Hot dogs are America's favorite food for a number of reasons--they are tasty, inexpensive, and convenient. So why not think inside the bun and set up a hot dog cart business? As one of the largest chain stores in the world, Wal-Mart can provide some good locations to put a hot dog cart. With Wal-Mart serving more than 175 million customers weekly throughout its many stores, selling hot dogs in front of one of these spots could prove to be profitable.
Obtain any licenses or permits necessary to run a food cart in the locality in which you wish to set up your hot dog cart. To find out which documentation you will need, contact the local municipality or borough office. Because you will be serving food, you may also need to have an inspection done by the board of health prior to selling any hot dogs.
Get permission from the store manager of the Wal-Mart to set up your hot dog cart. Wal-Mart and it's parking lot are private property and without permission, you will be considered a trespasser. If possible, obtain a written permission from the store manager to enforce your agreement.
Purchase a hot dog cart and enough hot dogs, buns, condiments, and napkins to last at least your first day of business. It is also a good idea, although optional, to sell beverages to your patrons. If you are going to be selling beverages make sure that you have a cooler to prevent them from getting warm. Nobody enjoys warm soda.
Set your hours of operation. Consider the times people are most likely to eat hot dogs when you set your hours. Lunch, dinner, and late night times are much better suited for the sales of hot dogs than, say, breakfast time. One good way to find out when your most profitable time will be is to stay open for extended hours the first week of operation and keep a log of when you have the most customers each day. Review the log to see when you were busiest and set permanent hours for your stand accordingly.
Arrive at least a half hour early to set up your stand. Make sure that your hot dogs are cooked to perfection, buns are warmed, and you have adequate change all before your first customer arrives. There is nothing worse than a hungry customer and no hot dogs to feed them!
Jessica Leigh is a professional writer with works published for "The Houston Chronicle" and various websites. In addition to pursuing a degree in legal studies she has years of experience in the financial industry as a tax preparer.