Hot Dog Carts, Potato Chips, and a Contest 4 U!

by · 43 comments

Michael Ricchetti writes

Steve – question: Having a hard time finding large enough potato chip bags to sell for a dollar each, all 1.5 oz size, don’t think people will buy. What do you say?
Thanks, Mike in Ohio

*********************

Hey Mike,

I sell the 1.5 oz size for a buck on my cart.  I agree a dollar is a bit pricey but it’s part of a bigger strategy…

My dogs are three dollars, drinks are a dollar, and chips are a dollar. That’s five bucks total.

I offer a meal deal for $4.75 and that is what moves the chips.

OK readers – let’s hear your answer to Mike’s question in the comments. The most helpful tip wins a two pack of chip clips (see the theme here?).

Let’s hear your answers folks!

-Steve

P.S. Please share this on your Facebook by clicking that little blue button. You know the one. Let’s get everyone’s input on this. Thanks!

 

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

steve

Ooops I forget to say that the contest ends sometime Sunday night. Good Luck!
-Steve

Reply

WAYNE

TRY A RESTAURANT SUPPLY HOUSE.

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Brandon

It is not so much the size of the chip as it is the kind of chip. Use specialty brands (ie kettle cooked)

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Steve "Fat Franks"Roswell,NM

Frito lay, has actualy came out with a bigger bag, same price, pick them up at Costco, or Sams, comes in a variety pack, I also sell dogs for $2.00, specialty dogs $3.00, drinks for a buck, and chips for a buck, Combo meal for $3.75. The bigger bag really helps!Good Luck, and Happy Selling, A Smile always helps…

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iLoveFoodToo!

Hi everybody! I sell a Kettle chip bag that is 1&3/8 ounces for a buck. I’m big on quality so I feel that makes up for the size – and my customers agree. It also helps that no one else (I’ve seen anyways) sells this distinct brand or type of chip (4 flavors by the way). Anyway, I do 2 chili & cheese dogs with 1 chip + a soda for $6 ($7 with a Snapple) and it all seems to fly away just fine :0) …..also wanna say thanks to this whole community of entrepreneurs and doggers! You all are the best silent support system out! Hope this helps.

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Tim/Get Grilled

I have tried the 1.5 oz bag at $1 and .50. I found that I can keep my chip sales moving at the .50 price. When I charged a $1 I had to up the cost of my special and in today’s market everytime i raised my price, someone got priced out of the market. My special sold at $4.00. Hot dog was $2.50, drink $1.25, and chip .50. At the .50 cent price the chips were huge kid friendly and the parents appreciated the price. Chips were my slowest moving item. So i charged enough to make a profit, but still attractive to the customer. Today we compete against food trucks, trailers, B&M joints and other doggers. Great quality at a great price. The price shaves off some on the profit margin but gains it back with volume.

Reply

Beau

Steve,

In the short time i have been selling dogs, I have noticed that i sell more chips at certain events than others. While i do have a regular spot on Friday and Saturday Nights outside of a nightclub, I hardly sell chips at that location, same when i do the college football games at the university of oklahoma, only sold about 3 bags of chips last weekend at the home opener. However when i do a festival i sell alot of the chips/meal deals. Being as the chips will keep for a bit ( if my kids stay outta them) i buy them when they are on sale, and move them at the festivals.

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dennis corderman

We have had no complaints at a dollar. Dog is $2.50, drinks (water or soda) are $1.00. Meal Deal is $4.00 (dog, drink and chips).

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Tom from Holland, Michigan

Hey Mike.
I’am right in line with Steve. I get $3 .00 for a dog and $1 for chips and $1 for a soda. I offer a combo meal for $4.75. People like to feel like there getting a deal. The Lays reg chips are very good sellers. The Sun Chips do well too.
Mike stick to the name brand munchies. If you go cheep and cut corner that will hurt your business in the lone run.
Hey Steve I love the Cash Tracker it sure makes my bookkeeping easy now.
Tom from Holland, Mich

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Dennis/HavaHotDog

I sell Pringles chips in the small containers. They cost me less than bags of chips at Sam’s and they are easy to transport and less prone to breakage. I also sell the TGI Friday’s potato skins and bags of pretzels. I get $0.75 for each. My combo meal is $5.00 for a 4/1 Nathan’s dog, chips, soda and cookie. Hotdogs only are $3.00 and $4.00 for specialty dogs.

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Ron Nance

If they are hungry they’ll buy it! The most important thing is to treat your customers like a person and not like a sale.

