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Monday, September 28, 2009

Electricity is shocking and so are the cart laws!

No real update on opening.  Sorry.

Figured out that we have 3 outlets in the kitchen and 4 (maybe 5) appliances.  Will have to put 2 more breakers in the box and run single outlets all the way across the room.  That should fix the electrical problems.

Plumbing issues are the same.  Those shouldn't take me very long, just need to get the angles right for the sink drains.  I am not a professional plumber, so it takes me a little longer to figure it out.  The tankless heater might have to be installed by a plumber.  Will have to find someone to help me with that.

Got most of the kitchen area cleaned up and the other half of the room is somewhat organized.  That other half is for the flower shop and has tons floral supplies.  Got the wire shelves put up and that helped a bunch...plus we got rid of that old cooler that was taking up space.  Still need to move a couple things around and then hang up a new light and that side will be good.

The eating contest is delayed until next spring.  Thinking of doing more than just the contest, but will have to see what is feasible.  Not going into great detail because I really don't need anyone else taking my ideas and using them as their own....and by that I mean local people to my area.

Had some discussions about further expansion plans for next year, but we are holding off for now.  The people involved with the expansion plans aren't sure where they are moving to , so we are going to wait to see how that plays out.  We are still planning on being in Austin next spring, unless something happens to hamper it.

Was doing some research on other cities and their laws on mobile food vending.  I have to say that Austin and San Antonio are the easiest/best cities to start up a cart business.  The laws in those two cities are much easier to navigate than any other major Texas cities.  The cities of Fort Worth and Arlington require that you pay for them to look at your cart plans before you can even file for a permit.  Not the cart itself, they want to see blueprints/diagrams of the cart and how it works.  Neither of them allow you to play any music, have any lights on the carts (other than to assist you in working), nor can you "hawk" your food (saying "Hot Dogs, come get your Hot Dogs").  I think that is insane!  What is the point of having these vendors?  Fort Worth also requires that you measure out your spot before putting the cart there....literally use a measuring tape to make sure you are far enough away from the curb and the intersection.  If you are a little off, they will fine you.  You also have to stop serving at 9pm.  That one really got me.  I think that their reasoning is to keep vendors from getting robbed, but actually you are creating a bigger problem with drunks.  The whole reason that Austin allows the vendors on 6th street is to hopefully help people sober up before driving home.  That is why they give you til 3am to shut down.  I guess that some cities don't really know the value of the vendors, nor do they care.

24 days until our first catering job.  Not too worried about it.  I have done some catering with my brother in law and have done it in the past.  I have my checklist, so nothing will be left behind.  Still need to get my Lederhosen.  That will be next!

Will hopefully have a start date really soon.  Need to get this rolling before the cold weather starts.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A note about my personal blog.

Check out my new personal blog:  http://veryrandommind.blogspot.com/


Back to business!

Found this site of this comedy duo that I love to watch.  They are now doing free "local" commercials for businesses.  I am trying to get these guys to do a free commercial for my business.

Please go to:  http://www.ilovelocalcommercials.com/  and nominate my business.  If I can get enough people to nominate us, then it might draw attention to the business and they might make a commercial.  That would be freakin' great! 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quick update....don't get excited just yet!

Nothing new.  Still working on the kitchen.  The fun never ends.

We are still considering turning this "cart" business into a full blown restaurant.  We figured that since our permit allows it, why not.  Will need to start buying up equipment so I can steam my hot dogs and buns indoors.  Will be using electric steam pans because gas is expensive and can't use propane inside.  We also have to buy up some soup kettles for this winter time.  I think that making this into an actual restaurant will be the best thing in the long run.  Not only will it increase our bottom line, but it will also free-up the cart for catering jobs.  We just lost another restaurant in the downtown area, so this is the right time to strike.  Still not sure if I can talk myself into working from 11am to 7pm everyday.  Bribes might be in order!


Finally got rid of the old flower cooler that my wife had in the back room.  It was going to cost us a fortune to fix it and we only used it 2 or 3 times a year.  There is so much room now that we shouldn't have a problem storing all of her floral supplies.  I am also making sure that we have room for her to work.  She deserves a good place to do flowers....just because she puts up with my crap and has given me half her room to build my kitchen.  She is the greatest!

Had some special business cards built.  Can't post a picture because they are super special and actually have the logo and our other "web address logo" on the front.  How is that possible?  The are very special and you have to move them back and forth to see both images.  They are for a special project.  What special project?  Not telling just yet.....you have to wait.  Don't want to spoil any surprises, but it will be really cool and not everyone will get one!  And those who do get one will be privy to special "events".

Should know something soon about this other catering job that came up.  I think they are waiting for me to open so I can serve food.  Have not heard anything else, but they are getting ready for their event.  Will hopefully find out something this week or early next week.

