The following is a guest article written by Hot Dog Biz 101 student Robin Delancy.
Here is how I handle large take out orders at my hot dog cart.
Actually, in my first year, I lost what could have been a very steady and lucrative customer because of this and my inexperience with it. He came by and ordered 12 dogs to go and said he’d be back in 20 minutes. Then I got swamped with people when I was halfway through his order. I thought I’d make it taking them and finishing his order as I seemed to have plenty of time. But he came back in 10. Then he decided to take what I had, paid and left and never came back. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that way too often, but I’ve learned how to deal with it as follows.
One woman wanted 4 chili dogs, 4 chili cheese and 2 pulled porks, Plus sodas and chips. I lined up all the dogs by category, 4 chilis first and wrapped them and my brother kicks in at that point and packages them. Then the chili cheese and I do the same routine. Finally, I get the pork sandwiches done and wrap them up. With Dan doing the bagging and me doing the fixing in categories, it goes pretty fast. I tell the customer where the sodas and chips are so they take care of half of it and pick out what they want.
If it’s a bunch of kids from the beach, it’s even easier as they always want hot dogs. I line them up and get a count of how many dogs the whole group wants. I can line up as many as 14 at a time. Then I go down the line and ask them, “OK, number 1, what’s going on your dog?”, then number 2 what would you like?” Etc. It goes fast and the kids love it! I tell them to line up everything else on the table before they take it all away and I tally it up for each group or whoever is paying.
The rest of my customers are quite understanding and although I apologize for the wait they all tell me, “Don’t worry about it, you’re doing fine.”
If it’s contractors, I always feel the need for speed as I know they have a limited lunch hour, so a simple question of who’s paying, or Seperate or together, gets me into the same routine with the necessary variations.
The walking tacos are so popular people are ordering doubles! So next year I’ll have to have large and small on the menu! People seem quite surprised when they see the variety I have on the menu. For a small cart I do offer quite a lot and I can vary it any way they like. For instance, if they don’t want peppers on the sausage, they can have it any way they like with other toppings. If they can’t decide between barbecued onions or raw I suggest both. Some have even had pulled pork on the dogs! People love my flexibility. Some kids have shared a dog and while one wanted ketchup and one wanted mustard, I could see a fight starting. So I put mustard on half and ketchup on the other half. They cut it down the middle and everyone was happy!
So that’s about it, Steve. I hope that helps a little. I’m very much a people person and have always lived a high profile life of one sort or another. I get excited with crowds and move fast and aim to please. I think that’s why I’ve learned to make it a good experience even for the people waiting in line. At times I’ve even, literally, had to juggle the condiment bottles! Try that without getting ketchup and mustard all over yourself! *:)) laughing
Talk to you soon,
Thanks Robin – great tips!!!
The only thing I would add is to use a dog sled when making multiple dogs. Keeps them from rolling around.
You certainly have come a long way, from student to teacher. I love it!!!