New Biography Of Wienerschnitzel Founder Offer Insights Into A Hot Dog Empire
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New Biography Of Wienerschnitzel Founder Offer Insights Into A Hot Dog Empire

“Drive-Thru Life” chronicles the personal and professional life of John Galardi

Family-written tribute is now available for free at

August 08, 2018 // // IRVINE, Calif. - The year was 1961. John F. Kennedy was sworn-in as the 35th President, Alan Shepard blasted into space aboard the Freedom 7, “West Side Story” ruled the box office and Roy Orbison’s “Crying” topped the music charts.

Meanwhile, in the then-sleepy Los Angeles suburb of Wilmington, Calif., a 23-year-old Missouri native opened a simple walk-up restaurant with a funny name and a specialty in just one item: the hot dog.

By the time that initial stand had grown into a series of iconic A-frames scattered across Southern California, Wienerschnitzel - or “Der Wienerschnitzel” as it was known then - had grown into the World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain. Today, Wienerschnitzel sells 120 million hot dogs annually at 333 restaurants in 11 states.

The life of John Galardi, the founder that started it all, is chronicled in a new biography now available for free public download. The 164-page Drive Through Life was written and published as a tribute by the Galardi family - Cindy Galardi Culpepper, son J.R. Galardi and daughters Skylar Galardi, Teresa Galardi Hinkel and Karen Galardi - five years after his death in 2013 at the age of 75.

Drive Through Live can be downloaded for free at A limited number of commemorative bound copies are being made available to Wienerschnitzel franchisees, partners and employees.

Born in 1938 in Missouri, Galardi moved with his family to California in 1956 where he met Glen Bell, Jr., another fast food pioneer who mentored him as a Taco Bell manager before Galardi opened the first Der Wienerschnitzel five years later (and dropped the “Der” to make it just Wienerschnitzel in 1977).

In addition to other pioneering moves, Galardi made Wienerschnitzel one of the first fast food chains in the U.S. to feature drive-through service, and designed his first restaurants specifically with the Southern California motorist in mind - a practice that is commonplace today.

Highlights of the 13-chapter book include personal and professional anecdotes, historical photos, original Wienerschnitzel ads and an epilogue with remembrances by 23 family members and friends.

From the family-written forward of Drive-Thru Life:

We’ve put together a portrait of a multifaceted, larger-than-life guy who was a father, a husband, an entrepreneur and a risk-taker, as well as an inspiration to so many who relied upon John for advice and guidance. In writing this book, filled with reminiscences and snapshots, we hope that readers who did not have the privilege of knowing John Galardi will catch a glimpse of the extraordinary man he was. And for those who did know John, it will hopefully remind them of what he meant to them. And to the world.

For information on Wienerschnitzel history, menu items, current promotions and franchising opportunities go to

About Wienerschnitzel

Founded by John Galardi in 1961 with a single hot dog stand in Wilmington, Calif., Wienerschnitzel ( is one of the real pioneers of the quick-service food industry. The World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain now serves more than 120 million hot dogs annually - and fueled by a mission of “Serving Food to Serve Others,” also gives back a percentage of profits to its charitable partners. Based in Irvine, Calif., Wienerschnitzel operates or franchises 333 restaurants in 11 states. It is part of the Galardi Group, which is also the parent company of Hamburger Stand and Tastee-Freez LLC.

Media Contacts:

Lindsay Winn
Amusement Park PR
(714) 881-2315

SOURCE Wienerschnitzel


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