Saturday, August 27, 2011

The last blog...

After much anticipation Ben has finally moved his blogs and training to a central location:

Best of all, everything is there, Videos, blogs, contributor blogs, news, tips and much more.  Come on over and check it out.   it's free and won't hurt one bit.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cool items for hot dog vendors

Every now and then vendors submit some awesome ideas or things they have found.  Here is the last batch of innovative attention getting ideas.

The hot dog gun                                                         

How bout the mustard and ketchup monsters.  One vendor sales these from the cart.  I think doing a kids part or catering event it would be fun to use them.

Squeeze ketchup out of their noses.

I used these some.  Nothing like having a line full of people and asking the next customer what they want on their dog and picking up the ketchup or mustard trick bottles and aiming it at their face and squeezing.  Out pops yellow or red string and startles the unassuming patron.  Fun Fun Fun!

Squirt bottles

The hot dog pen and magnet.  Write in style.

For those whom success has left you with extra cash to spend, try this 6 foot high statue that should be in the living room of every serious vendor.

Show your team spirit with these handy grillers.  Many teams to choose from.

If you have a suggestion or have found something cool, please email me.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Critique of My Course/Book; "hot dogs saved my life"

After someone purchases the course; "hot dogs saved my life from, they are sent a letter days later about sharing their thoughts on the course.  I do this not to feed my unquenchable ego, but to improve on my teaching skills.

I often receive a kind note, praising the content but I have also received feedback that is less than ego boosting.  However, this letter I received today was a must share and I hope you enjoy.  I am a little embarrassed by it's much too honest analysis.

Hello Ben,

You asked me for a review of your book, it is with great pleasure to oblige.

"hot dogs saved my life" is an epic adventure that will take every reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride. The adventure is reminiscent of Melville's "Moby Dick" and the mystery reminds the reader of the works of Christie. Immediately the reader knows the author has lived through the experience and has survived to tell about it not unlike Hemingway; the comedic undertones will recall fond memories of the works of Seuss. After thoroughly reading and enjoying "hot dogs saved my life" I have placed it on the shelf of my personal library right next to my signed original works of Shakespeare.

Okay, so it's a little over the top - but I loved it. I have to say the most memorable part was your definition of the ingredients of "Cheez-Whiz".

I have previously been involved with hot dog vending. I was on a business trip in Maui when I came across a man with a smoker sitting alongside the road selling hot dogs and Kabobs. I had to have a hot dog so I stopped. As I was enjoying my dog I watched many satisfied customers stop and buy dogs. I was so intrigued by this business I spent the next 3 days with him helping sell and learning the business.  

I was in a rewarding job that included a ton of stress and a ton of hours but my friend was sitting alongside a road in Hawaii "slingin' hot dogs", drinking beer, working 4-5 hours per day and making about 90K - this was business I could really get into. When I came home from Maui I researched the hot dog business, made big plans, ordered my smoker and submitted my resignation.

My first foray into the business was a large 4th of July festival - I made every mistake in the book but I had the time of my life and still somehow managed to make good money.

Why didn't I stick with it? After resigning my job and before I did that first event I was offered an incredible job. The salary was large and again so was the stress and hours worked.

Well, the world has turned - I am back to excessive hours and excessive stress and back to hot dogs being the answer.

I have gotten older and a little wiser - I am starting the business the right way this time and the wisest thing I have done is to get completely immersed into your video's and book. Had this information been available the first time I jumped into hot dogs I would have saved thousands of dollars. Not only would I have saved, I would have started the business differently and very likely would have been making money "slinging hot dogs" for the past 10 years.

You will be hearing from me again very soon - there is no one on the planet I would rather purchase my cart from.

Thank you for all you've done for this business and helping everyone. 

I believe the purpose of life is to serve others and all the rewards you receive, whether financial or spiritual are directly related to the number of people you serve - I hope you are enjoying the success you deserve.

I will talk with you soon,

Chris Larson

Well I must say that first paragraph couldn't have been more accurate.  Nail on the head!  I love an honest, straightforward, no hype critique.  If only the NY Times would pick it up now.  

If you are still wondering what all the hype is about: Here ya go!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mind your QR - Quick Response Code

Sounds weird, why is this on a blog about hot dog vending?   QR has become more and more popular.  Ever since some smarty pants over at a subsidiary of Toyota invented the code - the more popular it has become.

