Nathan's Famous

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Nathan's Famous, Inc.
Russell 2000 component
Founded1916 (107 years ago) (1916) in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
FounderNathan Handwerker
Ida Handwerker
United States
Number of locations
198 (January 2022)
Area served
United States, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates[1]
Key people
Howard M. Lorber
(Executive Chairman)
Eric Gatoff
(Chief Executive Officer)
Wayne Norbitz
(President and Chief Operating Officer)
ProductsHot dogs, hamburgers, cheesesteaks, onion rings, meatball heros, chicken, milkshakes
ServicesFast food restaurants
Retail brand
RevenueIncrease US$103.325 million (FY 2020)[2]
Decrease US$27.172 million (FY 2020)[2]
Decrease US$13.435 million (FY 2020)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$105.282 million (FY 2020)[2]
Total equityDecrease US$-66,401 million (FY 2020)[2]
Number of employees
13,044 (2021)

Nathan's Famous, Inc. is an American company that operates a chain of fast food restaurants specializing in hot dogs. The original Nathan's restaurant stands at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York. The company's headquarters are at One Jericho Plaza in Jericho, New York, part of Oyster Bay, New York.[3]


Crowding customers in 1947

Nathan's began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and bears the name of its co-founder Nathan Handwerker (1892 – 1974),[4][5] who started the business with his wife, Ida Handwerker, née Greenwald.[5][6][7] Ida created the hot dog recipe they used, and Ida's grandmother created the secret spice recipe.[6] Because Nathan's Famous all-beef hot dogs lacked rabbinic supervision and the meat wasn't kosher, Handwerker coined the term "kosher style" because the hot dogs were not made from pork or horsemeat.[8][9]

Handwerker was a Jewish-Polish immigrant who arrived in New York City in 1912[5] and soon found work at the Coney Island, Brooklyn, restaurant Feltman's German Gardens.[10] By one account, he was encouraged by singing waiters Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to go into business in competition with Feltman's; as United Press International noted in 1974, "There are many stories about Nathan and how the business began, but this is the way he told it..."[10] The company's official history does not mention the future stars' encouragement.[6] Nathan and Ida spent their life savings of $300 (worth about $7,000 as of May 2018, accounting for inflation) to begin the business.[5]

Handwerker undercut Feltman's by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging 10 cents.[10] At a time when food regulation was in its infancy and the pedigree of the hot dog particularly suspect, Handwerker ensured that men wearing surgeon's smocks were seen eating at his stand to reassure potential customers.[11] The business proved immensely popular.[12]

The expansion of the chain was overseen by Nathan Handwerker's son, Murray Handwerker.[7][13] A second branch on Long Beach Road in Oceanside, New York, opened in 1959, and another debuted in Yonkers, New York, in 1965. Murray Handwerker was named the president of Nathan's Famous in 1968,[13] the year the company went public.[7]

All locations were sold by the Handwerker family to a group of private investors in 1987,[13] at which point Nathan's was franchised and a great number of establishments were opened around New York City and beyond. In the 1990s, the company acquired Kenny Rogers Roasters and Miami Subs Grill, both of which were later divested.[citation needed]

As of September 2001, the company consisted of 24 company-owned units, 380 franchised or licensed units and more than 1,400 stores[clarification needed] in 50 states, Guam, the District of Columbia, and 17 foreign countries, including Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.[citation needed] One unit was lost due to the collapse of 2 World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks.

International master franchise agreements were signed (circa 2006) with Egypt and Israel.[14] The company also owns the exclusive co-branding rights to the Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips chain.[15]

On March 28, 2017, it was announced that Nathan's Famous had reached a sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball, allowing the company to market itself as the official hot dog brand of the league. While Nathan's is already the official hot dog brand of the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins, and St. Louis Cardinals (the sponsorship does not restrict teams from making similar deals with competitors), the deal marked the first time that Major League Baseball had named an official hot dog sponsor.[16]

Nathan's hotdogs are primarily manufactured by Smithfield Foods,[17] a subsidiary of China's WH Group.

