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This Is The Most Overlooked Fast-Food Item Right Now

Wienerschnitzel's signature item has brought in major crowds this year—for good reason.

Pizza, breakfast sandwiches, burgers… most of us have had these takeout items on rotation during the pandemic. However, one restaurant chain is claiming an almost forgotten fast-food item has quietly brought in major crowds that have boosted their sales. The humble hot dog has been a major winner for Wienerschnitzel as the chain has reported an unexpectedly steady growth in sales since March.

CEO Cindy Culpepper recently told Restaurant Business that the winning combo of hot dogs and drive-thrus are responsible for the company's surprising bounceback during the pandemic—a feat many other chains haven't been able to achieve during this difficult year. Wienerschnitzel's sales have seen an average increase of 22% since March and show no signs of slowing down. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)

Since it operates largely as a drive-thru restaurant, Wienerschnitzel has been able to capitalize on the new way customers are getting their hands on their favorite fast-food orders. But their signature hot dogs, like Chili Cheese Dog, Kraut Dog, and Junkyard Dog, deserve just as much credit for the fact that people keep coming back to the tried-and-true brand and ordering more dogs than ever before. Wienerschnitzel has reported that customers are spending more per visit and there have been more customers overall—the latter being a rarity during the pandemic when most chains are losing business in large numbers.

In fact, the increase in traffic at the chain's 340 locations has been a challenge to keep up with, says Culpepper, admitting that wait times have increased at some stores. But, hot dog lovers don't seem to be deterred. "The customers seem willing to wait. As long as they're getting a quality product. That's what they're getting from Wienerschnitzel," she told Restaurant Business.

While the company acknowledges sales will likely level off once the pandemic is over, growth seems to be the long-term plan. The company is close to signing a couple of multi-unit deals with new franchises, which means customers can expect new Wienerschnitzel locations—and more hot dogs—coming their way soon.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more