Cart Operations Manual – How to Write a Business Plan

There are four parts to a business plan:

  1. Executive Summary.
  2. Business Data.
  3. Financial Data.
  4. Supporting Data.


The Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is a brief introduction and outline of your business idea. It should be short, only 1 or 2 pages in length.

The Executive Summary should give a clear idea of the type of business you want to start and detail exactly what the business will be doing. It should list who is involved, what equipment will be used and what products will be sold. It should give dates and locations. It will outline your strategy and goals. It will also give a short summary of financial information.

The Business Data Section

This section of the business plan will give more information about the business, your product, your strategy, and the market that the business will be operating in.

Here you will show more detailed information that highlights your market research such as your targeted customers, their demographics, the customer population base, the selling price of your product, the cost of your product, the equipment needed by your company, and your suppliers.

It should also include an honest and realistic summary of your strengths and weaknesses, your competition, the risks and the unknowns, and your contingency plans for problems that may occur.

The Financial Data Section

This section of the business plan is the numbers section where you show your start-up costs, your projected running costs, and your projected income.

Although this section may involve some estimating and even guessing, it should not be taken lightly. Be honest and realistic because this section will truly reveal to you if your plan will succeed or fail. It will be scrutinized by any investors or loans officer. It must stand up under scrutiny.

You may be able to obtain some good data by examining other similar businesses or even checking out your competitors. This would include examining their products, equipment, locations, customers, prices, practices, and so on.

Information for the financial data section can be researched on-line at government business websites that give information on city and business populations. Other information can be obtained the old fashioned way by actually counting potential customer foot traffic and observing the human demographics.

Product and equipment costs should be based on solid research that includes getting written quotations. Copies of these should be attached in your supporting data section.

If the Financial Data Section is going to be more than 2 or 3 pages long, include a cover page that shows the table of contents so that the reader can quickly locate specific data.

The Supporting Data Section

This section of the business plan is like an appendix that contains your hard evidence that supports your plan. This section includes your very detailed market research.

Included here are price quotations from suppliers, copies of your data research such as population statistics, detailed charts about competitors or similar companies, and written logs of your own research data such as foot traffic counts and detailed accounts of competitor prices and products. Include with these data reports names, locations, contacts, phone and fax numbers, email addresses, dates, times, website addresses, and so on.

For a hot dog cart or concession stand business, the supporting data section would also include the details about the food stand you will be purchasing. Include pictures, schematics, specifications, the equipment list, and the prices.

Also include the information you have learned about business and location permits, health code permits and required training, and copies of any that you have already obtained such as your business license or food safety course graduation certificate.

The Supporting Data section can also include your personal resume as well as those of any partners in the business. This should include your skills, work history, financial history, and details of your personal financial situation.

The Supporting Data Section is usually the longest section of a business plan and should have a table of contents to help someone quickly find the specific information included within it.

Sample Hot Dog Cart Business Plan

Executive Summary

I would like to start a new food service business operating a fully enclosed mobile hot dog stand in the Beeftown business park.

The business named Happy Hot Dogs and Snacks will be a sole proprietorship under my full ownership.

The business will supply high-quality hot dogs, soft drinks, coffee, and prepackaged snacks to the many workers and visitors within the Beeftown business park.

The business will operate from a newly purchased Willydog 8 foot fully enclosed concession trailer. See the attached quotation from the manufacturer along with pictures, schematics and specifications.

This trailer will be equipped to serve food according to the guidelines of the local county health code. This will include reheating previously cooked sausages and wieners, providing condiments and necessarily take out accessories. The trailer and its associated equipment meet all county health codes and it has received health department approval. A copy of the letter of approval from the Beeftown County Public Health Department is attached.

The trailer will be located on the premises of the General Widget and Machine factory on Industrial Drive. A written agreement has been drawn up between myself and the plant manager of the Widget factory to locate the trailer in the north-west end of the plant parking lot. A copy of the agreement is attached.

The Widget factory employs 1500 permanent employees. Many of these leave the facility at lunch to obtain take away food at fast food restaurants located 2-3 kilometers away on Main Street. The number leaving the facility during a typical workday lunch break (from 11 AM – 1 PM) averages 468 people.

Additional business can be obtained from the many other businesses located in the industrial park. The other 57 businesses in the industrial park employ 1120 people. Many of these also leave the park to obtain take away food from restaurants located on Main Street. My estimate is that approximately 30-35% of employees leave their place of business to obtain lunch from an outside food supplier. These would also be able to be served by my Concession Stand by parking on the shoulders of Industrial Drive or Development Drive.

Additional business traffic would be achieved from the transient population passing through the industrial park including delivery drivers, salesmen, and customers of the many businesses in the park.

Further business would be obtained by serving coffee and prepackaged snacks during the short employee breaks beginning at 9 Pm and ending at 3 PM.

There is at this time no other mobile food concession stand located in the Beeftown Industrial Park or located nearby.

