UFS Caddies

Gourmet Hot dog

The Dog is Hot!… Forget the cheap rubbery hot dog you had as a child, now there’s a new breed on the menu and this one is premuim. Gourmet junk food is a big trend at the moment and hot dogs are the latest craze to jump onboard.

Once considered a menu favourite to feed the kids (and keep the parent’s happy!) now, thanks to American influences sweeping across the pond, it’s Mum and Dad’s turn to feast on this new and improved gourmet treat.

Hot dogs have been transformed to contain herb-flavoured and spicy premium ingredients coupled with delicious and inventive toppings and a variety of rolls.The addition of coleslaw and pickles adds extra elements to what has been a staple snack.

Guy Fielding, of food service analysts NPD Group, says,

“It’s getting restaurant-quality food in a contemporary setting. There’s the visual experience of seeing it cooked fresh, rather than being pre-packaged or microwaved, and it’s affordable and quick. Restaurants have to get the experience right, and push the provenance.”

Why the rise?

The trend in gourmet junk food is thought to be a result of the recession and our need for nostalgia. Simon Anderson, co-founder of Roost which serves high-end fried chicken, says he believes the rise of gourmet junk food
comes from people wanting to eat childhood favourites, but, “cooked really well, using amazing cuts of meat”.

Hot restaurants

Bubbledogs in central London offers the unlikely coupling of gourmet hot dogs and Grower champagnes. Its hot dogs are made from 100% British pork and beef and there’s a vegetarian option. Toppings include BLT, with truffle mayonnaise; José with salsa, avocado and pickled jalepenos and The Reuben, with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and cheese.

“You can put really good stuff in there,” admits owner James Knappett who charges between £6 and £8 for a hot dog. “I took it as a challenge to take a street food with a bad rep and make it taste really good. We thought it would be fun to put something as humble as hot dogs with champagne. Our buns are handmade, we use the best ingredients and no food contains preservatives.” Meanwhile, Primo’s in Leeds and Castleford sells £4.25 gourmet hot dogs made from 96% meat, topped with anything from Monterey Jack cheese and bacon to jalepenos and guacamole. Nick Julian, operations manager, said Primo’s is rebooting junk food for the middle classes:

“We’re taking a product and moving it along in quality, taking it up a notch. There has been a rise in single-dish restaurants as people want something more niche and original than faceless chains.”

Profit potential

Luxury hot dogs provide massive profit potential. Not only are they fast and snappy, which equals high customer turnover, both major components of the dish are relatively low cost: the bun and the sausage. As Natasha Quinn, marketing manager of Kara Foodservice which supplies gourmet hot dog rolls, explains,

“A crucial influence in the development of the gourmet hot dog rolls range is the fact that the carrier for any hot dog generally costs less than 20% of the overall outlay for the dish.”

Share this with friends
Feed Your Eyes

Sign up to receive an electronic version of Take Stock Magazine