Are you considering starting a hot dog cart business! This will involve a lot less work; maintenance and start up costs are relatively low. Here are a few basic questions and answers that I’m hoping will help many of you or at least give you a better idea of how to get started.
To start a hotdog business you will need to obtain a level 2 Food and Hygiene Certificate (since you will be handling food and selling to the public) To get a food and hygiene certificate you will have to attend a training course at a local learning facility (collage, council building etc) or can study for it online if you prefer.
The whole learning process should not take more than one day since it’s fairly straightforward and most of the questions are common sense. When you do finally pass the test you will receive a food and hygiene certificate which is valid for a period of 3 years, after which time a refresher course is recommended.
The basic price of a hot dog cart can range from £1-£4000 pounds and will come with a Baine Marie to keep food hot, hand wash facility, various storage facilities, cool box, and propane/gas LPG bottle. The equipment may vary depending on the manufacture and personal preferences.
It is recommended that you have liability insurance for the hot dog business even though it’s not a legal requirement. Most event organisers, council’s will want to see that you have this type of cover so for best practices you should aim to have this cover in place.
Price can vary accordingly so you will need to contact a few different insurance brokers to get a quote that’s competitive. The quickest way to get a quote is to just search online for Public Liability Insurance.
If you intend to trade in the town centre or shopping areas you will need to contact the local authority or the landowner if on private land. In some instances a local authority will issue a street trading licence while others do not. As for festivals, concerts etc, you will need to contact the event organiser in advance for that particular event and ask them if they require your catering services.
You must contact the local council of the area in which you trade in. They will require that you register your food business with them. From here they will make all the necessary checks to make sure that you comply with Food Safety requirements. They will want to see an up to date food and hygiene certificate and also check how, where you store food that you will be selling to the public.
If you intend to do any type of work that will result in you receiving an income you should register as self employed. Please read the Best Business Structure for You - Sole Trader – Partnership – Limited company for full details.
Finding a suitable pitch can prove difficult and you should try to secure a location to trade from as soon as possible. If you intend to sell hot dogs in city centres, clubs, car boot, train stations etc you will need to contact either the local council or the landowners. If you can find a piece of privately owned land (i.e. pub car park, local football club etc) then contact the landowner and seek permission in writing to trade.
You don’t need to have an extra licence to sell these types of drinks with your hot dog; a separate licence is only needed if you intend to sell alcoholic beverages.
There are really only 2 types of hot dog cart one is a normal cart size and the other is the size of a small catering trailer. Try and opt for a cart size trailer since these are small and nimble to use and store. Anything too big or that requires a car or small vehicle to tow will cause storage issues. A push cart type hot dog cart can be stored in a small garage or secure space and won’t take up to room.
Finally, as a last piece of advice I would highly recommend that you keep your hot dog cart looking clean and tidy at all times and this goes for you appearance as well. People think clean seller and equipment equals clean safe to eat food.
First impressions are vital since you want to portray the right image and invite repeat customers. When starting out you need all the help you can get to build up a loyal customer base, so keep smiling and offer a great friendly service.
I hope this has helped to answer some of your questions on starting a hot dog business. See a selection of questions on starting a hot dog cart business here or ask you own.