I think there are 3 things that would make a hot dog cart business really stand out:
1. Tasty hot dogs.
There are plenty of street vendors that sell hot dogs, and my experience is that most of them are nothing to write home about.
I guess it's different from location to location, but where I used to live, hot dog carts were always parked outside pubs and clubs and clearly targeted people too drunk to know what they were eating.
However, if you're planning to cater for people whose taste buds aren't impaired by alcohol, then great tasting hot dogs and a variety of condiments and relishes is a good idea.
As a business, it's always a struggle between quality and cost - but my advice would be to find the right balance.
Good food goes viral because people tell their friends all about it, and that tends to bring in more profit than the savings you would make from going for a cheaper supplier.
2. Be creative and have fun
3. Lean Marketing and Social Media
I'm going to put these two points together because I recently discovered a food van that does both of these in a spectacular way!
I first visited B.O.B'S Lobster when wandering around London's Borough Market.
Here is a list of things I liked about them:
- Tasty food (I had tuna tacos and lobster mac'n'cheese - simple dishes made quirky and exciting!)
- The lady managing the outlet (I think her name was Stephanie) was super friendly and outgoing.
- They used Twitter and a catchy hashtag (#thevaniscoming) to keep the conversation with their customers alive through social media.