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How Many Hotdogs?

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Our Pinewood Derby is coming up, and as this is going to be pretty much an all day event, we've decided we need to feed these critters! I need to figure out how many hotdogs I need to order ...


We have 71 cubs on the roles. Figuring parents, siblings and such, how many hotdogs would you order?


If it factors into your decision, the "combo" lunch will include a hotdog (with bun, of course), a bag of chips, a can of pop or bottle of water, and a rather large cookie. We want additional hotdogs available for those who want more than one. I'm a little afraid the guy-leaders on our committee might be thinking in terms of their appetities, rather than their cub's, though ...



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You're going to need a more solid headcount. 71 Cubs on your role doesn't necessarily = 71 Cubs + 2 parents/per + 1 sib/per at your PWD. I would have them sign-up to get a more reliable working number. You could have your registration include a "meal ticket" then figure in an overage for those who didn't sign up for lunch, but just can't resist the smell :-)

Based on that, we have good luck going with a 1-1/2 x our headcount. If we have 100 signed up, we figure on 150 'dogs, chips, and drinks. If this is going to last all day as you predict, folks may come back for seconds anyway. Besides, hotdogs are easy to freeze and save for your upcoming Spring campout. And this menu shouldn't break the bank, even if you do over-buy.


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I would agree with the numbers that clydesdale115 has given to determine how much to but I would also like to tell you about what happen with the Pack we were with that did some thing like this:


When my son was in Cubs the Pack always did an end of year Picnic.

The Pack bought Hot dogs, Hamburgers, rolls and condiments.


One year we had 110 people say they were going to attend and only 60 showed up.

The store did take back any unopened boxes of meat and used the open boxes on our WEBELOS overnight.

But we ended up throwing away a bunch of rolls as we couldnt return them (and having to pay for them).


They next year we had the exact opposite problem.

Only 6 people signed up in advance and 50 showed up.

The CM had to run out and buy more food.


We found that charging a token amount ($1 per head) solved this, even though we had a few no shows and last minute additions, the head count was much closer to the number that actually showed.


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Charging something up front for registration is a good idea. Even if the Pack is supplying the lunch free, a $1 registration fee will help to get a good head count. When you are having an event catered (or even just supplying the food) an off-the-cuff head count is never a good idea.


Did your Pack do this last year? If this is an annual event, talk to the person who ran it last year.


While uncooked dogs & bagged buns can both be frozen for future Pack use, you need someone with enough unused freezer space. If freezer space is unavailable, you can sell the unopened stuff to your families & leaders for a minimal amount.


In your case it sounds like you are having the event catered with pre-cooked food. Dogs on buns can not be frozen, but if you have leftovers you might consider taking them to a local homeless shelter. The folks there will really appreciate it & the food will not just be tossed out.

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We use a solid time tested mathamatical formula when we have to figure something like this


1. Take the number of Cubs 71


2. Divide by percentage expected to attend. Since this is PWD so 85% this is 60.35 or 61 scouts.


3. Figure each Cub will come with family. 60% will come with 2 parents and 1 sibling, 20 percent 2 parents, 2 sib's, 10 percent 1 parent, 5 percent 1 parent 1 sib, 5 percent with whole family to include grandparents, uncles& Aunts, AKA the whole mob. this equals 196.5 people, lets say 197.


4. So this is 258 people at 2 hotdogs per person or 516 hotdogs.


5. Now figure the percentage of adults against the total visitors, this by tradition is 45.5 percent, now of this 18 percent of them are big eaters who will eat 3 hot dogs. This means you need 21 extra hotdogs for them.


6. Now figure the remaining youth 144 of them 20 percent will eat 1 hotdog. This is 29 which you have to subtract from the total.


So lets see we need 516 for Base number, plus 21 for Big eaters, minus 29 for small eaters. This gives you a total requirement of 508 hotdogs. Now you need an average of 5 percent for fudge factor, so this is 533 tatal required hotdogs.


Now if this formula seems too hard to follow, you can always use the SWAG (Sort of a Wild A$$ Guess) method and hope for the best(This message has been edited by nldscout)

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First - thank you to all of you who have replied.


