J.R. Galardi Dishes on Hot Dogs for Homeless Venture

Written By: Amanda Lenox
Photographed By: Andrea Domjan Wienerschnitzel

In 2015, J.R. Galardi, the Vice President of Galardi Group, jumped in the appropriately dubbed “Wienerbago, ” and embarked on a month-long philanthropic adventure to help serve not just hot dogs but the homeless communities in various cities. The campaign evolved from him wanting to utilize the resources he had and give back to those in need.

Starting the Hot dogs for Homeless campaign is just one of the many changes Galardi has made while at the company. He created the Visionary Department, whose goal is “partnerships, sponsorships, and making sure Wienerschnitzel is not only relevant but looking into the future.” They incorporate technology, current trends, and marketing, intertwined from a separate marketing department. “We try to differentiate ourselves, by instead of branding everything and throwing a brand in your face, we come in and activate organically, ” says Galardi. By sponsoring and attending events and keeping an active social media presence, Wienerschnitzel is aiming to appeal to a younger demographic.

When Galardi was introduced to Mike Smith, founder of Skate for Change, through a mutual friend, the two began to brainstorm how they could make a difference in their communities. Skate for Change began from Smith skateboarding around Lincoln, Nebraska handing out socks, water, food, etc. to the homeless. This started a chain reaction of other people wanting to help out, and eventually led to 50 chapters of Skate for Change operating on a national and global level. The two finally came up with the idea of Hot dogs for Homeless. “I really want to use my position in this role for positive change. I want to use what I have to make a difference in the world, ” says Galardi. The two traveled to various cities with Wienerschnitzel locations and partnered with local schools to collect donations and speak to students. Those same students went out with Galardi and Smith to help pass out the donations raised, which ranged from clothes to hygiene kits.

Galardi is continuing to make changes to the way Hot dogs for Homeless operates to make sure that it is having the best impact it can have on a community and everyone involved. Last year they spent more time in their city stops, instead of trying to fit as many cities in as possible. “It was quality over quantity the second round, ” says Galardi. With the upcoming year, he hopes to plan it in segments instead of a month-long trip, “We’re working on a way to make it happen. I don’t ever want this program to die.”

Native Knowledge: Some of the places Galardi can be found volunteering in the Orange County area is Mary’s Kitchen and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Galardi has also recently participated in his first 5k PurpleStride for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

By the Numbers: Hot Dogs for Homeless

  • $270, 000 raised for Skate for Change
  • 85, 00 students addressed
  • 80, 000 Wienerschnitzel hot dogs served
  • 20, 000 pairs of socks and other necessities handed out
  • 12, 000 miles traveled
  • 34 school stops
  • 25 city stops

J.R.’s Top 5 Wienerschnitzel Menu Picks

  1. Chili Cheese Dog
  2. Corn Dog
  3. Street Dog
  4. Chili Cheese Fries
  5. Tastee Freeze Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone

Galardi Group Inc.
7700 Irvine Center Dr
Irvine, CA 92618
949.892.2699

Photoshoot Location:
Wienerschnitzel
18012 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
714.847.9400
Wienerschnitzel’s Vice President Serves Community’s Customer