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Hot Dog Equipment Buying Guide

Offering customers a hot, delicious hot dog on a summer's day is an easy way to boost impulse sales at your concession stand, convenience store, or stadium. With a hot dog roller grill or hot dog steamer you can do just that! However, it's important to know which piece of hot dog equipment is right to get the job done. With the help of this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these highly profitable units, so that you can invest in the grill or steamer that is best suited for your needs.

What Are the Different Types of Hot Dog Equipment?

Hot dog roller grills, hot dog steamers, and hot dog merchandisers are three of the most common pieces of equipment used for cooking hot dogs. Hot dog roller grills have motorized wheels and can cook hot dogs quickly and evenly. Steamers can hold hot dogs and hot dog buns for extended periods of time without drying them out. Merchandisers provide everything you need to sell hot dogs in a compact, mobile unit. The piece of hot dog equipment that is right for your establishment will depend on factors such as how many customers are being served and the available space in your establishment.

Hot Dog Roller Grills Overview

A commercial hot dog roller grill has heated, motorized wheels that rotate hot dogs while cooking them. By rolling hot dogs during cooking these grills ensure hot dogs are cooked evenly. Roller grills can be used for cooking bratwurst, breakfast sausages, and egg rolls too!

Hot dog roller grills are available in many different capacity sizes. Smaller capacity grills are perfect for convenience stores and concession stands whereas high capacity roller grills are better for large commercial establishments with fast turnover. Larger capacity grills often have multiple cooking zones to allow for an area for cooking and another for holding hot dogs.
Expert Tip


How do I cook hot dogs on a roller grill? First, allow the grill to preheat per manufacturers instructions. Then, place hot dogs on the roller grill and allow them cook until they reach at least 145 degrees internal temperature. After cooking, hot dogs can be served immediately or held in a warmer drawer.

Types of Hot Dog Roller Grills

Type Uses and Features
Flat-Top Roller Grill
Flat-Top Roller Grill
  • Flat-top grills are primarily used for back-of-the-house cooking.
  • Some models feature a nonstick roller surface for easy cleaning.
  • Select models contain two temperature dials so you can set the front rollers for cooking and the back for holding.
  • Flat-top grills often have removable drip trays for easy clean up.
  • Different size capacities are available for a wide range of applications.
  • Slanted-Top Roller Grill
    Slanted-Top Roller Grill
  • Slanted-top grills are perfect for front-of-house display.
  • The slanted design shows off your hot dogs and increases impulse sales.
  • The design also makes it easier for customers to serve themselves.
  • Certain models of the slanted-top grill contain multiple temperature dials.
  • Some models have a removable drip tray for easy clean up.
  • Different size capacities are available for a wide range of applications.
  • Roller Grill with Bun Holder
    Roller Grill with Bun Holder
  • Features a roller grill with an unheated drawer for storing buns underneath it.
  • A roller grill with bun holder is great for self-serve establishments.
  • Available in both flat-top and slanted-top grills.
  • Different size capacities are available for a wide range of applications.
  • Roller Grill with Bun Warmer
    Roller Grill with Bun Warmer
  • Features a roller grill with a heated drawer for storing buns underneath.
  • A roller grill with bun warmer is great for use in a self-serve establishment.
  • Available in both flat-top and slanted-top grills.
  • Different size capacities are available for a wide range of applications.
  • Hot Dog Roller Capacity Usage
    10 - 18 Hot Dogs
    10 - 18 Hot Dog Capacity
  • 10 - 18 capacity hot dog rollers are used in small convenience store settings for customers looking for an on-the-go bite.
  • Their small size is perfect for establishments with limited counter space.
  • 20 - 27 Hot Dogs
    20 - 27 Hot Dog Capacity
  • 20 - 27 capacity rollers are the perfect for concession stands and convenience stores.
  • Their compact size is good for establishments with limited counter space.
  • 30 - 45 Hot Dogs
    30 - 45 Hot Dog Capacity
  • 30 - 45 capacity rollers are good for larger concession or commercial-type settings.
  • Their larger size is good for larger establishments.
  • 50 - 75 Hot Dogs
    50 - 75 Hot Dog Capacity
  • 50 - 75 capacity rollers are perfect for stadiums and large commercial operations.
  • Their large capacity is best used for venues with high volume turnaround.
  • Type Uses and Features
  • Standard style hot dog steamers warm up water to heat your buns and cook hot dogs all in one compact place.
  • This steamer is best suited for concession stands and restaurants.
  • Hot dogs can sit for extended periods of time and the steam will keep them plump and juicy.
  • Available with either vertical compartments or in a horizontal double-decker style.
  • Units with decals are typically used for front of house or at the point of sale.
  • Food warmer hot dog steamers are better suited for high-volume businesses like stadiums.
  • This steamer is larger and takes up more counter space than other types of steamers.
  • Hot dogs can sit for extended periods of time and the steam will keep them plump and juicy.
  • Food warmer hot dog steamers offer a convenient and effective way for a large quantity of buns and dogs to be heated.
  • Many food warmer style steamers have a steam well for keeping onions, sauce or other toppings hot.
  • European style hot dog steamers are perfect for serving customers in style.
  • Can only hold and heat a few hot dogs and buns at one time.
  • The steamer spikes create pockets in the bun which can be filled with condiments that will be dispensed around the hot dog.
  • Hot Dog Merchandisers