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The American Dog-Father

Hey doggers,
I sell the 1.5oz Lays chip variety for $1 and make it the free part of a combo. I found the regular lays and BBQ are the biggest sellers for adults and Cheetos for kids. Sour cream and onion are also in the running. “Add chips and a drink for a buck?” and I get a lot of takers. Give Boulder Canyon Chips a try. Great flavor and cost is competitive. When I reopen at my new location I am going to use them. Since Kettle Chips are made here, everyone sells them!

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Jack's Last Stand

I agree with Tim/Get Grilled regarding pricing, although I charge $ .75 and discount $ .25 on a meal. The key is the market area you are in. For example; I get $2.25 for an all beef dog that includes chili, cheese and choice of 13 other toppings and $3.00 for a specialty dog. (Reuben, Salty Dog, Cowboy Dogie)
This is a small town and people get used to the junk dog for a dollar that organizations sell on occasion outside Wal-Mart for fund raisers. Fortunately, most people recognize quality when they taste it. Anymore if someone declares that my price is too high my repeat customers chime in with, “not for his hot dogs.”

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Big Dog House

My quarter pound dogs and polish go for $3.50 ea. I sell 1 oz chips for $.5o they come 50 to a case $10.8o . I still make a profit of $15.00 on a case. Water in 16.9 oz bottles sell for $.50 profit is unreal. I sell 12 oz cans of soda for $.75 ea. I am not getting rich by no means, but I am really enjoying what I do For the first time. In long long long time.

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GarretB

I agree with iLoveFoodToo!

Carrying chips and drinks that are out of the mainstream (Kettle cooked, UTZ, Snapple, Gatorade) set you apart from “the other guys”.

Offer up a brownie in lieu of chips if they prefer.

The price point may be a tad higher, but I
guarantee that your customers will remember you and you’ll get repeat business for being unique.

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Jim (Weiners on water)

A good selection of quality name brand chips is a must. Even at 1.5 oz they will sell. It’s the convenience factor that is in your favor.
A little crunch with your great hot dog is the best !! Sure is great to get them both in the same spot. Also $1.00 is the max I will charge for chips.
1st mate Jim.

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R. Matthews

When I buy the special, I never even think about whether or not I’m getting ripped. My mind is on THE MEAL itself!!

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AJ - Hog N Dogs

I sell dogs at $2.00. my meal deal of chips and drink adds $1.50. So my special is 2 dogs, meal deal of drink and chips is $5.00. I absorb the tax and am right in the ball park of the local Quik Trip meal deal. They are $4.50 and you add the tax. I tried the 1 1/2 oz chips, and sold out of the BBQ and still had 20 bags of the others left. I now buy the 1 oz chips in boxes of 50, and they sell very well at $ .75 individually. It is a little higher than the 33% rule, but perception of the meal deal helps. Fully 80% of my sales are meal deals. Average transaction sales is approx. $5.89.

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Eltz Hot Dog's

This being my first summer, I took my lead from my neighbor whose been in the business for 25 years. Being at the Jersey shore, I can see our pricing is higher than the mainstream. I sell the 1oz chips from Sam’s for $1. My neighbor actually gets $2 for his. Hot Dogs for $3, can soda for $2. So I can see it is definately different depending on location.

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Tiki's Windy Dog

I also buy 1 0z. Lays chips (50 for 10.8o) and a varity pack that includes cheetos, doritos, BBq, etc.. I find that if I only have potato chips my combo sales
drop dramtically. I sell My Viennas for 3 bucks drinks for a buck and chips for a buck. That equals $5. I combo it out for $4 and my customers save a dollar. If someone walks up and just wants a bag of chips, I sell it for fifty cents and let them know it’s half off and thank them for stopping by my cart. Mr. Tiki

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Galyn Williams

Aloha,

Having the “chips” in a position of prominence helps make your chips sell

faster(like chip rack(s)..hint hint wink wink). Selling name brands and unique

chips…(Taro chips and shrimp chips here) help set you apart as a place of quality

goods.

