Wienerschnitzel hot dog chain seeks expansion in Illinois

Wienerschnitzel’s hot dog menu has proven itself during the pandemic, said Ted Milburn, director of franchise development. The chain, which serves burgers, fries, ice cream and other options, saw same-store sales increase 16.8% last year.

“The level of interest and profile of our clientele in the Midwest is remarkable,” Milburn said in a press release. “It indicates the number of franchise applications – and the vast underserved markets – coming from the heart of America. The introduction is always the same:” There is no such thing as Wienerschnitzel in our city – we we need. “”

These could be fighting words in a city like Chicago, with such strong opinions on what should and shouldn’t be on a hot dog.

But restaurants that were heavily dependent on drive-thru and take-out, as Wienerschnitzel always has been, haven’t suffered as badly as full-service restaurants.

Affordable menu prices have also helped Wienerschnitzel, Milburn told Crain’s. Customers can purchase a set of five hot dogs for $ 6.95.

“We have people at the drive-thru all the time ordering 100, and they take them home and put them in their freezer,” he said. “It’s affordable.”

The value was also a draw during the Great Recession and is helping to carve out some niche for the chain. Wienerschnitzel doesn’t necessarily compete with gourmet hot dog chains, Milburn said. “The chili cheese dog is really what we do. It’s the main driver of the sale,” he said.

The chain has also not historically focused on walk-in locations in dense urban areas, and has focused on drive-thru. But Milburn said the company wouldn’t turn down a franchisee in Chicago who could find the right real estate.

Wienerschnitzel was founded in 1961 as a hot dog stand in Wilmington, California. The Garaldi Group, based in Irvine, Calif., Which also owns the Tastee Freez brand, is the parent company. The chain has some presence in Illinois, with a location in Champaign.

The story has been updated to correct the spelling and location of the Wienerschnitzel parent company.

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