Nathan’s Famous is bringing back 5-cent hot dogs to Coney Island just in time for its reopening.
A sign at the flagship store reads: “THROWBACK THURSDAYS. 5¢ HOT DOG. ORIGINAL 1916 PRICE WITH PURCHASE OF ANY REGULARLY-PRICED FOOD ITEM! 5PM—CLOSE,” according to Eater.
The Throwback Thursday special is the first time the nickel promotion has been brought back on a regular basis.
Nathan’s test kitchen sites in Yonkers and Long Island, as well as other franchises throughout the country, tested charging customers for the original price of the wieners, and these locations succeeded in sales, said Phil McCann, senior director of marketing at Nathan’s Famous.
The trials began in 2016, and since then, the locations with the promotion saw an increase in traffic of 50% over the summer and 35% year-round.
However, there are a few guidelines. Every time a customer orders a regularly priced food item, they can pair a 5-cent hot dog with it — but apple pies don’t count as a regularly priced item.
The best part? There’s no limit to how many dogs you can walk away with.
Hot dogs typically cost $4.75 at the Coney Island location.
“Thursday foot traffic got well ahead of even a Saturday or Friday night. We figured Coney is Coney, but times are changing. Why not get this going at Coney as well?” McCann told Eater.
McCann also hinted that the hot dog menu is expected to evolve this year, with new dogs coming as soon as the next few weeks.
Recently, Nathan’s tested out an “Impossible” burger in a renewed menu which included new cheesesteaks, a New York “Attitude” burger, a spicy Hell’s Kitchen burger and a Tribeca burger.
The promotion comes as Coney Island is reopening and as the New York restaurant scene is struggling amid COVID-19.
Hot dog sales have increased during the pandemic, so the promotion is good news to the industry.
“In the first month of the pandemic, hot dog sales were up 125% over 2019 and then leveled off throughout the rest of the year but stayed about 20% higher than 2019 across 2020 as a whole,” said Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. “In March 2021, sales were still up 11.5% over March 2019.”
Mittenthal believes this increase of sales is due to a sense of nostalgia.
Coney Island reopened to visitors on April 9. The Coney Island shop has no plans to end the 5-cent hot dog promotion.