    Complete with graphics and illumination, hot dog merchandisers catch customers' eyes quickly. Merchandisers have insulated glass, stainless steel food pans, and wheels to offer everything you’ll need to easily sell hot dogs in a compact, mobile unit. Merchandisers come with common NEMA-plug and voltage requirements to make it easy to find power sources while on the go.

    With a merchandiser, hot dogs are put on display through the insulated glass while buns stay warm in the storage tray below. Additionally, the adjustable thermostats and on/off switches give the operator complete control over the cooking and storage environments. Merchandisers not only ensure hot dogs are evenly cooked, they show off the perfectly browned franks effortlessly.

    Shop Hot Dog Merchandisers

    Hot Dog Bun Warmers and Cabinets

    APW Wyott BWD-50 Dry Hot Dog Bun Warmer for HR-50 Series Hot Dog Roller Grills - Holds 40 Buns, 208V

    Whether you’re operating a small concession stand, need a self-serve station in your convenience store, or are serving hundreds of hungry customers at a stadium, our hot dog bun warmers and hot dog bun cabinets make sure you’ve got the right amount of warm and soft buns to accommodate your delicious hot dogs.

    Warmers and cabinets are meant to work in conjunction with roller machines. Check the dimensions of your roller grill to make sure you’ll have adequate space on top of or next to your bun warmer. This way you’ll always be ready to pair your hot dogs with warm, soft buns.

    Hot Dog Bun Warmers

    Hot dog bun warmers have temperature controls which allow you to set and hold buns at the perfect serving temperature for extended periods of time. Additionally, warmers are available in dry or moist heat options.

  • Moist heat hot dog bun warmers are able to hold buns without drying them out longer than a hot dog bun warmer using dry heat.

  • Dry heat is generally a more economical option and doesn't require water to operate.

  • APW Wyott BC-31D Hot Dog Bun Cabinet with Drawer for HR-31 Series Hot Dog Roller Grills - Holds 100 Buns

    Hot Dog Bun Cabinets

    Hot dog bun cabinets are much simpler than warmers and do not have any electrical components or temperature controls. One of their main advantages is that they don't use electricity and therefore are one less piece of equipment drawing amperage from electrical circuits. Hot dog bun cabinets should be used when holding buns for shorter periods of time as they won't hold temperature for as long as warmers.

    Shop Bun Warmers and Cabinets

    Hot Dog Equipment Controls

    If you're serving up lots of the same type of product, or wanting to offer customers a variety of options, the control on your equipment can make all the difference. Make sure the equipment you purchase comes with controls that can effectively meet your needs while preparing orders.

    Analog Vs. Digital

    Quickly turn a knob to a pre-determined setting and you're ready to go with analog controls. With the cooking settings listed out its simple to choose a cooking method quickly. However, if you're looking for a precise cooking temperature, consider using a unit with digital controls.

