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How To Start A Hot Dog Cart Business

If you want to learn how to start a hot dog cart business, this article will be especially relevant for you! Keep reading…


“All 50 states allow you to run a hot dog cart business that you can, consequently run part time or full time. You can either operate year round or just during the season most suited to your liking. Although Vendors work year round in Canada and Alaska, most have a pop up style canopy with sides. Vendors work parks, street side, busy intersections, fairs, festivals and some also work locations that most would never think of. Most of all, providing great customer service is key to repeat business and as a result ongoing success. Hot dog carts are versatile and because it has a steam table anyone can use their cart for catering and even drop off catering. The menu for this is consequently virtually unlimited.”

Hot dog carts have a much lower level of costs to get started, compared to food trucks and concession trailers. A vendor can start with two to three thousand easily although many have done it with much less.



1. Get a health department or agriculture permit

When thinking on how to start a hot dog cart business, the first thing on the to do list is to contact your local health department and ask for the person that does the restaurant inspections. That is the person that can help you get licensed and will also tell you the features you can and can't have on your cart. Some states require 4 sinks, others only one. You'll want to ask about grills, deep fryers and other items you plan on incorporating into your cart setup. Furthermore, as a vendor, I need to know the foods that are allowed to be served as well. The inspector will check your cart later to make sure you've met those requirements.


2. Get a business license

Contact your county clerk or city main number and ask to speak to someone about a business license. when asked what type of business, answer with “catering and vending”.


3. Get your EIN & Re-Sale Numbers

Apply online, it's free, for an Employer Identification Number. This is just a fancy word for a social security number for your business. Don't be fooled by the companies that want to sell you this service because it's instant online here. You'll also need a sales tax number. This allows you to purchase goods that you'll be re-selling and not have to pay tax on them.


4 Get insurance to protect your hot dog cart business

Purchase insurance. You can get a policy that covers your hot dog cart business for up to 2 million dollars and it includes coverage for your cart. You can get this in all 50 states for under four hundred dollars. Hot dog cart vending insurance


5. Purchase supplies and food to re-sale

You can offer hot dogs and pre-cooked sausages in all 50 states legally. Find suppliers for these items from bulk distributors or your local grocery store. You can provide drinks, chips, snacks, candy, lemonade, cotton candy and much more.


6. A commissary is required in most states

Either a commissary or commercial kitchen is required as your “home” base. Most states don't want you to prep foods at home or clean your wares at home. Do you need this? The health inspector will tell you. If it is. There are ways to get a free commissary. Lots of them.


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