I always ask if they would like chips and something “cold to drink” to go with

their “dog”…sometimes in the rush to help the next customer we forget to “up-sell”

other goodies that have a great margin. An important indicator of how successful

the day was is to figure your average sale per person/transaction. A .25-.50 cent

increase per transaction starts adding up real fast when you look at the number

of customers a day you you “help”. I carry a variety of candy bars and and

remind/ask if they would like some “desert” to go as well (just asking increased

my “desert” sales by 35%)…up-sale..up-sale..up-sale:-)

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Bernie Null

What Kind of candy bars do you find that sell? Do you put em on ice to keep the from melting? Would Love Details!
Bernie Null
snappershotdogs.com

Tom (NO Whammys Just Wienners)

I found conpamy that sells Chips for this size 2.75 Jones potato Chips.
Jones Potato Chip Company
823 Bowman Street
Mansfield, OH 44903

Toll Free: (800) 466-9424
Phone: (419) 529-9424
Fax: (419) 529-6789
Email: chips@joneschips.com

Office and Retail Store Hours
8:00 AM-5:00 PM ET Monday-Friday

Reply

Fat Freddy's

I sell Boars Head Dogs in Wi. $2.75 “plain doggie”. $3.25 Chili Dog or Chicago. $3.50 for a brat. I pay .22 cents a bag for Lays Combo Pack (Dorito’s, Frito’s, Chips, Cheeto’s). I sell them for .75 cents BUT I give them a bag when peeps buy 2 dogs any style. Works pretty good.

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vinny's maddog

Hello everyone. I’ve only been in the business for about a year and a half now. and when I first started I had the same concerns regarding the chips. most convenience stores around my way will sell a fairly large bag. I believe 2 1/2 ounces for $.99. this made my puny little one ounce bags not look like such a great bargain for a dollar a bag. I stumbled across a variety pack at BJ’s Wholesale Club I believe the make was Frito-Lay you would get 34 assorted 2 ounce bags for around $13. they definitely look like a better deal. after all that is said and done when I started looking at my quarterly reports on notice the bulk of my income was from my hot dog sales. the chips and soda while they held their own and even offer a small profit margin to me by almost look at them like a courtesy item. when we are not selling at our public location we are catering birthday parties for large groups of people. I offer a package 40 dogs 40 drinks and 40 chips three hours one set price. anything over that is à la carte. we do very well with these parties and since I’ve been doing a lot more than I switched back to the small one ounce bag of chips. I haven’t had a single customer complain. you have to consider the customer is paying a little extra for the convenience of you being there at your designated location. if they are that adamant and they feel like they’re getting cheated out of an ounce of potato chips. let them jump in her car and burner gas and drive to the nearest convenience store. in my experience the majority of my customers don’t even need to potato chips. I offer two meal deals. one is for a hot dog a beverage and a bag of chips for five dollars. the other is 2 dogs and 2 drinks for five dollars 9 times out of 10 my customers opt for the two dogs and two drinks deal. once in a while I’ll give a child who only wants a bag of chips. and actually they don’t want potato chips. they choose the corn chips or a cheese puffs. I find myself throwing out more chips than I actually sell. the same goes for the soda. people in my area are big on the bottled water. occasionally there are people who choose the soda. but I definitely sell more water like 3 to1. the bottom line is concentrate on serving up a delicious hotdog with a variety of fixings. that’s what the people are coming to your cart for the other stuff is just a convenience.

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Bfreedogs

I have been selling the Costco 1oz multiple box for a $1.00 for awhile now. They sell the best as meal and any event where there are kids. The bigger the bag the better. Customers equate size as better.

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frank

1/4 pounder hebrew national $4
Canned drink or gatorade 1
Chips 1.5 oz variety 1
Combo $5
Never slow down making change cause you handle only bills, yet combo discount is bigger which makes it more appealing. Chips only sale big. End of day divide gross income by 1.(tax rate) to find net. Never mess with coins.

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Bernie Null

Frank were are you located sir?
I am interested cause I live in a small town and plan on selling a specialty dog that no one I know of or can find in Indiana sells. I was thinking 3.50 a dog for this and 2.75 for a beef dog in case they do not like my specialty dog(Best dog in the world btw!:)

I live in a town of 11412 people yet the local Hot Dog Stand was selling 500 Dogs a day in the summer months…. and their food stinks cheap dogs and nasty toppings. But they have the best root beer I ever tasted! My dogs are special ordered and I am just wondering where you are to compare populations.

Duggs Doggs

Ok, here goes, I sell 2 hotdogs, one 12oz coke and a chip, the chips are 1oz lays and assorted lays chips, Combo is $5. Was charging $.75 for chips but went up to $1 due to prices going up on me. Never had anyone complain at all, even when you do the math, indivdually everything is $6 and the combo is $5, still no complaints. Don’t worry about your prices, the people are paying you for your “Great” tasting food, the experence. Were else can you have lunch or a snack so cheap…

Duggs Doggs
Good!! Good!!

