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Hot Dog Cart Guy, 32

Chuck Ansbacher photo

By Chuck Ansbacher

Saturday October 15, 2005

“Rico Suave” (wouldn’t give his real name) is 32. He works at the hotdog stand on the southeast corner of Robson and Burrard.

Only: How often do you work here?
Rico: Six days.
O: Six days a week? What hours?
R: It’s kinda open. My uncle and I got a few locations throughout the city we’re kinda working ourselves. Probably average out over a six day span, six to eight hours maybe. Myself.
O: And you and your uncle own how many locations?
R: Four.
O: And that one across the street?
R: That’s competition.
O: So that’s a rivalry?
R: Totally.
O: But it’s not a real rivalry, is it?
R: Absolutely. Effectively it is because they’re taking customers away.
O: So what do you do to try to counteract that, if anything?
R: It’s not about changing prices as much as trying various things, like deals. You got McDonalds, you got a meal every day. A special every day. We try to do that. We’re here more often and frequently than they are. They take days off like you wouldn’t believe. We’ve got a good regular customer base.
O: What is your best seller?
R: Smokies.
O: And what is your personal favourite?
R: Regular beef hot-dog.
O: What have you learned while selling hot-dogs?
R: I’ve learned a lot… I’ve learned to treat each grill as an individual, because they’ve got different characteristics. Each grill cooks smokies differently, I know that. As far as practical stuff? I treat customers in a different way now. I’m learning all the time. Absolutely.
Chuck Ansbacher