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Ask Uncle John Anything: Hot Dog!

May 19, 2014

Uncle John knows pretty much everything—and if he doesn’t, he heads his massive research library, or puts one of his many associates on the case. So go ahead: In the comments below, ask Uncle John anything. (And if we answer your question sometime, we’ll send you a free book!) This week’s question comes from reader Pat B., , who asks…

Why don’t McDonald’s and Burger King sell hot dogs?

Hot Dog_DSMemorial Day is almost here, and with it comes summer, and with that comes grilling season. It’s one of the unofficial “big three” barbecuing holidays of the summer, along with Independence Day and Labor Day. Nothing tastes better than a fire-grilled hot dog eaten in the warm sun. And maybe those summer weenie roasts are all the better because hot dogs are a special treat—you can find them ominously rotating for hours on end at a convenience store, or at a Nathan’s if you live on the East Coast, but other than that, hot dogs are conspicuously absent from the American burger-centric fast-food landscape.

It hasn’t always been that way.

Ray Kroc didn’t start McDonald’s—he was a milkshake machine salesman who guided the company into the lucrative field of franchising the burger stand. In his 1977 memoir, Kroc wrote of his disgust and displeasure for selling hot dogs. “There’s no telling what’s inside a hot dog’s skin, and our standard of quality just won’t permit that kind of item.” Result: no “McHotDog.” Except there’s at least one McDonald’s outlet that does sell the McHotDog: the one inside of the SkyDome in Toronto, where the Blue Jays play.

Hot dogs used to be a regular menu item at Burger King, in the 1970s and 1980s. They stopped selling them in the late ‘80s because sales weren’t good.

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Tony Hale
May 19, 2014 4:20 pm

I thought it was because people would be embarrassed to order a McWeaner… and even more embarrassed to ask to have it supersized

shane heath
shane heath
May 19, 2014 4:32 pm

I just figured it was because hot dogs are usually associated with low standards/cheapness, which in a way is why Ray Croc didn’t sell them.

Couldn’t have been any worse than the Hula burger though xD

John Guest
John Guest
May 19, 2014 7:44 pm

No longer inside the SkyDome, now called Rogers Centre in Toronto. They still sell hot dogs but McDonalds no longer run the concession stands, much to the delight of many baseball fans in Toronto.

Big Daddy Matty
Big Daddy Matty
May 19, 2014 10:09 pm

When I lived in Japan, the hot dog (“frank burger”) was a regular McDonald’s item…on the breakfast menu.

Jonathan
Jonathan
May 20, 2014 12:17 am

I would’ve faintly remembered a BK hot dog as I grew up in the 80s.

Sylvia
May 20, 2014 10:27 am

I still LOVE a good quality hot dog. Bring em’ on!

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