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Jay Porter

As someone who sells grass-fed, hand-made, home-schooled hot dogs (as well as similarly procured cured meats, chilis, burgers, tacos) at prices reflecting their cost, and who also sells semi-fancy farm-driven restaurant meals in the same business, I can say that there is louder resistance to a $14 cubano sammy than to a $20+ pork loin dish, even when the portions of both are the same and the cubano takes way more labor (baking the bread, curing the ham). I wouldn't say that sales are worse for the cubano, but one will field angry emails and hear ranting in the local bars about charging fourteen bucks for a sandwich.

The same holds true for hot dogs, burgers, sausages, etc. -- years of eating them as the cheapest factory food has conditioned some people that if meat, no matter how expensive, is put in a casing, you can't charge more than a certain level for it. But if it's put on a cucumber, the sky is the limit.

When we started our business, I had the same thought as you, that there would be great opportunity in high-quality street food -- but we've had to "restaurantize" our operation a lot in the ensuing years. Otherwise we wouldn't communicate how much work goes into the dishes and how high-quality our ingredients are (because everyone knows a hot dog is cheap).

Hope that helps.

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