Why don't the major fast food chains serve hot dogs?

In summertime, at picnics or barbecues, it’s almost taken for granted that there will be hot dogs and hamburgers (at least in my locale). They seem to just go together. Why, then, do all the major fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s) serve hamburgers but not hot dogs? It just seems like a natural combination to me. I’ve certainly seen plenty of local mom-n-pop places that serve both, but not the chains. Since McDonald’s et al seem to always want to expand their offerings (chili, premium salads, etc.) it seems funny to me that they are missing an apparently obvious menu item. Any thoughts?

Why should they? It would double their inventory, double their menu, double their problems, and increase their profit margin not one bit. Believe me, they’ve studied this stuff down to the micron. If they could make more money selling hot dogs, they would. It’s just more profitable all around to leave the wieners to Wienerschnitzel and the street vendors. Plus, I’m willing to bet that there aren’t that many people who want a dog in the dead of winter.

Sonic serves hot dogs.

Hot dogs are street-stand and carnaval food, not restaurant food.

Fast food restaurants place themselves as a cheaper, faster, more convient alternative to a sit-down restaurant (more specifically, an modern and hygienic version of the old-fashioned lunch counter), not a pricier, slower, less convenient alternative to a street stall.

They rely on the fiction that they are providing something that can be reasonably called a real meal. They need people who would never dream of taking their kids to a hot stand and calling it “dinner” to feel fine taking their kids out there. So image is important. Look at how aggressively they push their premium products- the six dollar burger, the Angus deluxe, McCafe. Even if they do not make tons of money on those specific products, the impact is still that you start thinking of it as something equivalent to a restaurant. Throwing something as decidedly low-rent as hotdogs into the mix would undo some of that.

Local fast food places certainly do - that’s all I go to Rush’s for (slaw dog basket and a root beer, please.) Good question - perhaps crappy hot dogs are more expensive than crappy hamburgers?

I remember about 3 decades ago, give or take, there was an attempt at a fast food hot dog chain. Weiner King was the name I believe. It didn’t last long.

I like Ikea’s 50-cent hot dogs.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a hot dog at a fast food place, since they take no effort to make at home. For some reason, they always taste better outside.

Hardee’s has hot dogs, although in my experience working there, they were not often ordered

Yeah, I think that’s a big reason. I can go to my fridge right now, pop a hot dog in the microwave, and be eating by the time I would probably be paying at McDs. And for cheaper too. Now I might get a hot dog at a baseball game because of the atmosphere, or go to a place like Hot Doug’s because of the quality. But I wouldn’t get one at a fast food place.

Der Wienerschnitzel is a pretty common chain around Calfornia. Never ate there, but I would if there was one conveniently located.


Sonic serves hot dogs, Checkers has them, A&W, Dog n’ Suds, Dairy Queen. I think McDonalds, Burger King & Wendys are the only ones that I’ve never seen hot dogs at.

Around here McDonalds serves Bratwurst every now and again. Is that just local or do they do that nationwide?

I’d buy a hotdog from a place that specialized in hotdogs, but I don’t think I’d ever get a hot dog from McDonald’s, for instance. By the time McDonald’s was finished McDonalds-izing it, it just could not be good.

Five Guys has them, by the way.

In Boston there is a fast-food chain that specailizes in high-quality hotdogs. Spike’s it’s called.

Mmmm…now I want one.

Carl’s Jr started as a hot dog stand. They sold them again for a short period in 2009.
The Carl’s Jr. Story


Steak N’Shake restaurants serve all-beef franks that they bill as “Steak Franks.”

I think what it comes down to is that there’s not a lot of value added in the idea of purchasing a hot dog from a fast food joint, relative to a hamburger.

Cooking a hamburger at home requires, at the very least, pattying some ground beef and frying it for 10 minutes or so, whereas boiling a wiener and tossing it on a bun requires comparative little effort.

Wait, am I just not getting something? They’re called Wienerschnitzel, but they don’t appear to serve any Schnitzel at all? :confused:

I may be off my nut, but I’m certain there was at least one Wienerschnitzel in Cleveland in the early '90s.