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Hot Dog Franchise Opportunities: Hot Dog on a Stick vs. Dog Haus vs. Nathan’s

One of America’s favorite foods – the hot dog. A favorite among baseball parks. Even the dachshund is lovingly referred to as a “hot dog.” While popular, do hot dogs make a good business? There are many hot dog franchise opportunities available. Compare your options, like Hot Dog on a Stick, Dog Haus, and Nathan’s Hot Dog franchise and learn what your next best investment is.

Below we give you a quick snapshot of the brands side-by-side:

Brand Name Hot Dog on a Stick Dog Haus Nathan’s Gold Star
Initial Investment Range $349,200 – $582,000 $306,248 – $1,090,187 $326,050 – $1,170,360 $496,000 – $1,003,500
Initial Franchise Fee $25,000 $40,000 $30,000 $30,000
Net Worth Requirement $250,000 $500,000 $1,000,000 $750,000
Liquid Capital Requirement $100,000 $200,000 $500,000 $125,000
Royalty Fee 6% 6% 5.5% 5%
Ad Royalty Fee 2% 2% 2% 4%


Founded in 1946, Hot Dog on a Stick has been franchising since 1997 and has 75 units across the United States. Serving mainly hot dogs and cheese dogs dipped in cornbread batter and fried, Hot Dog on a Stick does offer different types of hot dogs – ranging from turkey, to beef, to veggie. Their “Cheese on a Stick” can be made with American or Pepper Jack cheese. The franchise also offers fries, hand-stomped lemonade, and funnel cake sticks.

To own a Hot Dog on a Stick franchise, investors are required to have a net worth of $250,000 with $100,000 in liquid assets. The initial startup costs to open a location range between $349,200 and $582,000. While these costs put Hot Dog on a Stick at the lower end of the QSR franchise cost spectrum, the limited number of menu items does not allow for a lot of diversification. This can make it difficult for franchisees to capitalize on multiple streams of revenue.


Getting its start in Pasadena, California in 2010, the brand began franchising in 2013. The brand now has 53 locations across the country with more in development. With a more robust menu than Hot Dog on a Stick, Dog Haus offers hot dogs, sausages, burgers, sliders, chicken sandwiches, and more. The franchise also has a full menu of sides, a kids menu, craft beer, and ice cream.

With a more diversified menu, franchisees are able to attract a wider audience of customers to bring them to their location. To open a Dog Haus franchise, franchise candidates should have a net worth of $500,000 with $200,000 in liquid cash. The initial startup costs to open a Dog Haus location range between $306,248 and $1,090,187. Having previous franchise or restaurant experience is preferred by the brand along with business or leadership experience.


The oldest brand of our list, Nathan’s was founded in 1916, but didn’t start franchising until 1988. With 194 locations across the country, the brand is the largest of the hot dog franchises. Similar to Dog Haus, Nathan’s offers a variety of menu items including hot dogs, burgers, cheesesteaks, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, and breakfast, in addition to a vegetarian menu.

The cost to open a Nathan’s hot dog franchise is on the higher end of the other hot dog franchise opportunities coming in at $326,050 – $1,170,360. Franchise candidates should have a net worth of $1,000,000 with $500,000 in cash. The brand offers three different franchise packages, allowing for all levels of entrepreneurship to invest in a location.


Among the hot dog franchise opportunities is Gold Star, a household name in Cincinnati. Founded in 1963, the brand began franchising in 1966 – the longest of the rest of brands. Gold Star is an established hot dog and coney franchise seeking to expand its footprint across the United States. Similar to Dog Haus and Nathan’s, the brand boasts a large menu to attract a wide customer base. Offering coneys, burgers, sandwiches, chicken, salads, burritos (or as the brand refers to them: goritos), and a full vegetarian menu, Gold Star goes above and beyond to have something for everyone. Having recently pulled out some of the old menu classics, Gold Star wanted to eliminate the “chili veto” that can happen among groups of people looking to dine out.

The menu at Gold Star is what makes them standout from the rest of the hot dog franchise competition. Having items like sandwiches, salads, and goritos, in addition to burgers, hot dogs, and chicken, gives customers more variety when ordering their meals. Not to mention, that more options entice people to return to taste different menu items.

To open a Gold Star franchise location, the initial startup costs range between $496,000 and $1,003,500 – putting them right in line with the rest of the hot dog franchise opportunities. The brand does offer two options of buildout, either an inline location or standalone. Having multiple building options allows franchise candidates to cater their new business to what their budget can allow.


If you’re ready to get started with a family run and family-friendly restaurant franchise, fill out the form on our website and one of our representatives will be in touch.