One year after sending shockwaves through the restaurant industry by making Fast Casual’s prestigious annual Top 100 Movers & Shakers list, JJ’s Red Hots is still moving and shaking … and climbing.
The Charlotte-based premium hot dog and sausage brand was honored recently for the second year in a row by Fast Casual as one of the year’s Top 75 restaurants, finishing #36 in the publication’s 2015 Top 100 Movers & Shakers list, up 7 spots from the prior year.
And also for the second year running, JJ’s Red Hots, with 2 restaurants in Charlotte – Dilworth and Ballantyne-, was the smallest brand on the list for number of units, the only Charlotte-based brand and the only Hot Dog/Sausage concept to make the list.
The company’s “12 Days of Hot Dogs” holiday promotion, where it challenged fans to submit creative Hot Dog recipes, then pitted those creations against each other, made #8 on the publication’s “Top 10 Marketing Campaigns” rankings.
Fast Casual cited an innovative menu, as well as attention to detail and quality, as factors that helped JJ’s Red Hots stand out among the more than 900 nominees. JJ’s was also recognized for creative promotions including co-creating a gourmet popsicle with King of Pops, and developing Hot Dogs based on Super Bowl standouts in time for the big game. JJ’s inventive and enthusiastic customer engagement was firmly in the spotlight as well.
“We’re taking care of our customers, trying to have a little fun and be innovative in our business. It is very humbling to be honored in this fashion.” said owner and founder Jonathan Luther, who recently accepted the award at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago with Controller and Partner Melissa Luther and JJ’s director of marketing and brand development Brandy Newton. “We are thrilled to be recognized as a world-class brand and we are ready for the right growth.”
Newton, the brainchild behind the “12 Days” campaign and who oversees all promotional activities for the brand, added, “While we always have fun, we still strive to deliver on the quality, service and the value brand promise upon which we were founded.”
“The idea behind our Movers and Shakers list is to recognize brands that are going beyond simply generating positive sales and unit growth,” said Cherryh Butler, managing editor of FastCasual.com. “The process has a bit more subjectivity to it — to identify brands that are taking big risks and making fundamental changes that could dramatically shake up the fast casual status quo.”
JJ’s Red Hots is the premier purveyor of “hand-crafted” char-grilled hot dogs and sausages in the Charlotte metropolitan area and the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. The restaurant concept is built on solid, hardworking values and is modeled after venerable establishments like Ted’s in Buffalo, NY, Gene and Jude’s in Chicago, and many others. Still, JJ’s is a true American original featuring house-made, scratch prepared sides and toppings served alongside time tested, revered American brands like Tabasco, Weber’s Mustard, Martin’s Rolls, Coca-Cola and Mt. Olive Pickles. Perhaps most proudly, JJ’s Red Hots serves smokehouse hot dogs from Sahlen’s Meat Packing Company in Buffalo, NY. Sahlen’s is a 143 year-old company that remains family owned and operated, and makes, in our opinion, the best hot dogs in the world.