Nathan’s Famous, the original American hot dog that began on Coney Island and now sells hot dogs and other products throughout the nation and around the world, celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2016.

Nathan’s Famous was founded in 1916 by Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker, who borrowed $300 to open his hot dog stand at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Nathan’s flagship restaurant still operates in the same location, but the global, publicly traded company now sells more than 500 million hot dogs per year.

Nathan’s Famous products are currently sold in more than 53,000 retail and foodservice locations, and are available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands, and in ten foreign countries. In recent years, Nathan’s packaged hot dogs have achieved a leadership position in retail.

Nathan’s Famous now operates in arenas and stadiums (Yankees, Barclays Center, MetLife Stadium, Dallas Cowboys’ ATT Stadium), Regal Theaters, Cinemax Theaters, racetracks and convention centers, colleges and universities, travel plazas, amusement parks, casinos and hotels. In foodservice, Nathan’s available prototypes include carts, kiosks, counter modular unites, as well as small and large restaurants. Nathan’s outlets have the ability to sell a limited menu of products or a full variety menu. The size of the outlet is determined by the real estate and marketing opportunity at hand.

Nathan’s has grown by marketing its brand and implementing a multi-faceted points-of-distribution strategy, in addition to growing its restaurant system. A unique approach in foodservice, Nathan’s enables others to sell its signature hot dogs as a branded product. Nathan’s Famous hot dogs are an integral part of the New York City experience and the American experience, and the cultural significance of the brand has helped it to expand throughout the United States and around the world.

Nathan’s annual hot dog eating contest, arguably America’s leading publicity event, is said to have begun in 1916 and is now broadcast live on ESPN. The contest has been telecast on the network every July Fourth since 2004 and enjoys strong ratings with well more than one million households tuning in each Independence Day. In addition to the ESPN broadcast, the contest attracts some 30,000 fans to Coney Island and generates nearly one billion consumer impressions via earned media each year.

Source: Nathan's Famous