I was invited to Hot Dog University by Mark Reitman, PHD (Professor of Hot Dogs) to proctor the classes and get an honorary “Hot Dogtorate” degree. Professor Reitman is a Hot Dog Stories fan and he wanted to meet and showcase his educational institution, which is located at the Vienna Beef plant in Chicago.
Hot Dog University Background
Professor Reitman is a retired teacher and guidance counselor who served his first hot dog at the age of 8 in his dad’s drugstore. He always dreamed of opening his own hot dog stand and he kept a finger on the pulse of the hot dog business working part-time in his friends’ shops while he continued his teaching career.
As he reached retirement, he re-kindled his dream of opening his own stand, but his wife wanted to enjoy his retirement with him, so they compromised and got a hot dog cart. The couple worked various events over the years and they were quite successful, but Mark decided to combine his love and knowledge of hot dogs with his professional skills as an educator; that’s how Hot Dog University got its start.
Professor Reitman initially started as an independent University, teaching would-be hot dog entrepreneurs the ins and outs of running a successful Chicago hot dog business. Vienna Beef got wind of his educational success and decided to bring him “in-house,” thus giving Hot Dog University a permanent campus.
The professor runs separate classes teaching how to run a hot dog stand (brick and mortar) and a hot dog cart. Each business model has its special methodologies, but the unifying product is the Chicago style hot dog. To date, he’s trained hundreds of hot dogtrepreneurs.
Each class includes rigorous classroom instruction, field work on a hot dog cart and in the Vienna Beef Factory Store, a tour of the Vienna Beef Plant, visits to local suppliers and hot dog stands, and much more. Graduates are endowed with an “M.D.” (Meat Doctorate) upon graduation. They leave Hot Dog University with all the skills and know-how to run their own business. The best part is, the tuition is credited back to students in food and promotional products, so it’s really “free.”
When students leave the hallowed halls of Hot Dog University, they are equipped to open a Vienna Beef Stand ANYWHERE in the world. I’ve eaten Chicago Dogs all over the country and it’s a consistently delicious product. Training at HDU and opening such a stand is like getting a franchise, without all the BS of getting a franchise!
If you’d like more information about how YOU can attend Hot Dog University, check out the website and tell Professor Reitman “the Hotdogman sent me!”
In the mean time, enjoy the video (partially narrated in my best “film strip guy” voice)!