It is important that you get the right mix of products to sell in your hot dog business. The products that you choose to sell should be easy to transport and prepare, offer good profit margins and most importantly should be what customers at a specific location want. If customers are happy with your product selection and like your hot dogs then they will become the regulars that you need if you want to reach an excellent level of profit.
Menus should be fairly simple in both design and in the variety of product offerings that are included. If your hot dog cart menu is too complicated then customers will become confused and you will waste time answering questions. On the other hand, if your menu is too simple and doesn't cater to common demands then you will be leaving money on the table and not maximizing profit potential.
Don't forget to include some ‘combo' deals to encourage customers to include other menu items along with their hot dog purchase.
Below we have set out some common hot dog cart menu ideas that you may consider when it comes to deciding on exactly what products you want to sell.
The Best Hot Dogs
Firstly, you need to have great hot dogs and possibly a variety of different kinds. When it comes to hot dogs, some people prefer regular frankfurters while others go for variations like Polish or Italian sausage.
Size is another interesting variation that you can offer if you are doing decent volume. Not everyone wants a full sized dog and you can provide your customers with more options by offering ‘foot long', medium or smaller sized options. You can also offer ‘double dogs' for customers who are meat lovers.
Take into account the demographics of the area that you decide to locate in when you put together your menus. People of different age groups or backgrounds will have different preferences when it comes to the style of hot dogs, snack foods and beverages that they like. If you are setting up in an area with a Jewish community then you will need to offer kosher menu offerings. For a Muslim community you would do well by having a halal option and so on.
Buns and Toppings
Secondly, you have to combine your hot dogs with fresh buns and condiments in a way that you can make up an interesting menu to suit all tastes. Of course, many people like to choose their own toppings, but if you offer them a selection of ‘Chili Dog', ‘Chicago Style' or other options then they may go for your offerings instead of wasting time deciding on exactly what they want.
Sauces and toppings are numerous in variety and a good vendor should stock everything that is commonly requested. At the basic level you have sauces like ketchup, mustard and relishes. Other common sauces include barbecue sauce, chili sauce and mayonnaise. Toppings can then include onions, cheese, kraut, pickles, chili beans and even coleslaw. These are just a few ideas and there are many websites that you can check out to learn about some of the more ‘gourmet' options that people are going for these days.
Don't forget to take regional preferences into account. If you are starting up in New York then you would be foolish not to consider including red onion sauce on your hot dog cart menu.
Other Hot Fast Food Items
If permitted under your license you may decide to offer a variety of other fast food items. This can often make things more complicated than they need to be though as you have to have the space and equipment to prepare them. One common fast food item that compliments hot dogs is french fries with various toppings such as cheese fries or chilli cheese fries.
Cold Food Items
Cold food items are great in that they usually require little preparation onsite. Hot dog carts often sell coleslaw or other kinds of salads. Nachos could also be great for your menu as they can be quickly and easily prepared
Snacks and Beverages
Adding snacks like chips or candy bars to your menu is a no brainer. They require no heating or refrigeration, are able to be stored easily and they provide you with a good profit margin.
Beverages take up valuable refrigeration space but are a high turnover item with a great price mark up. With soda, go for cans over bottles as cans generally take up less space in your cooler. Don't forget to also offer bottled water.