What is it?  It's this!  Looks like a puzzle huh?  Well it's actually code that any QR reader can convert to the intended message.  Inside this code can be a URL (website address), email address, a phone number, a special message or about anything else you can imagine.

I bet you have seen them before, right?  Well now you know its a hidden message.  Anyone one with a camera equipped phone and free QR software can read them.

Originally designed for Toyota to be able to inventory parts easier this code can contain much more info than the standard bar codes we all are familiar with.

You can pick up the reader software for free and most smart phones can download the app for free.  Just Google QR app or QR reader.

You can also Google QR Generator and create your own special codes for flyers, business cards, on cart logos and more.  The possibilities are endless.

So get started today, post a comment and tell me where you used yours or even post your QR code on my Facebook Page for everyone to see.  Enjoy!

L-5 by Eccotemp and Chip Clips, lowest prices anywhere.

The drawback to pressurized water systems is that they push water so fast through the hot water line that you run out of hot water very quickly.  (in detail) With the addition of the L-5 hot water heater, you will only run out of hot water when you run out of water.

These units can be added to your cart fairly easy and will make your day even better.  They work off propane gas and have 2 D batteries.  When the unit senses water flow (you turn on the hot water) it ignites burners that heat the water as you use it.  Instant Hot Water - Continuously!  Finally!

We have been offering these heaters for over a year - but only sold them with a cart purchase and they included installation.

Since then we have started purchasing in bulk and can offer you the lowest prices on the web for these heaters.  We will also include instructions for hooking up to your LP Gas system and installation.   Click here to order

Chip clips are handy, they can display your chips, sunglasses and I even use them for ball caps.  They are hooked on the end so that you can hang from your umbrella slats.  Best of all, these clip strips are long, 31" and have 24 clips.  Right now we are offering these at a special price and can be shipped right to your door.   Sold in sets of 2, you get 48 clips in all.  You want find them at a better price anywhere.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Place For Vendor Conversations!

NAHDV (National Association of Hot Dog Vendors) has created a private page on Facebook.

Why you say?  So vendors can connect, get advice, share advice and help each other out.  It is awesome!  

Even better:  It's private, which means anything you talk about there - stays there.  No one else can read your comments unless they are in the Facebook group.  Your posts and theirs will appear in your newsfeed, but they will only be seen by you.  There will be a little padlock image beside the post in your newsfeed that indicates that the conversation came from the private group and no one else but you can view it.

So come on over, there are many knowledgeable vendors and because we haven't all been vendors all our lives, we bring knowledge from our past experiences that can help in the vending business.

Click here and request to join.  It's free and easy!   

Hot Dog Cart - Buyer Beware!

Today I received a phone call from a gentleman that purchased a cart from a manufacturer online.  He states that he read carefully through their website and even gotten it pre-approved.

After receiving the cart he had the health inspector come inspect.  IT FAILED!!!

WHY?  The website states ( and I have reviewed) that the components meet or exceed related NSF standards and specifications.  They even display the NSF logo on the photos.   This lead the inspector, during the pre-approval review to suspect in fact the cart did meet NSF/ANSI standards.

Well it doesn't and here is the short list of violations:
  1. Rivets around the prep and cooking area.
  2. Improper edge gaps
  3. All plumbing was not certified compliant by NSF/UL, only the pump.
  4. Storage tank non-compliant.

This is the short list.

Note:  Not all but some manufacturers use diamond plate steel for the carts, this allows them to use inferior grade metals and allows them to use thinner metal.  It does look good on some carts, but when you find diamond plate used in areas where you cook or clean, RUN!  Diamond plate has ridges and is harder to clean and so most states do not allow it in the prep, storage and cooking areas.  

This cart may pass inspection in some states, but it didn't for him.  He has spent his money to only find that this Florida manufacturer offered misleading information and it even misled the inspector.

Ways to avoid this problem:

  • Do your research online, search the manufacturer name, check with BBB, do a search at, get on facebook and look for them, talk to other vendors and also check out
  • Take multiple pictures to the health inspector for pre-approval.  With pictures, the health inspector would have noticed the problems before he purchased.  He had only taken the schematics.  Also take the full description.   
  • If the manufacturer is new and there isn't anything online about them, ask for references.  
There are several great manufacturers out there.  Don't get to rushed and do your homework.