- Business License
- Financing Arrangement
- Getting Health Dept. Approvals
- Searching for a Location
- Searching for Suppliers
- Regular Schedule & Events Calendar
- Selecting Your Cart
- Management Guide
- Hotdog Cart Operations and Maintenance Manual
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Marketing and Selling
- Tips for Success
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Do I need a special license?
A: Yes. Very likely you will need a business license. You may also require a permit to set up your cart on public property such as on a street, sidewalk, park, etc. Check with your local City Hall in person or on your city’s web site for details, the by-law requirements, license cost, and so on. See the section in this Business Guide entitled Getting a Business License for more details.
Q: Do I need approval from the local Health Department authorities?
A: Yes. Very likely. Check with your local Health Department. They may be listed on the city’s web site. If not, go to the section in this Business Guide entitled Health Department Links . Follow the links and instructions to find the web site of your local county Health Department. Get the details on the local health code requirements for hot dog carts. There may also be an initial inspection fee on your cart. See the section Getting Health Department Approvals as well as the subsection Health Guidelines .
Q: How do I find a good location?
A: A good location will have lots of pedestrian traffic and no competition. See the section Searching for a Location for more information and the subsection Location Ideas for a comprehensive list of good hot dog cart location ideas.
Q: Can I move the cart?
A: Yes. The large carts are all equipped with a trailer hitch for highway towing behind a vehicle. But it is best to find a good location and stay there so that people will know where to find you. This way you can quickly build a good base of regular loyal customers. The cart can be moved during “Off” hours to special events for extra income such as in evenings or on weekends. However you should have a regular consistent schedule at a good location. See the section “Searching for a Location ” for more information on Regular locations and Special Events locations. See also the section Tips for Success for some practical suggestions in running your vendor cart business.
Q: What does NSF certified mean and does my hot dog cart need it?
A: NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that develops standards for food service equipment manufacturers and provides third-party conformity assessment services for these food service equipment manufacturers.
To have NSF certification means that NSF has assessed and certified the conformity of the equipment with the appropriate NSF and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards.
Part of the certifications process is to have the equipment production facility audited annually so as to ensure that all the relevant standards continue to be met.
For hot dog carts this means that the materials used in construction are nontoxic, corrosion and heat resistant, and any coatings are tested for durability and abrasion resistance. In addition, the equipment has demonstrated that it can attain and maintain appropriate temperatures for reheating food in a prescribed time. Also the temperature indicating devices (Thermometers) used are verified to be accurate.
Your local Health Department or your State Government may specify that your hot dog cart must meet NSF standards. Or they may not. This will be indicated on their web site.
Hot dog carts come under NSF/ANSI Standard 59 for Food Carts.
Q: Where do I go to buy my hot dog meat and other supplies?
A: Check in our Business Guide under the heading Searching for Suppliers . There you will find a sub-section entitled Food Suppliers and another entitled Supplies List . These will direct you to suppliers for the various items needed to operate your hot dog cart.
Q: Can your hot dog carts serve pre-cooked chicken or ribs?
A: Yes. However, your local county Health Department may not allow this. They may not allow vendor carts to serve what they classify as hazardous pre-cooked meats which often includes pre-cooked chicken or pre-cooked pork ribs. Check with your local Health Department first before planning to serve such items.
Q: Can your hot dog carts cook raw steak, chicken or pork?
A: Yes. However, your local health department may not allow this. They may not allow vendor carts to serve what they classify as hazardous uncooked meats. This definition often includes raw or frozen chicken, raw or frozen beef, raw or frozen pork, and ground meats. These meats are considered hazardous because if they are not handled properly , they support the rapid growth of bacteria that are very dangerous to humans. Check with your local Health department first before planning to serve such items. generally speaking, hot dog carts are restricted to reheating previously cooked wieners and sausages.
Q: How much does shipping cost?
A: Shipping costs are calculated manually. Call us for details.
Q: Can you attach a coffee pot to a WillyDogs cart?
Q: Does the cart have hot and cold running water?
A: Yes. Most of the carts are completely self-contained with hot and cold running water. Check the specifications page for each individual cart at www.willydogs.com . Click on the picture of each cart for more details and specifications of equipment included with each cart. Some of the carts feature a 12 volt DC pressurized water system. Others have a gravity fed system.
Q: Can I get financing for my hot dog cart business?
A: Yes. We can direct you to a financing company that specializes in our type of business. Contact our customer service desk for details. For suggestions on making a business plan and calculating your start up costs for your new business, see the section in this Business Guide entitled Getting the Financing Arranged .