READ THIS DOCUMENT AND WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS BEFORE STARTING CONSTRUCTION!
Some video segments show more than one way to build certain components. By watching the whole presentation, you will be able to make a decision as to what will work best for you when you reach that point.
We purposely designed this project to be easily built by anyone, regardless of skill level or ability. In the videos I treat every topic as though the builder knows nothing. Too much information is always better than too little.
Congratulations! You are about to start a fun and simple project that, when finished, has the potential to make you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When properly cared for, the E-Z Built Hot Dog Cart should last a lifetime. Since you are the one who built it, you will know exactly how to repair it if necessary, saving you countless dollars in labor and down time.
There is no welding or other special skills involved, and the entire cart can be built using the most common hand and power tools that just about every one owns.
The parts are easily obtainable locally, or for those of you in remote areas, on the internet. Sources for all parts are listed in the Bill
BURNERS The 2 burner camp stove that you will see in the videos has been discontinued by Harbor Freight tools. No worries, we found another one that will work fine. We show you this new stove and how to modify it to work even better in the videos. You will see it when you get to the videos on constructing the firebox.
TRAILERS The E-Z Built Hot Dog Cart is designed to be built on a common utility trailer. We recommend a specific kit trailer, however we realize that many of you may already own a trailer, or may be able to purchase a used trailer locally at a large savings. For this reason, the plans only include certain critical dimensions that are not affected by the size of the trailer, such as steam table dimensions. In the videos you will see how to measure for the other dimensions.
STEAM PAN BASICS Reading this guide to steam pans (part of the Hot Dog Biz 101 course) will clear up a lot of questions when you start building your firebox.
LUMBER The frame of the E-Z Built is made from 2 x 2 lumber. Note that a 2 x 2 from the lumberyard actually measures 1 ½” x 1 ½”. This is what we will be using for this project.
This is important if you can’t find 2 x 2s locally. You may think you can make your own by ripping 2x4s down the middle, but be aware that the resulting lumber will be 1 ½” x 1 ¾”. This will really mess you up! If this is your only option, set up a table saw with the fence 1 ½” from the blade and rip your lumber to proper size.
You do not need to use flame retardant wood. The firebox is vented in such a way that the wood stays very cool.
Also be sure to sight down the length of your lumber to check for warped or twisted boards. We only want the straight ones. A little time spent sorting your lumber will pay big dividends during construction.
You will see that I used as sheet of OSB for the floor of my cart. The only reason I used it was because I had a sheet of it left over from another project. You would probably be happier using plywood.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT CONSIDERATIONS The E-Z Built Hot Dog Cart is designed to be easily modified during construction in order to comply with the various health codes found across the country. For example, some counties require only one sink and cold running water. Others require up to four sinks with hot and cold running water. In this package, you will find schematics for each of four different sink set-ups. You will use the appropriate schematic to get your cart approved by your local health department.
Hot Dog Biz 101 contains a wealth of information about how to find out what your local codes are, how to get through the sometimes difficult health inspection process, and how to make your health inspector fall in love with you. If you have never run a mobile food business before, Hot Dog Biz 101 will get you up to speed quickly.
***Do not start construction before you know what your local health department requires. After you watch all four videos, call or visit your health department and an inspector will tell you what features you need to pass inspection. You may find that you don’t need hot water, saving yourself the time and expense of installing a water heater. On the other hand, installing hot water may help you pass inspections if you travel to fairs and festivals in other counties with stricter health codes in the future.
DISCLAIMER This information is distributed with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering engineering, safety, legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Also note that this information in no way guarantees any specific amount of money to be made and the author cannot be held responsible for any actions that you may take. The information shared in this package is the result of my experience in the hot dog vending business. This represents my best knowledge of workable methods. There is no way to guarantee that the information will apply to your particular type of application. However, the information that follows does have a proven track record and is supplied to provide you with guidance. It is the user's sole responsibility to determine the applicability of the material to his or her use, and the author and publisher assume no responsibility for situations which may arise from the user's application of this material to his or her own business. The business owner is solely responsible for determining compliance with any and all local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and/or codes. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any injury and/or damage to persons and/or property arising from the implementation of material contained in this publication.