In 2002, Home Depot and Nathan's terminated a co-locating partnership which offered Nathan's space within certain Home Depot stores in New York.[18]

Original location[edit]

As of 2018, the original Nathan's hot dog stand still exists at its original 1916 site.[19][better source needed] Having been open for business every day, 365 days a year, the stand was forced to close on October 29, 2012, due to Hurricane Sandy. The shop re-opened six months later, on May 21,[20][21] despite a small fire on May 4, 2013.[22] Service is provided year-round inside, and during the summer additional walk-up windows are opened to serve the larger seasonal crowds. The original location still features fried frog legs, which have been a Nathan's menu item since the 1950s. It is not offered at any other Nathan's locations. Nathan's also operates a second, smaller location nearby on the Coney Island boardwalk.

Hot dog eating contest[edit]

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held annually at the original location on Coney Island since the early 1970s on the 4th of July.[23] Contestants try to consume as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes. Winners include Takeru Kobayashi (2001–2006), Joey Chestnut (2007–2014, 2016–2022) and Miki Sudo (women's 2014–2018).[24] In 2008, Chestnut tied Kobayashi after eating 59 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. The tie resulted in a five hot dog eat-off, which Chestnut won by consuming all five before Kobayashi.[25] In 2018, Chestnut consumed 74 hot dogs and buns for a new world record.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "International Locations Nathan's Famous Restaurants". Nathan's Famous. Retrieved April 21, 2022. See chart at bottom of page.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Nathan's Famous, Inc. Common Stock (NATH) Financials Nasdaqdate=January 30, 2021". Nasdaq.
  3. ^ "Contact Us" Archived October 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Nathan's Famous. Retrieved December 17, 2011. "Nathan's Famous Executive Offices One Jericho Plaza Second Floor – Wing A Jericho, New York 11753".
  4. ^ Nathan Handwerker at the United States Social Security Death Index via Retrieved on July 24, 2015
  5. ^ a b c d "Handwerker of Nathan's Famous Dies; Turned His Coney Island Hot Dogs Into Food Sought Worldwide". The New York Times. May 25, 1974. Retrieved July 24, 2014. Abstract of subscription article.
  6. ^ a b c "Nathan's Famous History". Nation's Famous official website. Archived from the original on July 7, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Abelson, Reed (May 15, 2011). "Murray Handwerker, 89, Dies; Made Nathan's More Famous". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "Hot Dogs, the Jewish American Fast Food". Tablet Magazine. June 29, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  9. ^ "Hot dogs are the greatest American Jewish food. Here's why". Times of Israel. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "Inventor of Coney Islands Cut Hot Dogs to Five Cent". The Daily Sentinel. Pomeroy-Middleport, Ohio. United Press International. March 25, 1974. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  11. ^ Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A. (1999). Fast Food – Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 163–164. ISBN 978-0-801-86109-3.
  12. ^ Sokolow, Diane. "Nathan's". One for the Table.
  13. ^ a b c Staff (May 22, 2011). "Passings: Murray Handwerker". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  14. ^ [dead link] "Inside Nathan's – Corporate Profile". Retrieved August 10, 2006 Archived August 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Profile: Nathan's Famous Inc (NATH.O)". Reuters. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "After 141 Years, Baseball Finally Chooses an Official Hot Dog". Bloomberg News. March 28, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  17. ^ "Hot dog chain Nathan's Famous will return the $1.2 million it received as a federal small business rescue loan". CNBC. CNBC. April 27, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  18. ^ "Small Business - Home Depot Ends Partnership with Nathan's Famous". September 30, 2002.
  19. ^ Oches, Sam (September 2016). "24 Big Brand Anniversaries". QSR. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  20. ^ Wolff, Craig (May 21, 2016). "Frankfurter fun facts: Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs on Coney Island". Daily News.
  21. ^ Pruitt, Sarah (December 4, 2012). "Historic Hot Dog Stand Shuts Its Doors for the First Time". History. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  22. ^ Weichselbaum, Simone (May 21, 2013). "Nathan's Famous, Destroyed During Sandy, Reopens with Hot Dogs, Fries and a New Clam Bar – Coney Island Is Bouncing Back – Grand Re-Opening Is Thursday". Daily News. New York City. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Roberts, Sam (August 18, 2010). "No, He Did Not Invent the Publicity Stunt". The New York Times.
  24. ^ "Hot Dog Eating Contest Hall of Fame". Nathan's Famous. Archived from the original on September 21, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  25. ^ "Chestnut Beats Kobayashi in OT". Major League Eating & International Federation of Competitive Eating. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  26. ^ "Results from The 2018 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest". Major League Eating & International Federation of Competitive Eating. Retrieved July 12, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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