The total cost of starting this business including a purchase of the concession stand, food safety training, licenses and permits, a 2 week supply of inventory, and other incidental costs is $18,000.00. See the attached supplier quotations and a summary of business start-up expenses.

Estimated weekly gross income based on obtaining only a 15% share of the daily lunch food traffic from the Widget factory and a 10% share from the remainder of the businesses in the industrial park is $2500.00. See the attached market research data including 2 weeks of head counts of employee traffic leaving and returning during weekday lunch hours.

The average food margin of profit is 60% after expenses leaving an estimated net income of $ 1500.00 per week. See the attached supplier quotations and retail sales prices for hot dogs and soft drinks at other mobile food stands in the Beeftown county area.

This estimate is based on a typical meal sale of one hot dog, one order of fries, and a soft drink totaling $5.00 per vend.

Additional income is planned to be obtained by offering the mobile concession stand to cater parties and serve food at other special events in the area during off-hours, holidays, and weekends.

The Willydog 8 foot concession trailer has the ability and space to be equipped with additional food preparation appliances in the future if required. The unit can be operated during all four seasons and can be moved by a passenger car with a tow hitch. See the attached pictures and specification pages for the Willydog unit.

With the above information in mind, I would like to apply for a $16,000 Line of Credit with your bank to start this business.

Financial Data

Start Up Expenses Worksheet

1 Business License Fee – 1 year $100.00
2 Vendor Cart Location License Fee – 1 year $100.00
3 Health Department Cart Inspection Fee $25.00
4 Health Department Food Handler Training Course Cost $50.00
5 Hot Dog Cart Purchase Cost – New Yorker + Options $3500.00
6 Initial Food Inventory Purchase Cost – 1 month $300.00
7 Initial Cost of Other Cart Supplies $50.00
8 Commissary Storage Fee – 1 month $0 to $50.00
9 Vendor Cart Location Rental Fee – 1 month $0 to $300.00
10 Business Supplies $10.00
11 Business Insurance – 6 months $400.00
12 Other Business Costs (Telephone, Bank) $100.00
Total Start Up Costs $4435.00 to $4785.00

Supporting Data


J & J Quality Meats
100 Country Drive
Beeftown, ON

Further to your recent visit to our store, we are pleased to quote the following quality meats for your new food vending business.

500 All Beef Pre-Cooked 8” Sausages in packages of 20    $150.00

Term of Sale: Cash on Delivery

Note: We require a 3-day notice to prepare your order.

We look forward to being your preferred supplier for your new business.

John & Jeff Slaughter
J & J Quality Meats


The Bread Shoppe
200 Dairy Drive
Beeftown, ON

Further to your recent visit to our bakery, we are pleased to quote the following for your new food vending business.

30 Dozen Deluxe 8” Buns (Bags of 12)    $100.00

9 dozen to be picked up at the beginning of each weekday at 9 AM.

Term of Sale: Cash on Delivery

Note: We require a 2-day notice prior to delivering your order.

We look forward to being your preferred bread supplier for your new business and wish you all the best.

Debbie Baker
The Bread Shoppe


Master Food Supply
1000 Industrial Drive
Beeftown, ON

Further to your recent visit to our warehouse, we are pleased to quote the following foodstuffs for your new food vending


30 Cartons of Classic Cola (24 cans)              $150.00
10 Cartons of Mountain Rain (24 cans)           $  50.00
4 x 4 litre jugs commercial cooking oil             $  40.00
15 x 5 Kg Bags Frozen Potato Fries                $150.00
200 x 60g bags Potato Chips – Plain              $  80.00
100 x 60g bags Potato Chips – S & V             $  40.00
100 x 50g Choco-Nut Candy Bars                  $  40.00
100 x 45g Milky Pure Chocolate Bars              $  40.00

Term of Sale: Cash on Delivery

Note: We require a 24-hour notice prior to ordering pick up.

We look forward to serving your food supply needs for your new business and wish you the very best.

Sam Spade
Master Food Supply
Beeftown Warehouse

Traffic and Population Research Data for Beeftown Industrial Park

This information was compiled by myself over a 2 week period this past June.

Population data was taken from the Ontario Business Directory

Traffic Data was taken by direct observation and physical counting of vehicles and people.

Industrial Park Worker Population:

General Widget and Machine                 1500
Johnson Machine and Welding                  75
Smith and Sons Cement and Asphalt        120
Jones Brothers Engineering                      80
Rapid Transportation and Delivery            45
Best Industrial Supply                            40
Short’s Electrical Supply                         40
Cooper Hydraulic Company                      20
50 Other Businesses                             700
Total Population = 2620

Vehicle Traffic Count:
Vehicles passing through intersection of Industrial and Development Drives between 10 AM and 2 PM daily Monday to Friday:
Monday         529
Tuesday        579
Wednesday    585
Thursday       565
Friday           635
Daily Average = 578

Pedestrian count leaving main doors of General Widget and Machine during lunch break 11 AM to 1 PM daily Monday to Friday:
Monday         419
Tuesday        469
Wednesday    475
Thursday       455
Friday           525
Daily Average = 468