Clydesdale115, I agree we need a little more solid count. At least a more solid guess. I can pretty well predict what MY den will do, but can't fairly apply that to the whole pack. So, I've emailed the den leaders and asked for their best estimate of their own dens. Our next pack meeting is 4 days before PWD and I can't wait until then to make some decisions ... Since my dh is going to be the next Cubmaster, and we will have had all of this experience (oh, yeah) we will be better prepared for next year!


As for th 1-1/2 times the head count, I actually found that mulitplier on a website aimed at the military. It actually broke down quite interesting .... 2 per male, 1.5 per female and 1 per child - an in lieu of knowing the actual breakdown, use 1.5 times.


CNYScouter, I wonder if your experience isn't because it was a picnic. I would think (hope, actually) that PWD would be a bit more of a commitment to folks. I know we didn't have much variation at our fall campout. There were a few stragglers and awol folks, but they were certainly few.


ScoutNut, I don't think we served food last year, but they certainly have planned food for other events, such as Blue and Gold and campouts. Our pack almost doubled in scouts this year, though, so that is making it a bit more difficult. I'm a numbers kinda girl, and you can be sure I'll keep track of things like ratios, but I don't think our guys in the past have been quite that anal ;)


Freezer space I'm not so worried about, but buns do not freeze well, in my experience. Anything left will be divvied up between the leaders I would guess, as things were at the campout. I do like the homeless shelter idea, too, though. And, as someone said, this menu isn't going to break the bank, which is one reason we are keeping it simple. We certainly don't want to waste money unnecessarily, but we have been quite blessed this year so don't have to panic over some hot dogs.


Thanks, nldscout, for walking me through your formula. Some of the guys actually thought around 500. I've been thinking that may be a bit high, since we plan on buying a bit of a better grade of hot dog. I'm guessing they might be a bit bigger. So, I was leaning towards 400.


The other side of this, though, is that we are looking at at least 6 hours of racing (including Outlaws) and that makes for a really LONG day. Any delays at all and we are really pushing into the dinner hour. So, it is really possible to have people going back mid to late afternoon for another frankfurter fix. Maybe 500 is a better number.


Thanks so very much, guys (and gals, if appropriate). I'm going to chat with the chairman of our Blue and Gold, plus visit with the CC some more before I do this. It is up to me to decide - I just want to be wise with our resources.


It is nice to know that there is a place where you can bounce things around with folks who have BTDT.





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  • 4 weeks later...

If anyone is curious, it took 286 hot dogs. We had 59 Cubs that raced. Didn't do a head count on all comers. We fed our Cubs for free and all others paid. Our out of pocket cost was just about $105( this is just the food part, of course, not the entire PWD), and that included paper products, coffee, other misc supplies. Left over cooked hot dogs, iced down pop and water, open condiments - all of this type stuff is distributed among leaders and is included in the above cost. Thankfully our grocery supplier takes back unused product, so we were able to order enough yet not get stuck with anything.


We considered this a huge success, and actually spent less than we anticipated, by about half.


Thank you so very much for your ideas and input. I'm keep very detailed notes for next year!


PWD was an AWESOME event!

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Just an after thought...


For those planning hot dogs in future events... don't make the mistake I did.


For reasons I cannot explain, hot dog buns are not counted the same in packages as the hot dogs are... I found this out the hard way.


We planned an event and when I purchased the hot dog buns I didn't notice that hot dogs came in packs of 10 and the buns are in packs of 8. We came up 15 short on the hot dog buns. Everyone was understanding but many went without buns. I was rather embarrassed about the whole thing.


Anyway, I am sure that MomToEli would never make this mistake. Just make sure to have equal amounts of hot dog buns as hot dogs. It's a mistake I won't repeat soon.


Eagle Pete

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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Eagle Pete! I didn't make that mistake, but probably due to years of mothering experience - and all of the hot dog and bun buying that comes with it. There is a story behind the dogs to bun ratio - I just don't recall it at the moment!


My challenge was presented by the grocery store, though. In our box of 50 packages of hot dogs they included some packages of 10 dogs and some packages of 8. And nothing on the receipts told me how many of which ones! They charged me the same price for each kind (either way, they are a pound). The way I had to figure out how many dogs we sold was to figure the buns and guess (with the help of the guy doing the serving!)at how many were served bun-less!


The biggest change I will make for next year is to figure out a system to track how much we sell of each thing rather than rely on backing into the inventory.

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