    PROS CONS
    Avantco RG1812 12 Hot Dog Roller Grill with 5 Rollers - 120V, 430W

    Analog Control

    Simply dial the knob to desired setting

    Intuitive design is easy for employees to use
    Limited by predetermined control settings
    APW Wyott HRSDi-31 120 X*PERT Digital Hotrod 30 Hot Dog Roller Grill 19 1/2 inch Slanted Top - 120V



    Digital Control

    Can set unit to precise temperature

    Offers flexible options for cooking product
    Requires more extensive prep knowledge

    Single vs. Double Control

    For serving up the same type of hot dog in bulk, a single control is a great choice. It allows you to set the unit on and let it run while you complete other tasks. However, if you want to maximize time and cook a variety of menu items, a double control allows you to set different temperatures on the same unit and prepare different foods simultaneously.
    PROS CONS
    APW Wyott HR-50S Hot Dog Roller Grill 30 1/2 inchW Slant Top -120V

    Single Control

    Ideal for preparing large orders of the same product

    Can run unit with less supervision and complete other tasks
    Limits the variety of product you can prepare to one item
    APW Wyott HRS-50SBW 35 inch Hot Dog Roller Grill with Slanted Tru-Turn Rollers and Bun Warmer - 120V

    Double Control

    Diversifies menu offerings and cooking capability

    Makes prepping food more efficient and maximizes time
    Requires more attention to detail during unit's operation

    Hot Dog Accessories, Equipment and Mechanical Parts

    APW Wyott 21794061 Slant Top Roller Grill Divider Kit

    Hot Dog Dividers

    Hot dog dividers can be a great accessory to any hot dog stand or restaurant. Dividers create separate sections on your grill so you can cook a variety of customer favorites without worrying about food items mixing together in the process. Dividers allow for quick and easy installation so you can create a more organized grill space for professional, efficient grilling! Best of all, they remove just as easily for quick cleaning.

    Hot Dog Holding Drawers

    Hot dog holding drawers provide the restaurant with a location to hold cooked hot dogs for extended periods of time. These units keep cooked hot dogs at proper and safe temperatures until they are ready to be served. They won't dry out or disintegrate the quality of the hot dog during extended periods of holding either. Additionally, these drawers can be placed directly below the grill allowing for fast and sanitary product transfer from grill to hot holding or they can be used as standalone units. When used as a standalone unit, drawers allow you to cook and hold hot dogs in separate locations that best suit the needs of your establishment.

    Hot Dog Preparation Trays

    Preparation trays can be utilized to organize and arrange hot dogs prior to service. Their slotted design gives space for servers to keep orders separate to avoid confusion and mistakes when serving customers. Preparation trays are perfect for easy and mess-free condiment application. Simply place your buns and hot dogs in the preparation tray and apply all your toppings and condiments at once. Best of all, preparation trays are generally made from durable, easy-to-clean stainless steel.

    Tongs

    Tongs help keep the cooking process sanitary and are helpful when moving hot dogs. They're available in a variety of materials too. Disposable tongs are often made of plastic and allow for quick clean up thanks to their throw away design. Nylon and silicone tongs have a metal base that is covered with a high-temperature nylon or silicone coating. They're best used with non-stick surfaces as they won't scratch or damage the non-stick coating. Stainless steel and chrome tongs are the most durable options. Many tongs come with different colored handles for color-coordination to avoid cross contamination too.

    Paper Hot Dog Trays

    Paper hot dog trays are a great way to serve your hot dogs to customers on the go. These paper trays replace dishes and allow customers to take their hot dog with them. Many paper hot dog trays come in bright and decorative colors to help frame your hot dog creations while boosting impulse sales. These trays also come in a wide variety of sizes so you can find the size that's just right for your serving needs. Best of all, they are can be used for serving a wide variety of foods besides hot dogs and are disposable for fast and easy clean up.

    Hot Dog Bags

    Hot dog bags are a great way to serve your customers and a convenient way to carry hot dogs. Most bags are slightly over sized so that the top of the bag can be folded over to seal in the heat. Therefore, these bags help keep hot dogs warm longer than paper trays. Many bags can be written on with pens or markers to quickly label them with a customer's name or order number to help keep orders organized. Like paper hot dog trays, these bags are available with graphics to help advertise your hot dogs and are disposable for quick and easy clean up.

    Sneeze Guards

    Sneeze guards are a great way to keep your hot dogs sanitary from various airborne contaminants. Sneeze guards come in single door, double door, or pass through style. Single door sneeze guards are for smaller units and limit access to only one side of the grill. Double door allow access to the grill from either side of the sneeze guard. Pass through are similar to double door in that they allow for access from either side of the grill. The difference is that pass through sneeze guards do not have doors that close. The style you need will depend upon your hot dog equipment and the setup of your serving area.

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