Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog franchise, announced the promotion of J.R. Galardi, the 27-year-old son of late company founder John Galardi, to the role of executive vice president. Galardi most recently held the role of director of administration, but began his career with the family business at the age of 13, when he manned the fry station and drive-thru during his summer breaks. As executive vice president, Galardi will support a wide scope of brand initiatives for Galardi Group (GGI), parent company of Wienerschnitzel, Hamburger Stand and Tastee Freez, including marketing, operations, development and community relations.
Since joining GGI’s corporate team in 2013, Galardi has made it his mission to propel the 55-year-old brand into the modern era, all while maintaining his father’s vision for the company. “I feel blessed to have grown up with Wienerschnitzel, and am proud to carry on my father’s legacy,” says Galardi. “My goal is to fortify Wienerschnitzel’s future by building on our success and capturing the attention of the next generation of hot dog lovers. My father believed that food should be fun and wasn’t afraid to do things differently; it’s this mentality that has enabled the brand to thrive and will continue to drive us forward.”
Galardi works side-by-side with his mother, Cindy Galardi Culpepper, who assumed the role of CEO in 2013. Together, the two are breathing new life into the iconic brand while upping the company’s commitment to giving back in support of the brand’s new mission “serving food to serve others.”
“Not only is J.R.’s passion inspiring, but I continue to be impressed by his strategic thinking, hard work ethic and unwavering commitment to grow the brand,” says Doug Koegeboehn, Wienerschnitzel’s chief marketing officer. “It was his idea to operate Wienerschnitzel like a start-up company, an approach that has changed the way we think about marketing, operations, menu innovation and more; and he has been instrumental in revitalizing company culture from the top down.”
In 2014, Galardi spearheaded the development of the Visionary Department, a forward-thinking marketing division dedicated to building brand loyalty among a younger audience. Through digital marketing, event sponsorships, philanthropic efforts and strategic partnerships, including teaming up with Toyota, Monster Energy Supercross, and professional motocross team Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross, Galardi and the Visionary Department are tapping into millennial interests and building an organic presence where their fans are. Galardi’s new role as EVP will allow him to apply his creativity and progressive style to an extended set of brand touchpoints, such as elevating the in-restaurant experience.
Galardi says, “I am committed to using the platform I’ve been blessed with to make the world a better place, starting with our guests and supporting the causes that are most important to them. Wienerschnitzel has an incredibly loyal and hard-working team in its corner, and we are all excited for the future as we continue to spread the hot dog love with new fans around the country.”