Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ben-evolent dogs in Guelph: another update from the editors of the Guelph Mercury

It will be interesting to see what becomes of Ben Baena based on his Dinosaur Dog venture.
When – if – he is the subject of a biography, one gets the sense the Dinosaur Dog episode would either be omitted altogether or form a key turning-point sort of chapter.

Baena is the Guelph entrepreneur/down-market restaurateur who caused something of a stir this summer by operating Dinosaur Dog — a pay-what-you-can (or want) hotdog cart near Gordon and Essex streets.
The part-time business venture operated for a short period. But it still gained a following and something of a social media glee club for bucking the traditional street meat retailing price structure.
Alas, the impact of this disruptive innovation in the local hot dog cart industry was a brief one; at least, phase one of the experiment was. It was also something of a cautionary tale about the need to do your homework – or at least enough of it – before jumping into a business venture.
Baena, a student, had a hotdog cart, the foodstuffs to operate it and no shortage of energy and zeal as its owner operator. He just didn’t have the necessary paperwork from the city to run or even start-up this business legitimately.
He’s pretty quick to allow he started up the business quick and on more of an apologize-later rather than get-permission-first basis. His lack of negotiating the municipal red tape required for this play led to its demise with the city shutting him down over it Tuesday.
Baena, who holds down another job this summer, suggests he’ll be back on the weinie scene next year. We hope he makes good on that undertaking and jumps in in 2011 with all the permits and such he needs for Dinosaur Dog to be legal.
It would be interesting to behold this social and entrepreneurial experiment for a longer spell. It seems likely it will also prove compelling to follow Baena’s career and impacts as well.

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