Emerging Concepts | December 2013 | By Daniel P. Smith

Standout Store: Dogmatic

New York City concept offers handcrafted hot dogs made with sustainably raised meat.

New York quick service concept Dogmatic offers premium hot dog menu items.
Dogmatic sausages are made from sustainable, farm-raised meat. dogmatic
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Handcrafted, grilled-to-order, European-style hot dogs highlight the ambitious menu at New York City’s Dogmatic. Fresh-baked bread carries sausages that are made from sustainable, farm-raised meat and are topped with homemade gourmet sauces such as Cheddar Jalapeño and Chimichurri. One food critic called Dogmatic’s $5.65 signature item “a far more sophisticated pig in a blanket, and much more delicious.”

The eatery also features a grass-fed beef burger, air-baked Yukon Gold waffle fries, gourmet Mac & Cheese made with Truffle Gruyere, and handmade sodas produced from fruit purees, herbs, and spices.

“Innovation is a key aspect of everything we’re doing,” says Dogmatic owner Brad Blum, one-time chief executive at Burger King. Blum discusses Dogmatic’s entrepreneurial journey.

How did Dogmatic come to be?

Dogmatic began in 2006 as a seasonal food cart in [New York’s] Bleecker Street Park and was based on a European concept. A colleague introduced it to me in 2007, and my immediate intuition was that it could be developed into a great brand. We bought the concept and opened our first brick-and-mortar restaurant in October 2008. We’ve worked hard to build a brand that people can fall in love with.

Besides the hot dog, what are Dogmatic’s other key points of differentiation?

Our slogan is “Naturally Good Fast Food.” It’s good tasting and good for you because we focus on sustainable, all-natural, artisan ingredients that contain no hormones, antibiotics, nitrates, or preservatives. Our first principle is that our taste sets us apart, and that’s our top priority.

You’re no stranger to multiunit concepts, so why was there only one Dogmatic store until recently?

Yes, five years would seem like a reasonable length of time to open additional units, but we went through numerous iterations to prove what we had. The good news is that our business has almost doubled in sales since the opening year and we have the financial model working the way we want. It was 100 percent my decision to wait and refine the concept, but now we’re entering growth mode in a thoughtful way.

And what is that growth mode?

Besides returning to the West Village [with our new restaurant this past fall], we’re looking for additional spots in New York City, and we just signed two leases in Florida: one in downtown Winter Park and another at Mills Park in north Orlando. We’ve also had active conversations with a major U.S. company to put Dogmatic into airports. We think nontraditional units like airports and college campuses present some real opportunities for the brand.