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DALLAS -- Tomorrow is National Hot Dog Day -- a fact not lost on 7-Eleven Inc., North America's No. 1 retailer of fresh-grilled hot dogs sold under the Big Bite brand. 7-Eleven sells approximately 100 million hot dogs and sausages each year at its North American stores.
"Big Bite hot dogs are our top-selling prepared food item," said Kathy Humphries, 7-Eleven's category manager for grill. "Customers can choose from a variety of sizes, flavors and condiments. Grill items are a popular lunch choice because they're quick, portable and a great value. We grill it; you fix it and are on your way."
7-Eleven stores typically carry six to 10 condiments and can select, based on customer preference, from toppings like chili, cheese, relish, chopped onion, sauerkraut, picante sauce, pico de gallo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, Italian peppers, jalapeno peppers, Vidalia onion relish, mustard, catsup, brown mustard and mayonnaise. A selection of packaged condiments is available in the store as well. All fresh toppings at the condiment bar are free with the purchase of any hot dog or grill product at the convenience retail outlets.
Condiments chosen by hot-dog lovers to top their dogs vary across the country. Mustard ranks first with 71 percent of purchasers adding it. While the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council says in its Hot Dog Etiquette rules that nobody older than 18 should use ketchup on their hot dogs, two-thirds of 7-Eleven customers do so. Roughly half prefer chili dogs to the purist's version; and about 40 percent opt for melted cheese, according to the c-store chain.
After that, regional tastes seem to dictate topping preferences. Sauerkraut is popular in the Northeast, while Floridians prefer Vidalia onion relish, and Texans, pico de gallo. Chicagoland 7-Eleven stores carry all the fixings to make a true Chicago dog -- electric green relish, sport peppers and celery salt. Those in the Central U.S. like chopped onions, but hold the relish.
7-Eleven stores across the country have sold hot dogs since the early 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1988 that 7-Eleven introduced its branded Big Bite and 1/4-lb. Big Bite grilled hot dogs. Oscar Mayer created a special spice formulation and new larger sizes for the all-beef hot dogs available only at 7-Eleven. All hot dog and sausages sold at 7-Eleven stores are provided by Oscar Mayer.
While the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council designates the entire month of July as National Hot Dog Month, the organization calls out July 18th as National Hot Dog Day and, in celebration, feeds Congressional personnel a free lunch on the grounds of the Capitol building.
Washington, D.C. and the Chesapeake area rank as 7-Eleven's top market in hot dog and sausage sales, a statistic that has held fast for many years, the company said.
7 Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 7,200 7-Eleven stores in North America.