Omega 211 opened its windows to students every week between Thursday and Sunday, advertising the new hot dog and snack stop “Wiener Beach” this semester.
Seniors Sam Bannon and Tristan Ogdahl were enrolled in Professor Jennifer Knippen’s course Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Mindset which encourages students to develop their own entrepreneurial ideas. Wiener Beach was created as a partnership to gain experience with a new business.
Bannon and Ogdahl brainstormed different outlets they could take for their business, coming up with smoothie stands and snack stands, but nothing emphasized their love of food like hot dogs.
“We both love hot dogs and they’re funny to sell. They’re the best. They’re hilarious,” Bannon and Ogdahl said.
Each person who cooks for Wiener Beach had to complete a two hour online food safety course that ensured the food would be safe in terms of quality, temperature and cooking location. If a student wants to help with Wiener Beach, but is not food safety certified, they can take orders in the window.
“Something that we really like to emphasize to our customers and just people who hear about it is that the only reason we’re approved to sell anything on campus is because it is for the course, for the sake of academic freedom,” Bannon said.
Eckerd’s handbook says that students cannot sell anything, but Bannon and Ogdahl were exempt from this rule for the semester because the class provided students with entrepreneurial experience, according to Bannon.
Knippen is drafting an independent study for students to be able to continue their business ventures next semester, Bannon said.
“I think Wiener Beach does an excellent job of targeting everything college kids want: warm, late-night meals served by beautiful boys in dresses. The people, food and fits are all top notch,” senior Morgan Scott said
Senior Nick Mitchell is a Wiener Beach regular.
“Not only is the service quick and friendly, but the food is outstanding with their different variations of wieners,” Mitchell said. “My favorite has been the campfire dog. It was the best wiener I’ve ever had,” Mitchell said.
Wiener Beach has reached 277 followers on its Instagram @wienerbeach and has received positivity from the Eckerd community. According to Bannon, students are excited to help design, plan menu items and help promote Wiener Beach.
“Our number one priority is to be as inclusive as possible on the menu,” Bannon said. “We always have a fully vegetarian version of the premier menu hot dog for that evening, and then we have fully vegan options, and then we have a gluten free alternative to whatever dog is on the menu and that’s called the weenie panini,” Bannon said.
Twenty cents from each Wiener Beach purchase is donated to a non-profit that varies week to week. Wiener Beach has donated to organizations such as the Ocean Conservancy and a men’s health awareness campaign.