Hot Dog on a Stick is a cultural phenomenon
How many 76-year-old brands get a request from an influential, fashion-forward celebrity to wear one of their uniforms as a Halloween costume? Hot Dog on a Stick, a brand founded in 1946 by David Barham who wanted locals to have a delicious food and drink experience on the go, just steps from the beach, returns regularly to Hollywood. The original location in Santa Monica, Calif., is an LA-area landmark that’s currently undergoing a facelift after decades of serving beachgoers.
Hot Dog on a Stick is, of course, known for what the name suggests. However, when customers are asked what they think of the brand, what should never change or what is special about it, the number one answer to all of the above is lemonade. Our signature lemonade has just four ingredients: water/ice, Ventura County lemons, sugar, and a secret ingredient, all hand-stomped in front of the guest by a smiling Hotdogger, what we call our employees.
Hotdoggers are the heart and soul of the brand. They truly embody the spirit of optimism and enthusiasm “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Hot doggers are known to be bubbly, energetic, and always encouraging customers to “put a smile on their face.” Not everyone is right for the job, but that doesn’t stop the influx of applicants. Even some celebrities can boast of holding the coveted position, including Eva Mendes.
The best part of being a Hotdogger is wearing our bright and eye-catching striped uniform. It has evolved over the years, but continues to be one of the most recognized restaurant uniforms: “red, white and blue with a lemonade twist”. And, of course, there are the hats. The hats are so coveted that they’re never supposed to leave the store. Over the years, the brand has accumulated hundreds of photos of smiling celebrities with Hotdoggers in uniform, including Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Spike Lee, Lucy Liu, Mario Lopez, Neil Patrick Harris, John Stamos and John Travolta . Many of these photos can be found on our website.
Perhaps that’s why the brand has established itself as the darling of Hollywood. When Hollywood calls, we’re always there to lend uniforms, provide concept plans to build an on-set location, close a store for filming, or host an important event. We bring the Hotdogger spirit and the sun. Our film and television credits include “Charlie’s Angels”, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Stranger Things”. The brand was featured in Billie Eilish’s “Therefore I Am” music video, and some credit the Hotdogger uniform as the inspiration for Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Super Bowl outfit. The celebrity who asks for the Hotdogger Halloween costume? The fashionable Kourtney Kardashian. Our love for Hollywood is on par with our love for fresh lemonade.
As a brand building company, our job is to protect everything that makes the brand special, so we start with market research to make sure we protect what the consumer values most. Next, we want to amplify our presence in the market in an authentic way. We’ve grown very strategically, not rushing to open units that don’t fit the brand’s long-term vision. This is imperative with a unique concept like ours. While many of our locations are in malls, the brand really shines in sunny spaces and places of entertainment: waterfronts, promenades, amusement parks, fairs and entertainment venues. Our next phase of brand expansion involves working closely with national venues to bring this pop culture phenomenon to life in their park experiences.
A new co-branding collaboration that will come into play in the near future is tied to the 2021 acquisition of Hot Dog on a Stick by Fat Brands. Two of this company’s existing portfolio brands, Fatburger and Johnny Rockets, both also based in Los Angeles, have this same strong cultural element. The menus are complementary, and we see great value in incorporating items such as our fresh made-to-order hot dogs or the irresistible Cheese on a Stick with freshly squeezed lemonade into their product mix.
When it comes to menu development, our main culinary focus is lemonade innovation, developing new flavors that match the tastes of today’s consumers, while offering time-tested favorites like cherry and lemonade. lime. We recently got crafty and partnered with leading local independent brewer, Santa Monica Brew Works, to launch a 310 Stomped Shandy, a beach-brewed, hand-stomped hard lemonade shandy, to commemorate our party. favorite of the year, National Lemonade. Day (first Sunday in May).
Similar to our lemonade menu development strategy, our food innovation focuses on building strong partnerships with brands that have a similar personality and pop culture, like Cheetos Flamin’ Hot. When we launched our Hot Dog on a Stick topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Chipotle Aioli, fans flocked to try this unique snack combination.
The future is bright for Hot Dog on a Stick, with a huge expansion on the horizon, more film and TV cameos to come, our own merchandise line, and an online clothing line with Hot Topic. We’re ready to show the world that age is just a number, especially when you have a fresh, Hollywood glow like ours!
jenn johnston, President of the QSR Division at Fat Brands, is responsible for managing several strategic brand teams that oversee marketing, operations, research and development, training, communications and customer service activities for Hot Dog on a Stick, Great American Cookies, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzelmaker, and Round Table Pizza. Hot Dog on a Stick has over 50 locations in 5 US states