you should keep your menu fairly simple. This will limit the time customers take to choose. It will also keep your inventory requirements in check and help limit errors with orders.

Estimate Staffing Requirements

You need to make sure you have enough people available to handle a high volume of sales at any given time. However, to make a good profit, you want to limit the staff to only the number that is essential.

You will likely need at least two people and possibly more depending on the size of the crowd. It’s great if you can have one person take care of the money and the orders while the other makes the hot dogs. A team of two also allows you to have one person in charge of the booth while one is free as a ‘runner’ to go and get additional supplies when needed.

Hot dog prices at events

You will likely pay a hefty sum to be at the event, so you want to make sure your time there pays off.

The nice thing about selling hot dogs at events is that your potential customers are usually in a pretty captive environment. Depending on the number of other food vendors at an event, customers may not have many options to get a snack besides your hot dog stand. This can give you some leeway to price a bit more aggressively.

Whenever possible, you should look for optimal price points that allow for faster service. If you keep your prices at equal dollar amounts ($3 instead of $3.20, for example), you’ll avoid the need for a lot of coins, since you’ll mostly be handing out dollar bills as change. If your staff are struggling to calculate and collect the correct change, then you are wasting time. Still, at an event you should consider selling each item for at least a dollar.

spare change

Be sure to start with a large amount of change, as it is typical for customers to hand over a large bill for a small purchase. There’s 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 reach out to other vendors at an event for help, but it’s always best to be self-sufficient.

Systems and Productivity

It is important that you and your team focus on developing a system to maximize productivity. Every part of the process, from taking an order and making a hot dog to delivering a customer’s order, needs to be analyzed, refined, and made to work as smoothly as possible. Watch the process of delivering a hot dog to a customer at Costco as they run one of the most efficient operations you’ll find.

crowd control

In a busy environment, you’ll find that you have customers lining up to buy your hot dogs and other items. Under normal circumstances, a small queue can be good for business, but remember that if it gets too long, it can turn people off. Make sure you don’t let your line get out of hand. A great way to manage a line is to create a separate line for those who want to order just drinks, as you will be able to fulfill these orders much faster than with cooked food orders.

Other considerations

Also think about the weather. If you’re attending an outdoor concert in the summer, for example, you should consider storing extra bottled water.

Working a hot dog stand at a big event like a sports game or music festival is a whole new level compared to driving a cart on the highway. To make the most of the great opportunities that events present, you must know how to sell hot dogs quickly and efficiently.

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