Starting any type of business is a challenging prospect and a hot dog business is no exception. There are a number of start up costs, some basic knowledge is required and a number of government regulations that must be complied with. A typical hot dog stand in a good location can do a high volume of business and generate a substantial income for the owner. If you like to work with people, a hot dog business is a great way to make a living.
Find a good location for your business. You have a few options. You can find a retail location for rent in a high traffic area. The best locations have heavy lunch time foot traffic. If you can't find a retail location then look for a street corner or a spot in a business park or large building lobby that you can rent. Make arrangements to have access to your chosen location before you invest in equipment.
Contact your local health inspector and arrange a meeting. Ask them about the health department requirements that you will be required to comply with. Explain your plan and ask them what type of equipment will comply with local regulations.
Rent your retail location or buy a hot food truck or hot dog cart. Your location will determine which choice you make here. Some locations, like building lobbies and street corners, will require a hot dog cart. Others are better suited to a hot food truck.
Apply for permits and licenses. You will be required to comply with a number of government regulations to operate a hot dog business. You will likely need a business license, food handler permit and operating permits for any public location where you do business. These requirements will vary with the state and city where you operate.
Buy your equipment. You will need equipment to cook your hot dogs, keep them warm, heat the buns and utensils to serve the finished product. Customers will expect the full range of condiments so you will need serving containers for ketchup, mustard etc. In addition you will need hot dog serving containers and napkins.
Buy insurance. The type and extent of insurance coverage you will need is determined by the location and type of hot dog business you have. If you drive a hot food truck you will need vehicle insurance in addition to business liability insurance.
Buy hot dogs, buns and condiments. At this point you are ready to start selling hot dogs. You might also consider providing a printed menu if you plan to offer a variety of different kinds of hot dogs.