What does $1 get you nowadays? Well, Thursday, it got you a regular hot dog at Ted’s Hot Dogs.
Ted’s discounted regular dogs from $2.89 as part of its first customer appreciation day. And customers certainly appreciated it.
Ted’s locations across the region were mobbed Thursday, with many customers ordering hot dogs in multiples of 10. Customers were waiting outside before doors opened at 10:30 a.m. Lines were out the door by 11 a.m.
Most patrons ordered takeout, many of them bringing large orders back to their jobs to be shared with co-workers. At least one customer called ahead to place an order of 150 hot dogs.
At the Chippewa Street location, about 75 people waited patiently Thursday afternoon. One man walked in, saw the line and walked back out again, but plenty of others cheerfully stayed put. The line started in the rear near the bathrooms, snaked around both sides of the center counter island and ended in two separate clusters by the front windows.
The atmosphere was festive. Customers joked among themselves, posed for selfies and captured photos and videos of the crowd to share on social media.
To keep traffic moving smoothly, an employee with an iPad took orders before customers reached the counter.
It took Weldon Jones 25 minutes to reach the front of the line, where he wrestled with nine orders from co-workers back at his office.
“They managed this really well. I was expecting bloodshed,” Jones joked.
Ted’s expected crowds similar to the ones it got for its National Hot Dog Day 50-percent-off sale, when it sold 15,000 hot dogs. By the afternoon, it had already beaten those numbers, with several hours to go until closing time, according to CEO Joe Drust.
All hands were on deck to handle the influx. Drust himself loaded hot dogs on the grill and folded takeout boxes.
Summer is usually Ted’s busiest season, and February is a slow month for retail and restaurants across the board, so Thursday’s sales were a boon. Customers didn’t load up on as many extra onion rings and fries as Drust expected, but that wasn’t the point, he said.
“We’ve been wanting to do something to give back,” he said. “It’s the middle of winter, people are sick of looking at gray skies. We gotta remind them that summer is around the corner.”