I only vend at 2 events and both of them pull massive amounts of people looking to eat. My first goal is money and the second is for my food to be better than everyone else's. If I'm at an event and it is slammed with people waiting in line all over why in the world would you intentionally reduce your gross profit? That is the only thing you are doing by offering an item with a great food cost but with an absolutely horrible gross profit. Think lean, mean, super efficient money making machine without cutting corners..
Lets say for a slider your estimated total cost (labor, fuel, wood, entry, paper goods, insurance, fuel, meals, etc) is 1.40 and you sell it for 3.00 so you walk with 1.60 profit on each and a little hope they won't get full elsewhere and come back to you. Cool. Now lets say you sell a full size sandwich for $7.00. Now lets assume that we are at a 1/3 pound and the estimated total cost is 2.50 or 36%. You just made $4.50 per sandwich. You have to sell 2.8 sliders to make the same gross profit. You will also notice the total cost margin per slider is higher since your overhead costs stay static. If you see two people are going to eat one sandwich you can always offer to cut it in half.
A restaurant will use sliders as an appetizer to share since they do not rely on hope that they will come back and buy more. They know you will get a soda and order a full meal and possibly a desert. Vending, I assume that I have one shot and one shot only since it is rare to get many repeat customers at a food focused vending event. You need to find what you want to make and then figure out the easiest and quickest way to get there. Going cheap may be the easiest but its not the quickest and it increases the risk of not making your money back. The 3 X food cost is a simple concept that is easy to undrstand but the money is made with gross profit. If you want a cheap item on the menu decide what the minimum amount of many is that you want to make per customer. If it's 4.00 get some ~1/4# sausage at < $4 a pound and put it on a stick and sell it for $5.00. People like stuff on sticks.
Someone mentioned Franklin so let's use him as an example. Brisket is by far his biggest seller and it has the worst food cost margin on the menu, other than a beef short rib on Saturdays. he charges 17 a pound but his meat cost is more than likely ~3.35 a pound with a 45% to 50% yield or a prepared food cost of 7.44 a pound before rub, wood, sauce, etc come into play. They sell brisket for $17 a pound so his gross profit is 9.56 per pound sold but he has a food cost of 43%. That food cost % looks bad but when you are selling 1500 pounds of meat a day (not sure if that is precook weight) you are absolutely killing it compared to a taco shop selling street tacos with a 16% food cost serving just as many people. Those are my thoughts anyways.
Little Miss BBQ
Last edited by AZScott; 09-04-2013 at 06:42 PM..