Hello Steve,

I have some questions on converting a pop up camper into a hot dog cart / food trailer similar to one that I saw on your website. Here is the picture:

coverting a pop up camper into a hot dog cart

A pop up camper converted into a hot dog cart using the E-Z Built Hot Dog Cart Video and Plans Package.

Do your build a hot dog cart plans cover how to build a trailer that cooks other type of food such as tacos?

Since the pop up trailer is somewhat open does it require vent hoods? Do you know if its considered enclosed or unenclosed?

Thanks Steve,

Csar

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Hi Csar,

A pop up camper conversion like the one in the picture would not be considered enclosed unless you install full walls. You should not have to install vent hoods, etc. However, ALWAYS check with your own inspector before you start building. It does not matter what I say, it matters what your inspector says.

My plans were used to build the trailer in that picture. I do not show the pop up camper conversion in the videos but once you watch them all the way through you will be able to do it easily. It’s just a matter of gutting the camper and then building in all of the equipment such as steamers, tanks, plumbing, etc exactly as I show you in the videos.

And you can modify it to include any other equipment that you want such as grills, flat top griddles, shave ice machines, etc.

Tacos would be so easy. Just pre-cook your meats and keep them hot in the steamer. The steamer holds three 1/3 size pans so you could do beef, chicken, and pork. Again, check with your local inspector for code requirements.

Now I’m hungry. :-0

I’ll be stopping by the Hot Dog Profits Premium private members area (as I do every day) to answer any specific construction questions as you go through the videos. I’ll see you inside.

Send me some pics when you finish it!

-Steve

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Where to set up a hot dog cartGood afternoon Steve,

How do you determine if I should be doing this full time or part time? Also, the location of my cart. how to you determine if it is good  / bad ? 
 
Thank you,
Jerome K.
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Hi Jerome,

If you already have a job, I recommend starting out part time and working into a full time income if you wish to go that route. It takes the pressure off.

If you don’t have a job then jump in with both feet!

As far as locations go, it takes a while to develop regular customers but you will know within a few weeks if the spot is a producer.

A HUGE advantage is that we have wheels under our restaurants. If one location proves to be a dud, we can move on to a new one. No biggie.

Compare that to a brick and mortar restaurant that must invest tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into a permanent site. They MUST pick the right location on the first try. Not easy to do.

As you can see, the risk associated with opening a hot dog cart is tiny. For us, there is always another location to try. One more reason why I love the hot dog biz!

-Steve

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take out orders at hot dog cartThe following is a guest article written by Hot Dog Biz 101 student Robin Delancy.

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Hi Steve,

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,

Robin/Dixie/Lakeside Lunch

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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!!!

-Steve

{ 16 comments }

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