As both a fast-food blogger and consumer, one of the things I’ve never been able to figure out is why the major players never made a deep dive into hot dogs. The way I see it, there are two types of people in this world: Those who eat hot dogs and those who don’t. If you eat hot dogs, you probably eat fast food. It’s that simple. Hot dog lovers tend not to worry about things like preservatives and nitrates and quality of meat. “Hot dogs” and “fast food” are essentially interchangeable.
Despite this obvious correlation, major chains like McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., and Wendy’s never offered hot dogs, except maybe for a limited time here and there. It’s not like Americans aren’t eating hot dogs — in 2014, U.S. consumers spent more than $2.5 billion on hot dogs from supermarkets — so why isn’t fast food cashing in?
Burger King must have been asking itself the same question, for the chain recently announced that it was going to be adding grilled beef hot dogs to its permanent menu at all of its 7,100 U.S. locations. Starting Feb. 23, its customers will have access to both chili cheese dogs and “Classic Grilled” dogs, which are topped with ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, and relish.
It’s the “permanent” aspect that’s really interesting. This isn’t a limited-time offering of hot dogs like Carl’s Jr. did in 2014. Instead, Burger King is making hot dogs a menu staple at all of its U.S. restaurants without the benefit of any limited-time test launch. They’re going all in with hot dogs, the first time one of the major fast-food chains has done so.
So will hot dogs spread throughout the fast-food universe? I have to think it will. With this move, Burger King is standing out among its competitors in a big way. It would only make sense that others try and follow suit to put the spotlight back on them.
But how quickly will that happen? That’s a tougher question. On the one hand, it makes sense for a chain to see how hot dogs impact Burger King’s business before getting into the permanent hot dog business itself. On the other hand, you don’t want to have the spotlight shine solely on your competitor for too long.
"Burger King Introduces Hot Dogs to Its Permanent Menu" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.