Problems encountered in food cart business

Among them are Andrea and Ben Guajardo. They began selling hot dogs from a pushcart on Main Street in November.

Problems encountered in food cart business

Among them are Andrea and Ben Guajardo. They began selling hot dogs from a pushcart on Main Street in November. Guajardo is a grant administrator for a health-care system. Her husband, Ben, is a pipeline operator. Theirs is the first hot-dog stand in Bandera, pop.

Guajardo, a mother of four. Facing pay cuts and weakened job security, more Americans are turning to this century-old, big-city trade in outposts like Bandera, where cowboys on horseback share the road with motorcyclists.

Many of these vendors are working professionals with day jobs, ranging from real-estate agents to train operators.

Problems encountered in food cart business

Hot dog vendors are a familiar sight in big cities around the country. For one Texas family, their weekend business is bringing in extra cash amid a slumping economy. Sarah Needleman reports from Bandera, Texas.

Today's cart buyers are generally older and have more white-collar work experience than was traditionally the case, says Will Hodgskiss, president and "top dog" at Willy Dog Ltd. Street Food of Choice Hot dogs are the street food of choice for vendors because frankfurters are sold precooked and therefore tend to undergo less scrutiny from state and city health departments.

Newer dealers and those in less-ideal locations make one-third to half that amount. Weekend and event-only vendors, like the Guajardos, say that when the weather is good, they too can turn a hefty profit.

The Guajardos manage their two-wheeled stainless-steel hot-dog cart just on weekends, from about 11 a. They set up again on Saturday nights outside local honky-tonks like the Longhorn Saloon.

The couple's four children often help out during the day. Guajardo, while directing her oldest son, year-old Ben, to put some more cans of soda and bottled water on ice.

The business is named after another son, 6-year-old "Big Lou. From the Independent Street Blog For others, hot-dogging is a stopgap. Real-estate investor Marty Katzenberger turned to it after the housing market tanked and he couldn't sell any of his properties.

The work -- which requires hours of standing -- can be quite an adjustment for people accustomed to sitting behind desks at 9-to-5 jobs.

Problems encountered in food cart business

There's also a lot of preparation and cleaning involved. Then there's the growing competition. Many small cities and towns have never had to worry much about enforcing laws that limit the number of pushcarts -- until now. Connie Means, a former college math professor who owns four wiener stands in Gadsden, Ala.

It came from a husband and wife who had previously sought her advice on becoming hot-dog vendors. The municipality of about 37, is now considering changes to a vending ordinance that would require new carts to be farther apart from one another.

A local hardware store rejected the couple's request to set up on its property. Ultimately, they scored an open spot near a courthouse, library and shopping plaza.

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