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Frank

Greetings,

We sell two types of hot dogs and sweet italian sausage. We offer several types of 12 oz. sodas with bottled water. Make sure you have at least one brand of diet soda. Most customers ask for anything diet and don’t seem to care if it is Pepsi or Coke as long as it is diet. We sell sell 1.5 oz. bags of Utz chips in four varieties. Most of my chip sales are part of the “Daily Lunch Special” which changes daily. With the special you save a buck over the reg. prices. People love to feel they are getting a deal. When someone asks for two dogs I mention for a dollar more you can get the special with drink and chips they go for it. Most people think that a dollar is not a lot of money and to get two items for a dollar is a great deal. Getting back to the chips, I order my chips straight from the truck. I can call in my order and free delivery! I can order by the case or half case for slower weeks. The bags are printed with “big bag” on them and are a good size. I was getting the one ounce bags and they looked small and I found that not all the kinds were selling making it not a good deal for me. I carry plain, BBQ, sour cream, and salt and vinegar. Each day people trend towards a certain flavor, one day plain and so on. The best idea is quality pays and I have a reg. customer base in only 3 weeks at my new spot. Good luck and I wish you the best.

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dogs on the run

1/4 lb all beef nathans 3.00 a drink(12 oz)1.00 asst chips from sams fritos brand 1.00 I have the combo at 4.00 with FREE chips included about 40% of the people do not take the chips. Tonight I did a skateboard park opening and the kids bought the chips. Like I tell people if you knew how much to make or bring we would all be in the big bucks. Keep slingin the dogs. Steve, I always wonder if you smashed your chips could you sell them as more chips for your money?

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Bernie

More chips for the money I like that !!!!

Greg

Alright Mike,

Easy fix,

Don’t go with plan chips, not saying that you are but just incase you do, don’t. If you want your chips to sell and YOU WANT YOUR CUSTOMER TO COME BACK! Which you do offer a punch card and tell them after 10 punches you get a Dog! Offer a double punch for a bag of chips! See easy fix- you sell your chips for the price you want plus the punch card will bring them back!

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Chucky Booker

Sell the combo….I do two dogs, a can and a chip 5.00$ Dogs 3.00 each. Buy a combo save a dollar and get a soda and chip for FREE!!!!!!

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Tony Skulitz

it seems that most of us here sell the same way 2 dogs a bag of 1 1/2 bag of chips and a soda for $5.50. I kinda just throw in the chips at times. Chips for me as never been a big seller and I like everyone else end up tossing more away then I sell.

Tony

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Randy H

I buy most of my supplies at GFS and serve an 8-1 beef dog for $2, a 5-1 polish for $3, A 4-1 beef dog for $3, sodas/water for $1. I buy a 30 pac variety lays box that has 1.5-2 oz. bags and sell for $1. Don’t bother with combos and it makes change so much quicker and easier-no quarters to mess with. I’ve worked last 2 Fridays since back from heart surgery, getting better.

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Tommy Dog's

I have a sign that says free chips tomorrow. ;) They all come back and ask where’s my free chips the next day. :) I ask them to please read the sign again slowly. The smile breaks out!!! And there dog is ready with the coke and chips. I got my $5.00 and a smile….

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Bernie

Nice Tommy Thanks ! I love it !

Richard Mad Dogs

I think the key here is for all of us to remember that we our offering a great product, a delightful experience, and convenience like no other. Customer service is the key! Price your products at a price that you feel is fair, sure some will complain that the green, crusty dog on the roller in the convenience store is cheaper but it is not possible to please everyone. If at the end of the day you can look at yourself in the mirror and say I served a great product to great customers for a fair price then all is wonderful in Hot Dog land! Keep slinging guys….

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Bigg Daddy's Dogs

You worried about pricing?, I sell a Nathans all beef 1/4 lb hot dog for 3.00 i sell 30 ct chips from sams club 1.5 oz for $1.00 each and i sell bottled water my cost each 13.3 cents i sell for $1.00 but my canned soda i sell for .75$ the reason i did this is due to my customers buy more waters then pop and i have a larger profit. If you produce a better enviroment for your customer then they will pay for it.

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Lucky Dawg

On Monday and Tuesday (used to be my two slowest days) I offer a combo special of a hot dog, drink and chips for $4.00. This moves a lot of chips and encourages people to try my hot dog. The rest of the week I run my usual prices of $3.00 for a dog, $1.00 for drinks and $1.00 for chips. I rarely ever have chips that expire. Also if someone asks for my “special” on any other day I will know they are a returning customer and I will give them the $4.00 special to keep them coming back. Works great for me.
Stay Lucky!

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Tiki's Windy Dog

God bless Randy H and his return from heart sugery-keep slingin’ bro. Mr. Tiki

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steve

Yes, great to see you back in the saddle Randy!
-Steve

Reply

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