Hot dogs are having a moment. So much so that The Wall Street Journal declared franks “the ‘it’ restaurant order” of the summer.
America’s favorite meat tubes require no introduction — US consumers already buy 900m+ pounds of them annually, per the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
- Perhaps an etiquette brush-up is required? The NHDSC has a guide for that. (Apparently standard hot dogs should need no more than five bites?)
July is the wieniest month
No month rivals this one — National Hot Dog Month, naturally — in hot dog sales, thanks to the July Fourth holiday.
- NHDSC estimates 150m hot dogs — supposedly enough to stretch from DC to LA 5x — are consumed on average each Independence Day.
But could hot dogs become a year-round phenomenon? Maybe.
Hot dogs are taking off in restaurants nationwide
Why? They’re a great vessel for nostalgia and novelty — and both are good for business.
- Regional chains that position hot dogs as a comfort food — namely, Wienerschnitzel and Portillo’s — are expanding nationally, per The Takeout.
- Growing franchises like Five Guys and Shake Shack — devoted to hot dog’s frenemy, the hamburger — are gaining attention for slinging dogs as well.
- Costco’s $1.50 hot dog combo, a popular draw, isn’t going anywhere — at least not if its employees want to remain among the living.
- Also a draw: exotic hot dog varieties, with MLB ballparks engaged in a gross, endless arms race. (The weirdest belongs to the Cleveland Guardians, who sell a dog topped with Froot Loops and pimento mac and cheese.)
- There’s also that viral NYC hot dog that costs $29.
One note on hot dog innovation: Keep it coming, please. Seeking inspiration? Look to Phoenix’s Short Leash, which serves its hot dogs on naan rather than typical buns.