In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn about Dat Dog from its President and COO, Bill DiPaola.
Franchise Chatter (FC): How did Dat Dog get its start?
Bill DiPaola (BD): New Orleans has always been known for its excellent cuisine, but a lot of the restaurants are on the fine-dining end. Our founder, Constantine Georges, wanted to open a restaurant that was casual, funky, and unique—while still maintaining the quality of food people expect from a New Orleans restaurant.
We’ve built a restaurant that’s centered on its community, taking care of our staff, and providing affordable, delicious dogs that you can’t get anywhere else.
FC: What makes Dat Dog unique in the fast casual space?
BD: At Dat Dog, we march to the beat of our own drum. We combine funky toppings (blackberry sauce, crawfish etouffee, sriracha mayo) with unique dogs and sausages, from traditional beef to alligator, duck, vegan, and vegetarian sausages. We also have burgers, chicken, and fish, all served on our steamed and grilled hot dog buns.
We have a full bar, which sets us apart from a lot of other fast casual restaurants, and we regularly host community events like art markets, fundraisers, and parties.
FC: Tell us about your current locations.
BD: We currently have four locations, all in the Greater New Orleans region—one close to two universities on Freret Street, one Uptown on Magazine Street, one near the French Quarter on Frenchmen Street, and one at the Lakeside Mall.
We’re also opening a corporate-owned restaurant in Lafayette, La., this spring.
FC: How and why did you decide to franchise?
BD: With Dat Dog, we’ve found a model that not only is successful with customers, but also is successful in terms of our community impact. Frankly, we think Dat Dog can fill a void in the fast casual market in cities across the country while providing a great service to the community through fundraisers, free family activities, events, and more.
FC: What areas are you targeting for expansion?
BD: We’re actively looking to franchise in the Gulf South—from Texas to Florida and up to Tennessee. But we know the Dat Dog concept will work in cities across the U.S., and we look forward to discussing other areas for development.
FC: What qualities in franchisees do you hope to attract?
BD: Our team is tight-knit, entrenched in the community, and committed to making Dat Dog successful. We believe in fostering an environment of diversity, authenticity, respect, and happiness, and embracing and serving the communities in which we reside. We’re looking for franchisees who mimic those core values and have their finger on the pulse of their community.
FC: Why do you think Dat Dog as a concept will be successful on a regional and national level?
BD: Hot dogs are one of America’s favorite foods. We’ve elevated the dog, using unique proteins and house recipes for sausages, in addition to burgers, chicken, and fish—all grilled to perfection on our steamed and toasted buns.
We truly believe a fun, quirky, upscale hot dog concept like Dat Dog will be replicable—and loved—in communities across the country.
FC: How much does it cost to open a Dat Dog, and what are the requirements?
BD: The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Dat Dog franchise is between $475,405 to $927,675 (not including real property), including $45,000 to $55,000 that must be paid to us or our affiliate.
We’re looking for franchisees who fit within our culture to help expand across the Gulf South region and beyond.
Find out more at DatDog.com/Franchise.