Hot Dog Vendors Downtown Won Big During 2010 Olympic Games

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Imagine working at a hot dog stand in middle of downtown Vancouver. On a sunny day you could serve as many as 100 different people from all around the Lower Mainland. Business is steady and you have your system down pat. Now fast forward to the Olympics. The streets are filled with tens-of-thousands of people, and your stand is completely surrounded by ecstatic Team Canada fans right after they won the gold medal. People from all around the world are lined up for your hot dogs, and in the middle of all the madness, you have to serve them all. This is what the Olympics were like for Anthony Dvorak, an employee for a hot dog stand on Granville Street.

Located in front of London Drugs, Anthony has been working at the stand for over two-and-a-half years, and was blown away by how busy the hot dog business had become during the games.  “I’m just guessing, but I would say it was twenty times as busy as usual. It was insane.”

Normally working his shifts alone, the tall man worked alongside a team of three other employees during the games, all crowding around the small hot dog stand, which is not much bigger than an average-sized coffee table.

“It was really sloppy at first,” Dvorak said, standing behind the condiment-filled stand as he described his experience during the first couple of days.

Customers expanded from approximately 100 customers a day to over a thousand.

“After a while we got a system down,” Dvorak said, “One guy would take the orders, I’d be on the grill, and another guy would be handing out the orders that were taken.”

Even with a system in place, it was hard to keep up with the demand. The packed streets and popular location were tough challenges for the small team of three.

“Once we got the system down, it went really smooth, but it was still really hard,” Dvorak said. “We would get stuff dropped off, and we didn’t have time to put it away.”

Before the Olympics came to Vancouver, 4:20, a counterculture holiday created to celebrate and consume marijuana, was the busiest day of the year for Dvorak and the hot dog stand. But after his experience of working during the Games, the holiday hardly compares to the crowds Dvorak has seen and served. “Probably the slowest day of the Olympics would compare to that,” Dvorak said with a  laugh.

“It was mostly good vibes,” Dvorak said, as he described the experience of selling hot dogs in the middle of the record-breaking crowds. “A lot of patriotism, a lot of high fives, and a lot of happy people.”

But Monday serving one customer at a time, the vendor had time to chat with customers as he handed a hot dog to an older woman, speaking with another about his family background. At times, he even had a moment to himself, when there weren't any customers.

In terms of profit, Dvorak doesn’t know how much the hot dog stand made during those busy days. “He [owner of the stand] didn’t go over that with me. But I can just imagine,” Dvorak said.

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