Popular Fast Food Chan Reveals Why They Don't Sell the Menu Item It's Named After

Craving wiener schnitzel? Don’t head to Wienerschnitzel.

This California-based fast food chain serves hot dogs, burgers, and fries. But no wiener schnitzel.

Traditionally, wiener schnitzel is a thin veal cut, breaded and fried. Not a hot dog. The “wiener” means “from Vienna,” hinting at its Austrian roots.

So why is Wienerschnitzel named after a dish it never planned to serve?

“Drive-Thru Life,” an e-book about Wienerschnitzel and its founder John Galardi, explains. In the 1950s, Galardi worked for Glen Bell, Taco Bell's future founder, in Pasadena. Galardi wanted his own chain, and Bell agreed to help, as long as it didn’t compete with his taco business.

Galardi chose hot dogs. Naming it was the next step. Generic names like John’s Hot Dogs or Wonderful Hot Dogs came to mind.

During dinner with Bell and his wife Martha, the topic of names came up. Martha had seen a wiener schnitzel recipe in a cookbook and suggested the name.

“It’s got wiener in it, which is another word for frankfurter,” she reasoned.

Initially, everyone thought it was a bad idea. It sounded foreign and hard to pronounce. But Galardi liked its uniqueness and decided to use it.

Glen Bell also influenced the Wienerschnitzel look. He advised using red and yellow to attract attention.

The original name was Der Wienerschnitzel, which isn't correct German grammar. But Galardi liked its sound, as per “Drive-Thru Life.”

Despite its German name, the menu was purely American. It started as a hot dog stand with no schnitzel in sight.

In 2017, Wienerschnitzel briefly served chicken schnitzel sandwiches. They added three types for two months.

J.R. Galardi, executive VP and John Galardi’s son, said, “If it does well, it will most likely remain on the menu.”

However, by 2024, schnitzel vanished from the Wienerschnitzel menu.