Found out about another event in late November.  We have been to it before, as guests, and my wife and her mother used to donate a Christmas tree to it every year.  It is a charity event for a local children's advocacy center and people bid on donated Christmas trees.  They also need people to serve food and we are thinking about doing it.  I will need to check with them today and hopefully we can get signed up.  We have to give away free food, but I think that it will expose us to a different clientele than we will normally have.  Should help us thru the winter months!

Still trying to find someone who can print some shirts.  I tried getting one thru VistaPrint and it sucks.  Still waiting on my refund from them.  Hopefully I can find a screen printer that will hook me up with a discount.


Gotta get some sleep so I can finish working on my kitchen.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but damn that tunnel is long!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Travelin Man...and the logo is done....and we still aren't open, yet.

Took a trip to Dallas on Monday.  Went with my brother in law, Josh.  We were only there for an hour and it felt like saying hello to a long lost friend and then leaving immediately.  It felt really weird!  I thought for a second that I might have been homesick for Dallas, but remembered that I really love the Austin area!  We went up there because he had won some items in a restaurant equipment auction.  He got some really great stuff!  I am hoping to bid on some things coming up in September....luckily those items will be in Pflugerville, which is only 50 or so miles away.

Big push to try and open by Wednesday.  I would love to say we opened on 09/09/09!  Getting some help this weekend and hopefully we can at least have our health inspection done by Tuesday.  The biggest problem will be the plumbing....and the tankless water heater.

Got the logo done!  That's one thing accomplished.  Check out www.franksrocks.com to see it!  It took me a while because I had to learn a new graphic manipulation program.  It took me about 4 days, but the end result came out pretty good.  I actually like it better than my first idea of a cartoon hot dog.  The idea came to me in a day dream....I was sipping white tea while riding on a fluffy cloud horse named Antonio......just kidding.  The idea came to me while thinking about decorating the inside with guitars.  I thought about using my guitar collection and putting them in cases inside the building.  Not sure I want to do that.  I would be afraid that someone might decide to "borrow" one of them and not bring it back.  Guess I will try to find some cheapy guitars to put on the walls.

I ordered one shirt to see how the new logo looks when printed and ordered 3D business cards.  The shirt is black (of course) and has the regular logo on the front and then has an additional logo on the back that has the website address.  It will probably look cool except that my long hair might get in the way.  The new business cards are really cool.  You basically move it back and forth and it shows the logo and the website address.  I only ordered 40 of them because they are expensive.  I will use them for special customers and when trying to get new catering jobs.

Working on rebuilding the website.  I think that might happen once we open.  Instead of the simple site we have now, the new one will be a full flash site.  I need to learn that program also before the site can be relaunched.   That should take me about 4 days.

Went and looked at some equipment today.  I would have bought the ice machine, but it would have required us to drill holes in the roof and mount the condenser on the roof.  That would have been a pain!  Plus we would have had to upgraded the electrical box that also handles the air conditioner because it is also on the roof.  So a $600 ice machine would have cost me around $2500 total.  I'll wait and buy one where everything is built into the unit.

I did buy a new table for the outside customers.  It is a tall pub table that is black metal and can handle an umbrella.  We are going to put it out front for the "eat and run" customers.  I got it at Home Depot for $64.  It was like $150 new and they had it on clearance @ $99 for about 3 months.  They finally lowered the price and we bought it!  It comes apart real easy and we were able to put it in my little car.  Would like to have more, but that one will do.

Speaking of tables, we found the coolest tables at the restaurant supply store.  They are brushed aluminum/chrome and really personify the "Rock and Roll" attitude that Frank's Franks will be known for.  They were $100 each, so we will have to wait.  I could see us using those and the black tables we already have....black and chrome always looks good together!

Gonna try something weird on the hot dog front.  Found out about something called "The Louisiana".  Was curious about it, so I contacted someone who actually sells them in Louisiana...kinda had to, couldn't find anything online about it.  Here is how it is made:  Beef Hot Dog with Onions, Red Beans, and Tabasco.  Sounds kinda weird, but it is really good!  This guy doesn't use chili, but just uses the red beans instead.  He said that sometimes they put rice on it, but only his "diehards" do that (red beans and rice dog?).  Will have to work that into my specialty hot dogs in the future.  I know of several native Louisianans that live in Bastrop and they would probably knock down my door to buy one!

Got a couple of my catering gigs sealed up.  I hope that ends up being a HUGE part of the business!  There is lots of guaranteed money in it where as the daily business will never be as consistent.  Hope to seal up a third event real soon....that event will give me tons of local exposure.

The hot dog eating contest is being moved to the spring.  I have bigger aspirations for the event and want to make it more than just a eating contest.  Will be working out the details in the next few months and will set a date.  Needless to say, this will definitely put us on the map!  I will post more info once we determine what all is going to happen.