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Shake Shack's Crinkle Cut Cuddler

Shake Shack and Portillo’s introduce crinkle fry-themed merch

Dog toys and a body pillow join a growing lineup of retail products from restaurant chains

Shake Shack is rolling out a new piece of merch in celebration of National French Fry Day, which is July 12, and Portillo’s is introducing dog toys to celebrate its annual National Hot Dog Week.

National Hot Dog Day is July 17, but the Chicago-based hot dog and Italian beef sandwich specialist is selling dog toys and offering other dog-related promotions for 10 days, July 9 through July 19, as part of its annual celebration of the menu item.

New York City-based Shake Shack is teaming up with Bearaby, which makes weighted blankets and plushies, to introduce the Crinkle Cut Cuddler body pillow.

The limited-edition item is a wavy pillow meant to resemble Shake Shack’s signature fries with a washable yellow cover and packaging reminiscent of a takeout box, the New York City based chain said.

In partnering with Bearaby, Shake Shack said the company shared its own “dedication to high-quality, responsible design.”

“Comfort food and comfort bedding are at their best when made with the best ingredients and materials, and the Crinkle Cut Cuddler embodies exactly that!” a Shake Shack representative said in an email.

Portillo’s is also promoting its crinkle-cut fries with a plushy resembling the side item. In addition, it’s selling a Chicago-style Hot Dog on a Rope.

Shake Shack’s pillow is available at for $149, and Portillo’s items can be found on its regular web site or picked up at one of the restaurants’ grab-and-go stands.

Portillo’s dog toys are $12 apiece, of which $2 will be donated to Chicago animal-welfare organization Anti-Cruelty.

The Chicago-based fast-casual chain is also offering free delivery for National Hot Dog Week as well as a pet contest named after its mascot, a dachshund named Pokey.

The “Find Pokey’s BFF! Contest” invites people to post a picture of their pet on social media with the hashtag #PokeysPal and tagging @portilloshotdogs.

Ten finalists will be chosen by Portillo’s and they will be contacted by the chain. Then the public will vote on a grand prize winner, who will receive a set of the new dog toys and other merchandise as well as an $800 e-gift card for the chain.

"With more than 60 years of experience serving up Chicago-style hot dogs, National Hot Dog Week is one of our team's favorite times of year — and nothing says summer like a delicious Hot Dog," Portillo’s chief marketing officer Nick Scarpino said in a press release. "We're excited to bring back our free delivery offer in honor of this special week, and we wanted to kick things up a notch this year. Our beloved mascot, Pokey, has long been the face of our legendary Chicago brand, and she deserves a pack of canine pals. We are so excited to meet our Guests' adorable pups and find Pokey a pack to run with."

These are just the latest in a range of apparel, blankets, accessories, and other items that restaurant chains have introduced recently, apparently leveraging their fan bases for incremental revenue and free marketing.

Shake Shack itself rolled out new merch just last month, including a tote promoting its crinkle cut fries as well as a water bottle and t-shirt, and Portillo’s already has a Pokey plushy for sale on its web site.  

Chick-fil-A recently revamped its online store, and introduced a line of summer-themed items, including a waffle fry pool float.

Last month, Sonic Drive-In also launched an online shop, and sibling concepts Jimmy John’s, Arby’s, and Dunkin’, all part of Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, have introduced new non-edible retail items too.

So has White Castle.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

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