Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

NOV 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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58 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • NOVEMBER 2018 NATHAN'S FAMOUS: More Than a Hot Dog Eating Contest F rom a marketing perspective, the Fourth of July must be like Christmas to Nathan's Famous. That's the day Nathan's hosts its annual hot dog eating contest on Coney Island in New York, where contenders down scores of hot dogs in their quest for the mustard yellow championship belt. The event has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years. This summer's contest, in which the defending champion retained the title by down- ing 74 hot dogs in just 10 minutes, drew millions of eyeballs to the live broadcast on ESPN. The contest is a spectacle, to be sure, but for those not on the East Coast it could also be their only exposure to Nathan's all year. The New York-based Nathan's, though, has a larger claim than encouraging digestive feats of wonder. The company sells hot dogs in grocery stores in addition to its nearly 300 quick-serve restaurants. Most Nathan's Famous locations operate on the East Coast but the chain sprinkles some units across the country and even overseas, according to Phil McCann, senior director of marketing. The brand's geographic concentration makes sense. Nathan's started on Coney Island 102 years ago and has since become a New York institution. Nathan's Famous simply moved down the East Coast as New Yorkers themselves did. No brand, though, can live forever on a legacy customer base. Nathan's leadership recognizes this fact and, with that in mind, introduced a new prototype in Cape Coral, Fla. The restaurant's design strives to appeal to a younger audience while maintaining ties to loyal customers. At the same time, The brand best known for its July 4 event redesigns its restaurants with drive-thru and Millennials in mind. By Toby Weber

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