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Winter 2013 Hot Dogs = Sizzling Sales

Hot Dog on a Stick opens first kiosk location.

What started as a beach hot dog stand in the 1940s has since grown to more than 100 locations—and now Hot Dog on a Stick has expanded to the kiosk market. The Carlsbad, CA-based company, known for its hot dogs and lemonade, opened its first kiosk at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, CA.

“We’re in a position now that we’re trying new things and the kiosk is part of a push forward to explore new opportunities,” says Laurie Sonia, Hot Dog on a Stick’s executive vice president. “We also opened our first drive-through in Utah recently. We’re always exploring ways to give our customers on-the-go dining experiences.”

The company currently operates mall locations in 12 states and three countries, along with the original Santa Monica beach stand and a strip mall location in Carlsbad. With the exception of a franchise in Dubai, all Hot Dog on a Stick locations are corporately held, and the company is employee-owned.

Kiosk program

The 200-square-foot kiosk at Westfield Fashion Square offers the same menu as Hot Dog on Stick’s traditional mall locations. The kiosk serves the company’s signature Hot Dogs on a Stick and Cheese on a Stick (battered American or spicy Jack cheese with peppers), as well as hot dogs on a bun, french fries, fresh and frozen lemonade and funnel cake sticks. Hot Dogs on a Stick and Cheese on a Stick are dipped in the company’s signature “Party Batter” and cooked in oil. Guests can watch Hot Dog on a Stick’s signature items being cooked at the kiosk, fresh on the spot.

“Our goal is for the customer to have the same experience at the kiosk as at another of our locations. It’s pretty cool to operate in a smaller footprint; it’s harder [for other concepts] to do the full service menu in only 200 square feet.”

Prices change regionally, but on average Hot Dogs on a Stick, Cheese on a Stick, lemonade and funnel cake sticks are $2.85, fries are $2.50 and a Veggie Dog on a Stick is $3.35.

Sonia said the target customer varies greatly. “We get a cross section of anyone that comes to the mall. We’re dependent on the mall traffic and rely on [how busy] the center [is]. We get everyone from moms with strollers to the businessman grabbing a quick lunch.”


Expansion plans

Depending on the success of this first location, opening additional kiosk locations is something that Hot Dog on a Stick plans to pursue. “Right now we’re looking to see how this one performs, but I’m speaking with people in the leasing world about opportunities for our next location. I see this as an opportunity for growth in the future.”

As for other non-kiosk locations, the first domestic franchise is expected to open at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

“Franchising is definitely something we’re exploring,” Sonia says. “We’re testing a few different ideas to get our name out there and see what works and appeals to the customer.”

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Kristin Larson Contino

Kristin Contino is a freelance writer and copy editor based in Philadelphia. She writes for a variety of print publications and blogs, and also covers women's fiction for

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