Son turns the family’s hot dog cart into a R$4 million business – Pequenas Empresas Grandes Negócios

In a quiet square in Rio de Janeiro, the Matos family opened a sausage stand to supplement their monthly income. After mother Eny took over the preparation of the snacks, she became the face of the small company named after Auntie’s hot dog. Today, after 40 years, under the leadership of his son HugoThe family business has grown and recorded revenues of R$4 million in 2021.

Hugo Matos runs Tia's Hot Dog, a 40-year-old with three stores opening in Rio de Janeiro (Photo: Disclosure)

Hugo Matos runs Tia’s Hot Dog, a 40-year-old with three stores opening in Rio de Janeiro (Photo: Disclosure)

The work was born as an alternative source of family income, with the father being a military policeman and earning little to support three children. The first tent was erected daily at Praça Professora Camisão, in the Freguesia district, in Rio de Janeiro, near where they lived. In 1982, the place was dark and empty, and the family shared the place with the homeless who occupied the square. Hugo and his siblings, who were under five years old, slept in the car while their parents worked.

Even after a few years of downtime, small businesses had difficulties retaining employees. With older children, the mother decided to take charge of the company. A perfectionist, he gave his face to business and, thanks to friendly service, began to create loyal customers. “It was a turning point for the company. For a long time, he worked on developing a special sauce, which we still use today,” the son recalls.

Since setting up and dismantling the tent daily was a huge task, father had the idea to renovate transportation car, in examples of what we know today as a food truck. In 1991, the car was cut in half and welders developed a project that allowed Eny to prepare snacks from inside the truck, making service faster and more practical. “It was the family’s car. They took us to school and at night they stopped in the square to sell sausages. At that time, they still didn’t sell in pickups, so wherever we passed, they kept looking,” he says.

The Matus family wagon serving the public in Frigizia Square in 2005 (Image: personal collection)

The Matus family wagon serving the public in Frigizia Square in 2005 (Image: personal collection)

In 2000, when Matos was 17 years old, his father left home, leaving the family in an awkward position. In addition to the emotional impact, the company was also shaken by debts owed to suppliers. He made it his mission to run the company and reverse this scenario, to continue bringing income to the family. “I went from supplier to supplier to explain what was happening. Because they know our history, they accepted the agreement and we paid the debts little by little, without suspending the receipt of goods,” he explains.

The entrepreneur did not go to college, but began taking courses in management and administration, as well as talking to entrepreneurs to get ideas. Realize that in order to grow, he will need to formalize the business and better pay his employees. “To take time off, we needed to shut down. My mother was so central, I thought no one would be able to do it like her. It was quite a challenge for me,” he reveals.

Matos, attending entrepreneurship fairs and forums, began studying a scenario FranchisingWhich made him want to get new selling points. Until then, the family continued at the same point, in Frygia, now with a booth, after a new revitalization of the town hall. With the help of an advertising friend, the entrepreneur made a file Rebranding From the brand, which was named Cachorro-Quente da Tia, in reference to Eny – although the official name is Hot mobile, customers only referred to the kiosk as “aunt”.

Ini Matos, Hugo's mother, who gave the family business its name (Image: Disclosure)

Ini Matos, Hugo’s mother, who gave the family business its name (Image: Disclosure)

In 2014, after conducting a brand awareness survey with 600 customers, Matos decided to open a shop in Takoara, a neighborhood with a strong tradition of hot dogs, where some competitors have been producing snacks for decades, with long-term customers. I passed. The menu gained new flavors and desserts to complement the order.

Five years later, he felt it was time to expand again with a new store. The Valqueire unit opened in October 2019, after months of renovation, but the pandemic halted plans and the store ended prematurely in 2021. However, the company recorded revenue of R$4 million last year.

Now, the expansion will be through franchises. The first, led by a friend of Ad Matos who helped so much in the company’s path, is now open on Olegário Maciel, the famous shopping street of Barra da Tijuca. Another module has already been approved and is being implemented in Copacabana. The entrepreneur saw in the project a way to offer a career plan to the outstanding employees of the stores. “You grow with the company, you learn all the functions, and then, based on the evaluations, you can get a franchise,” he points out.

There are two types of models: store And food truck container. For the warehouse of 30 square meters, the investment value is 354 thousand Brazilian riyalsWith labor, equipment, initial inventory, training, working capital, and franchise fees. for container is 230 thousand Brazilian riyals. The estimated payoff is two years. Matos expects to open two more units this year, with expected revenue of R$5 million, and at least three more points of sale in 2023. “The idea is to fill in Rio and Grande Rio and then eventually move to other cities and states,” he says.

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