hot dog cart businessThe food service business is always growing. People will always need to eat food. The new generation buys more from vendors and does far less cooking at home, and buys more prepared food from vendors. The future trend is more take out and fast food.

You can catch this rising trend and ride it with a hot dog cart business.

So why doesn’t everyone start a business with hot dog carts?

Here’s a few reasons why:

1. They don’t know how to begin.
2. They don’t know how to start a commercial enterprise.
3. They get tangled in the health regulations a general red tape.
4. They are fearful of doing something different and unknown.

Where do you start?

To begin you need to find a place where you can set up a hot dog cart.

The perfect location has lots of foot traffic, should cost next to nothing to rent, be very visible and have no other hot dog carts.

That may seem impossible but take a look around, it might be easier than you think. Common locations for a hot dog cart are in or near:

* busy parks, the zoo, a beach, or recreational areas.
* industrial parks and factories.
* parking lots of large malls.
* bus, subway and train stations.
* the local bar strip
* downtown parking lot or street.
* schools, colleges or universities.
* office buildings.

Once you have found a few possible places, you need find out if you can put your hot dog cart there. Check with near by business owners ask them if you can put your hot dog cart on their property. Many will gladly have a quality provider of food close by, both to feed their own employees and to potentially draw customers. Also check with the local municipality for by-laws dealing with setting up on public property.

How do you start a new business?

You have to register your business with the appropriate parts of the government. They are most concerned with what sort of business you are going to be and, more importantly, how you will give them their tax money. Also you will need to choose a business name. After you have registered your business with both federal and state governments then you can get a license from the city government. The local authorities may require you to get a permit before allowing you to set your cart up on public property such as a park or a street.

You will also need to find out what the health department in you r area requires of people working in food service. They will tell you what foods you can and cannot serve out of a mobile food facility like a hot dog cart. They likely will tell you what equipment you need to have on your hot dog cart to make it legal as well. This important information helps with selecting the right model of hot dog cart as you will have a minimum set of features to work with. Your regional health department may also require that you take training courses in safe food handling. Last, they may need to physically inspect your hot dog cart to see that it follows all regulations.

What if you are too afraid to try something new?

Everyone is afraid of the new and unknown. That is human nature. Do not let that fear decide for you and steer you away from a successful business. Every business out there started because someone else got over their fears and took the first step. You already have done that by learning more about what it takes to get started. Don’t stop now.

You can operate your own hot dog cart business or you can franchise one. I would suggest franchising is much easier because everything will be provided all you have to do is to find a suitable location.

For franchising you can check here: Mr. Sloppy Food Cart Business and Mighty Joe’s Footlong Food cart Business.

Source: Vromm, M. “How to Start a Hod God Cart Business”. http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/192869/business_and_finance/how_to_start_a_hot_dog_cart_business.html. Sept 2009.
Photo: The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

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