Since its start in 2011, Dat Dog has grown from a single, modest hot dog stand into a New Orleans dining institution with locations all over Louisiana and now Texas. With its all-beef hot dogs, alligator, duck and crawfish sausages, and award-winning French fries, there’s something for everyone at this fun and funky restaurant. As it turns out, the CEO of Dat Dog, Paul Tuennerman, also has a strong commitment to giving back to the community. After learning more about his company’s partnership with the Son of a Saint program, you’ll have even more reasons to frequent Dat Dog.
Each summer, Dat Dog hosts a competition challenging Saints players to create a brand new hot dog. The winner’s dog is featured on the Dat Dog menu for a year, with $1 from every purchase going back to the Son of a Saint program. It is a great way to celebrate tasty eats with local sports stars while benefiting a deserving program at the same time.
Also founded in 2011, Son of a Saint provides mentorship, education and emotional support for boys in the New Orleans area who are growing up without a father. Dat Dog has provided financial support and employment opportunities for boys in this program, 75 percent of whom have lost their fathers due to violence. “It’s a group of individuals who deserve our support and attention,” said Tuennerman. At present there are 100 boys enrolled in the program, and the 10 who are graduating this year will all attend college. For Tuennerman, helping these young men succeed is a personal matter. “Back when I was a young teen, struggling with having lost my father, I always wished somebody had reached out and said everything would be okay,” he says. Now, he uses his success as a restauranteur to help young men in a similar situation.
As Tuennerman explains, this support also makes professional sense. “From a business perspective, I believe that as business leaders in the community we have obligations to give back. Benefits of active community engagement show up on the bottom line, and it’s just the right thing to do.” Dat Dog has already donated over $24,000 to Son of a Saint in less than two years, and the company is now partnering with its suppliers to provide additional financial support over the next several years.
“Who thought a little hot dog stand could do so much good in the community?” says Tuennerman.