A long anticipated arrival in Visalia

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School is back in session this week. Summer is coming to a close. And there is talk of a wet winter to alleviate the drought. The only question left in some residents mind’s is “When is Wienerschnitzel going to open?

Fear not chili dog delighters, the answer is … soon. Construction crews returned to work on the franchise location at 1400 E. Noble Ave. last week. Landscaping, which is often a finishing touch on a commercial structure, looks as if it may wrap up later this week. A source close to the ownership group, Tahir Salim, said he expects the fast food hot dog restaurant and adjoining Tastee Freeze should be open in the next few weeks.

The project, which began in January, has been delayed for several months due to an issue with the sewer. According to the City of Visalia, the restaurant connected to the sewer system at low point, which could cause it to back up, and had to be reconnected at a higher point. The costly underground work set the project back a few weeks.

The Visalia location is part of a larger strategy for Wienerschnitzel to expand its brand. In November, the franchise established a “Visionary Department” dedicated to building brand loyalty among younger generations.

Spearheaded by J.R. Galardi, the 25-year-old son of late founder, John Galardi, and CEO, Cindy Galardi Culpepper, the Visionary Department will focus 100 percent on forming relationships and growing awareness amongst its younger customer. Wienerschnitzel’s current guest base primarily made up of baby boomers. With a heavy emphasis on corporate responsibility, the division will tap into current trends, interests and lifestyles, including everything from sports, film, technology, music and fashion.

The franchise was founded by the elder Galardi with a single location in Southern California in 1961. Since then, Wienerschnitzel has grown to be the world’s largest hot dog chain serving more than 120 million hot dogs a year. Based in Irvine, Calif., Wienerschnitzel operates or franchises 350 stores in 10 states and Guam. It is part of Galardi Group, Inc., which is also the parent company of The Hamburger Stand, Tastee Freez LLC and Two Madres Mexican Kitchen. In January, Food and Drink Franchise ranked Wienerschnitzel No. 9 on the list of Top 10 fast food chains that originated in the Western United States. Currently Weinerschnitzel cravings can only be satisfied by driving to Hanford or Fresno. According to its website, people will “be seeing a lot more of us popping up all over the country.”

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