Paddy Skicko, hot dog maker, The Wiener Haus
It's too good here on the Gold Coast, there are far better opportunities here too, especially in the food and beverage industry ...
Paddy Skicko is a cool dude. As an owner of The Wiener Haus, he spends most (all) of his time on the road slinging gourmet hot dogs to the masses. Just recently, Paddy opened his third operation – a stand-alone diner in a shipping container in Burleigh Heads and he doesn’t look to be slowing down. He wants more. He wants to grow The Wiener Haus across the country – and he’s certainly getting there, one wiener at a time. Paddy took a break from serving dogs to have a chat to us about bratwurst, fly fishing and being elbow-deep in sausage mince.
Let’s go back to the pre-The Wiener Haus days. What was your very first job?
I worked in a butcher shop in Gippsland as a teenager. I used to make sausages. I know. Crazy, right? I’d go from school, to the butcher shop, then to footy training. No one would tackle me in footy because they knew I would have just been elbow-deep in sausage mince! Everyone was like, um – can you shower before you train?
What drew you to move from Melbourne to the Gold Coast?
I’ve been here for around ten years now. I did a road trip with mates one New Year’s Eve and just thought, stuff it – we need this lifestyle. So I packed up my life in Melbourne and haven’t looked back. It’s too good here on the Gold Coast, there are far better opportunities here too, especially in the food and beverage industry. The lifestyle is super chilled, plus it’s colourful here. Melbourne is very grey – in saying that, I wear black and grey … everyday.
Tell us, how did The Wiener Haus first come to life?
The Wiener Haus originally started with myself and a friend Jesse back in 2013. We looked into the idea of a hot dog truck, because no one had really done a good hot dog, or a modern take on a hot dog, and eventually we made it happen. It was a hobby to start with – it was a weekend thing. I was working full-time and working weekends in the truck to build it all up. I was working in a hot roof installing air-conditioning during the week and slinging dogs on the weekend! I had to do that though, it was hard work but it was the only way I was going to get the money. Then, once The Wiener Haus name lifted a bit more it eventually became full-time.
We’re all for a catchy phrase – enlighten us on your #nodickjokes slogan?
We’re characters here, and there’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek in the way I behave as a human day-to-day so it kind of fits the bill perfectly. And look, The ‘Wiener’ Haus … being guys … we just think that way. But to be honest, we are steering away from that side of the branding. We’re getting some really big gigs at places like Suncorp Stadium and Metricon, and these are events where there are lots of kids around – so as much as I love it, we’ve got to keep things a little cleaner. But there will always be a bit of banter!
After three years in the food truck scene, what initially prompted you to make the shift to stand-alone premises?
I love the food-truck game, it’s super fun. But we worked out that we can still do the bigger food truck events out of the original truck and the new pop-up, so we didn’t need to go and spend a heap of money on a massive food truck, we can do the same out of our little units – plus, it’s our identity, people know us for the trailer. The new diner is just part of growth that needs to happen – it’s a risk but we need to take it if we want to grow.
What are your thoughts on the food truck industry on the Gold Coast?
I think the food truck indsutry has seen such a huge boom over the last 12 months. I’ve noticed the change in sales, but we’re really lucky that we’ve been established and up and running from the beginning. There is a lot of competition now. That’s partly what else pushed me in the direction of the new diner, plus the weather – our bread rolls are fresh every day, we don’t use them a day after, so if we’ve committed to an event and it rains out, it makes the food truck game a little harder.
As an owner-operator, what would you say is the most challenging part of your day?
Time management. We’ve got three units running now (the food truck, pop-up stall and diner) and I’m not used to it yet. The team I’ve got in place now will certainly make things easier. We also use a lot of technology to streamline things and make our lives a little easier.
It’s been a huge three years building The Wiener Haus. What would you say you are most proud of?
The diner. It’s really cool and the feedback has been so good. It’s something I’ve worked really hard on and have put a lot of hours in, and I’m proud that I’ve gotten to this stage. We’re not here getting gold teeth or anything like that, but I definitely feel like things are in a better direction. I wanted to achieve something for myself, and we’re getting there with it – it’s cool. Really cool.
So, we know you haven’t had a day off in a while – what’s the ultimate day off for you?
I try and go fly fishing. Which means I’d head south, like Mullumbimby way. There’s no phone reception, it’s extremely peaceful, an I can take a few beers down. I’m not overly good at fly fishing, but it’s a hobby that my dad and brother do, so that’s why I do it now. Because I’m not that good, I have to fully get deep in the water to get where I need to be. I’m often like nipple-deep in water and there are snakes going past .. but I really enjoy it. Plus, you’re wearing waders, which means the snakes can’t get to you, so I feel good about that.
What’s next for The Wiener Haus?
Another diner. We’ve designed this to be something we can replicate and change it up to suit the location. If we can get another one of these on the northern end, that’d be ideal. I definitely want to have a few of these. We’ve also got some cool new designs underway for some new merchandise too, which is exciting. We sold SO many of our shirts at Falls Fest – do you know how much fun it is to see people wearing your t-shirt and carrying on, like completely wasted, yelling “I love wiener”? So good.