On a ‘Red Hot’ Career Path

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Atlanta man makes a living through promotion and sale of Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dogs.

Jim Silverman is on a ‘red hot’ career path.

The Atlanta resident loves the snap when he bites into the natural casing of a beef hot dog, served up Chicago-style in a poppy seed bun, heaping with yellow mustard, chopped onion, tomato wedges, green relish, pickle spears, sport peppers and celery salt.

And he has finessed that love into a career.

Silverman works at the premier all-beef hot dog manufacturer in the United States, the Chicago-based Vienna Beef, as director of Eastern Food Service Sales.

These aren’t the tiny Vienna sausages made from rendered Chicken parts sold in cans at the grocery store, not even close, Silverman stressed.

A Vienna Beef hot dog is lauded by many connoisseurs as the best in the free world. The 113-year-old recipe incorporates pure beef -- no fillers or additives. The concept for the very first beef sausages, known as red hots and eventually hot dogs, became popular during the turn of the century as a cheap, yet hearty meal sold by street vendors.

The company has the first number ever issued in the country by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA#1

In addition to hotdogs, Vienna Beef’s food service menu includes items typically seen in delicatessens, such as deli meats (smoked/peppered turkey breast, roast beef, corned beef and pastrami), Pure Beef Polish sausages, 5 varieties of chili, 40+ varieties of soups and more than 50 different styles of pickles.

Silverman worked his way up in the food service business, starting as an eager 12-year-old who fibbed to get his first job at a local Howard Johnson’s busing tables and washing dishes.

“I had to lie about my age but I really wanted to work and make my own money,” he said.

At age 17, he began work at the Bain’s Deli chain (where he spent the next 15 years) headquartered in Philadelphia, eventually assisting in the opening and sale of 90+ franchises across the US and Canada. He was self-employed by age 32, operating a restaurant and hotel-related mystery shopping recruiting service.

From there, he worked for US Food Service as a distribution sales rep. and by March of 1999, he started with Vienna Beef as a southeast area manager, covering primarily Georgia and Florida. In February of 2005 he was promoted to Director of Eastern Food Service Sales and overseeing two regional sales managers and five food service brokerage companies. He is also responsible for assisting customers in the development of marketing ideas and materials, as well calling on and developing new business opportunities with National and local food distributors, Multi Unit Regional Chains and Food Service Management Groups.

He also is working to spread the news about the company’s branded business concept. According to Silverman, wholesale buyers of their Chicago-style hot dogs and other menu items are also treated to start-up advice and marketing materials – some free of charge. The concept is perfect for prospective restaurateurs who do not need much hand holding and want the flexibility to make additions and changes to there menu as they please.

“It’s a job of a lifetime. I really enjoy working for a company that has such a long history and trusted reputation,” Silverman said.

“Plus, I am selling an incredibly high quality product that I believe in 199 percent. These hot dogs are made of pure beef. And wow, are they good.”

For more information, call 800-DELI-FOOD (800-335-4366) or visit the web site at http://www.viennabeef.com.

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