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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Old 09-16-2018, 11:37 AM   #1
HBMTN
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Default Increasing Maximum Output While Vending

Looking for ideas or ways to increase our maximum output while vending at popular events. We operate from inside out 7'x16' concessions trailer and at maximum capacity taking food orders at one window with one food order line and handing food out the other window. It appears when we are operating at a maximum output that we are selling an average of about $650 gross sales per hours. When we are selling at that rate we have a huge line and could do more sales based on customers but need to find ways to increase production and I'm out of ideas. The only way I can think of is to move our operation outside and set up a double system, with two order lines and x2 on equipment, etc. but I'm not really interested in that. My question is what do you do to make your trailer operation more productive? Currently, we have a 4bay steam table, a refrigerator, and hot holding cabinet. Out smoker sets behind out trailer. We have one person taking orders, one person prepping sandwiches, dinners, etc, one person handing orders out and keeping supplies stocked along with anything else needed and one person managing the smoker and pulling pork, slicing brisket, etc. and we and all running at a pace that we could all pass out at any minute.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:42 PM   #2
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can you plate faster than the cashier or vice versa, or is it a perfect balance? Do you plate orders from tickets or just called out?
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:28 AM   #3
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I've seen where the first bump in the road is the order taker/cashier. Customers can stand in line 20 minutes but still don't know what they want to order when asked. Cure I've seen for this is an outside order taker working the line then handing the order slip to them to give the cashier who confirms the order then collects the cash and either calls out the order or hands off the order slip to an "expediter" who helps gather the order components for the delivery person. These 2 extra people can always find other things to do or do relief for the other staff when things slow.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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can you plate faster than the cashier or vice versa, or is it a perfect balance? Do you plate orders from tickets or just called out?

No we can't plate as fast as the cashier can take orders. We use a ticket system and the only way I can think to plate faster is to have someone pre making sandwiches and sticking them in the hot cabinet and the same with sides. I've never tried it but my think is that opening the hot holding cabinet door that much would cause the temp to fall well below 135 degrees but I could be wrong.
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Old 09-17-2018, 01:10 PM   #5
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You may look into adding a person to the plating line, have 1 person build sandwiches and 1 person do the sides. Another possibility, without knowing your space and menu, is to add another sandwich builder in the trailer. I see a lot ppl have a cutting board over their sinks as an extra prep space, if you did that and add an electric charger or something on a cart next to that person. If you have 2 building sandwiches and 1 person doing sides, they could increase output significantly in would think. And that 2nd sandwich maker, have them playing only for most popular item, and the other one plates the rest or helps out if they get slammed on those. Like i said I don't know how much space you have or the layout. But some thoughts
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:04 PM   #6
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You may look into adding a person to the plating line, have 1 person build sandwiches and 1 person do the sides.
This is something we planned to try this coming weekend to see if it helps. All great info, thanks.
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:37 PM   #7
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Hope it helps. I just started last week and working on getting to the point where we have your problem of too much business.
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:06 PM   #8
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This is something we planned to try this coming weekend to see if it helps. All great info, thanks.

Occasionally we also use a runner. We'll get the customer's name when we take the order and then the runner takes it out to them when it's ready. It clears the area around the window since people can move back and wait for the runner to bring the food to them.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:11 PM   #9
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We have one person taking orders and writing it on a ticket.
Ticket goes to sandwich maker.
Sandwich and ticket then goes to the side scooper who also send it out the window.
We have another person keeping everything organized, getting buns warmed, replenishing sides and meats, dealing with trash etc, and running the pit.

we preslice our briskets and have the pork pulled when we know its going to be busy. Cold sides are pre-portioned and in the fridge.

I am going to look into a second sandwich maker at our next crazy event. I find it also helps not to put our more complicated sandwiches on the menu for huge events. They take too long to build.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:33 PM   #10
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Hope it helps. I just started last week and working on getting to the point where we have your problem of too much business.
Where do you vend at?
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:46 PM   #11
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Been selling in downtown st paul during lunches, last Saturday was at Dual Citizen brewery. Not event specific, mostly lunches, taprooms, and next year want to get more into catering as well. Got about 7 taproom dates in Oct.
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:31 PM   #12
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Been selling in downtown st paul during lunches, last Saturday was at Dual Citizen brewery. Not event specific, mostly lunches, taprooms, and next year want to get more into catering as well. Got about 7 taproom dates in Oct.
What is your food truck name, I’ll look for you at taprooms.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:13 PM   #13
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Pig Approved BBQ, that's for all social media and website too.
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:47 AM   #14
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What kinda profit does 650$ an hour bring, before employees pay?
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:34 AM   #15
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What kinda profit does 650$ an hour bring, before employees pay?
That all depends on how much food you prepared and expected sales along with what is left at the end unsold and how long it took to sell it and if sales are steady at that rate the entire time (which does not happen often). Basically there are a whole lot of real life equations that go into a "What kind of profit" question. It can often be much lower than you would think. Take last weekend for instance. We were selling at a rate of $650 per hour and a 3 minute rain shower popped up and our sales went from $650 per hour to $65 in 45 minutes.
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