New hot dog vendors often don’t realize how the dynamics of running a booth change when moving from a casual venue with small to medium sales volume to a high volume event. Events can offer you the opportunity to make a really good 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 it and can prepare based on past experience. However, if you’re just starting out 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 true gems, so if you find that some of the content seems obvious, read on and you’ll get to the good stuff.
Get the details clear
Make sure you have accurate information 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 to access the settings.
To get an accurate idea of the type of sales volume you will be making, you need to have a good idea of your event attendance and 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 what kind of people will be attending an event. A rock concert will attract a different wreath than a garden festival, so you need to keep this in mind when preparing a menu.
Visit the site beforehand
Whenever possible, you should visit the site beforehand to check it out. This will give you an idea of what type of space you will have to work with and what facilities are available.
Reduce your menu
Since you will be selling hot dogs and drinks to large numbers in a busy environment, you should keep your menu fairly simple. This will limit the time it takes for customers to make decisions. It will also keep your inventory requirements under control and help limit ordering errors.
Estimate staffing needs
You need to make sure you have enough people available to handle a high volume of sales at any given time. However, to get a good profit, you should limit your staff to the essential number.
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 fetch additional supplies when needed.
Hot Dog prices at events
You are likely paying a hefty sum to be at the event so you need to make sure your time there is profitable.
The great thing about selling hot dogs at events is that your prospects are often in a fairly captive environment. Depending on the number of other food vendors at an event, customers may not have many options for getting a snack other than their hot dog stand. This can give you some power to price a little more aggressively.
Whenever possible, you should opt for optimal price points that allow for faster service. If you keep your prices in equal dollar amounts ($ 3 instead of $ 3.20 for example), you will avoid the need for many coins, as you will be handing out mostly dollar bills as change. If your staff has to go to great lengths to calculate and get the change right, then you are wasting your time. At an event, you should be looking to sell each item for at least a dollar anyway.
Be sure to start with a large amount of change, as it is typical for customers to submit a large invoice 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 reach out to other providers at an event for help, but it’s always best to be self-reliant.
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 analyzed order, needs to be refined and done to run as smoothly as possible. Watch the process of delivering a hot dog to a customer at Costco as they perform one of the most efficient operations you’ll 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 too large can put 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 orders for cooked food.
Also think a bit about the weather. If you are attending an outdoor concert in the summer, for example, you should consider storing extra bottled water.
Working at a hot dog stand at a big event like a sports game or music festival is a whole new level compared to running a cart on the road. To take advantage of the excellent opportunities that events represent, you must know how to sell hot dogs quickly and efficiently.