Relationships with landlords, employees and customers:
The principles should be understood and applied by all employees
How to Negotiate with a Landlord for a Location:
Consider it from his perspective.
Landlords are probably not as concerned or motivated by the small amount of rent that you will generate. They are more concerned with their own business. He is concerned about how your business will affect his other tenants if he is the property manager of a plaza or business complex. His business will be affected by how it reflects on his store if he is the owner of a big one.
Do not even bring up the subject of rent. He should bring up the subject of money if it is to be discussed.
Motivating your Landlord:
First highlight the benefits that your hot dog cart will bring to his establishment:
His business will benefit from your All American cart.
Adding variety to an existing business will not take business away from your All American cart.
Customer and employee morale will improve with your All American cart.
He won't need to send his employees to another area for lunch or take long breaks with your All American cart.
A promotional ad could feature your All American cart because it is attractive. Get the Landlord's Attention:
In addition, describe how you will operate your hot dog cart in a way that will enhance his business environment.
The All American cart will be operated in a professional and safe manner (meeting all health guidelines, nice uniform, area cleaning, etc.).
You will create a positive environment that will benefit his business as well.
You can be flexible and reasonable when dealing with others.
You must show your landlord your Business License and Health Department Permit in order to establish your credentials as professional food service.
Your vendor cart dress and deportment policy and employee rules of conduct policy will allay the
Landlord's fears and build confidence in you as a reputable vendor.
Provide the Landlord with a picture of the All American cart you plan to use, along with its specifications and features.
Comport Yourself as a Professional Business Person:
Face-to-face negotiations are the best. Dress professionally. Make a good impression.
A man should maintain a clean-shaven appearance. Wear a tie and business apparel.
Likewise, women should dress professionally and not in casual or revealing clothing.
Make sure you practice your presentation so that you can handle any questions or objections professionally.
The following points should also be considered:
Be clear about what you need and want from him to be successful - location and amount of space you will use, AC power, hours of operation, etc.
The rental agreement should be available for him to sign. He should not be charged more than two days gross sales per month.
Guests should not be charged more than 15% of gross sales for special events. Don't let your landlord dictate your hours of operation.
Here are some tips for building goodwill in your business
Keep your word.
Lunch will be a necessity for your customers. Make yourself available often. Get to know them. Doing so will build loyalty and repeat business.
Have a friendly attitude.
Each customer should be welcomed. Be cheerful and smile at them. There is nothing to lose by doing this.
Learn the names of your regulars. You'll build loyalty that way. Customers will spread the word about your business and bring in new ones. The best advertising is word of mouth, and it is free of charge.
Keeping your shop clean and tidy is important.
The presence of mess, especially where food is sold, turns people off. Keep your cart clean before and after each use. Remove any excess condiments. Maintain a neat appearance and clean clothes.
Check out the Operations Manual for information about how a hot dog cart functions on a daily basis, how to reorder supplies, how to maintain a hot dog cart, what to wear, and employee conduct rules.
The value of a good reputation cannot be overstated. Do not scrimp on reputation. Using old products could risk it.
Take care of your neighbors
Let your business complement and augment theirs instead of interfering with it.
Some things you can do are simple, such as providing a trash can for your customers and picking up litter at the end of the day.
Become familiar with local eating habits
Regional differences exist when it comes to hot dogs. For example, you may need grated cheese, chili, hot mustard, etc., depending on your local culture. One neighborhood in a city may be more health-conscious or have a unique cultural flavor, i.e. they may require Kosher food or prefer to eat their dogs with Red Onion sauce. Just ask. Pay attention. Learn. Adjust. Meet their needs. Make it known. Do business with them.
List the menu and prices on a simple page.
Before buying, most people want to know the cost.
By prominently displaying your products, you can save time explaining them, especially during lunchtime. Your customers can make an informed decision before placing an order.
Using Velcro, attach your menu/price list to your cart under a plexiglass cover (to protect it from dirt, rain, as well as to make it easy to clean and change). You can make it professionally at a sign shop such as Trimline that specializes in vinyl graphics. The cost will be reasonable, and it will look great.
Keep a log of your phone orders and post your cell phone number on your cart. Makeup business cards that you can hand out to customers so they can place orders ahead of time. Take-out restaurants typically print off simple one-half-page menus.
Due to their busy schedules, many workers prefer to order food in advance and pick it up. It is common for one person to pick up lunch for many workers. This saves time since they do not have to wait. Long lines are avoided, and you generate more business. As a result, you'll develop a loyal customer base by adjusting to their needs.
Your first step in a new area is to introduce yourself.
You should advertise your cart when you set it up in a new area. By doing so, you'll set up shop in a new area quickly.
Get some quality flyers printed and take them around to local businesses to let them know about you. Consider including a picture showing you and your quality All American cart.
Drop them off in mailboxes at businesses. Publish them on noticeboards. Business owners, managers, receptionists, and other employees should receive them directly. Make a great first impression of your quality food service vending cart by dressing neatly and professionally while doing this!
In your flyer, you should list your business hours, address, menu, and phone number for phone orders. Your cart should show that it is licensed and meets all the requirements of the Health Code
Make it one page long and one-sided so that it can be easily posted in a lunchroom.
At the bottom of your flyer, include introductory discount coupons to encourage first-time customers.
SAMPLE COMMISARY AGREEMENT
Letter of Agreement
Commissary and Food Cart
Vendor Date: _________________
4876 Macdougal Street Newcastle, OH 90210
Bob's Dogs Vending Co. and John Delicious, owner of John's Deli, have signed a letter of intent to lease Bob's Deli's refrigerated storage space.
We will reserve space at Bob's Deli for the estimated 3 day supply of meat for Bob's Dogs, as well as the ability to receive these supplies. At the agreed upon prices and quantities, Bob's Deli will also supply daily to Bob's Dogs the estimated daily supply of grated cheese, chopped onions, chili, and coleslaw.
It will cost $700.00 per month, payable at the beginning of every month. Every week, the food items will be billed upon receipt of the invoice.
After the first supplies are received on-site at Bob's Deli, the lease will take effect for one year from the above date. Either party may terminate the lease at any time for non-payment, non-compliance, or with 30 days notice.
Signed and Agreed by:
Harry R Truman, Bob's Deli
Willy L Horseradish, BIG DOGS Vending Co.
The letter of rental agreement between the landowner and cart vendor dates from: _________________
SAMPLE LOCATION AGREEMENT
During business hours, Monday through Friday, BIG DOGS Vending Co. will operate a hotdog vending cart inside two adjacent parking spaces in the north end lot. Bob's Dogs will also be able to use an outdoor electrical outlet in ABC Business Complex to provide 120-volt power to the vendor cart using an approved outdoor extension cord.
A monthly lease amount of $700.00 will be due at the beginning of each month.
Upon delivery of the vendor cart from the manufacturer, BIG DOGS Vending Co. will commence business on the lease after one year from the above date. If either party gives 30 days' notice, the lease may be terminated at any time for non-payment, non-compliance, or a violation of local safety codes.