There's a new top dog in town when it comes to promoting Syracuse's Hofmann Sausage Company. Champion competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi has signed on with the company as a partner and brand ambassador. Our Sarah Blazonis talked with Kobi about his new role.
VERONA, N.Y. -- Takeru Kobayashi has always been hungry for success. He's chewed his way to six consecutive first place finishes in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and set a world record last year by eating 69 dogs in ten minutes.
Now he's ready to sink his teeth into something new.
"I'm so excited about this relationship. Two top dogs together makes me very happy," Kobayashi said Thursday during a news conference at Turning Stone Resort and Casino.
Kobayashi is teaming up with the Hofmann Sausage Company as partner and brand ambassador. The move is part of the expansion announced earlier this year that will include stand-alone restaurants and product placement in stores nationwide.
"We're creating a brand inside our brand that will have his name on it, same as Nike did with Michael Jordan. So we really see a lot of comparisons to that as it relates to advertising, branding and marketing," said Hofmann Hot Dogs CEO Frank Zaccanelli.
The newly-created Kobayashi division of the company will help Kobi reach a career first.
"The most exciting thing for me would be obviously that I get to create my own Kobayashi dogs. So as I'm telling the world about this wonderful brand, I also get to have my own venture," Kobayashi said through his manager and interpreter, Maggie James.
Officials say his involvement will be a big help in making Hofmann's name known worldwide, but it's something else that will determine if the company can compete in the international market.
"It's got the product. You've got the product and you've got a guy to substantiate the product. He knows hot dogs," said Phil Romano, restaurant entrepreneur.
But don't expect to see Kobi scarfing down Hofmann's during one of his upcoming competitions. The self-professed food geek says this is one food he wants to be able to take the time to taste.