New York's Papaya Branding Problem

If I gave you two words, papaya and new york (ok, three words), what would you think of?  If you are American, chances are these odd combination of words would conjure up images of hot dogs known as "papaya dogs," which are as iconic as you can get about American pop fast food culture.  The only problem is, there are three different places to get them … Papaya King, Gray’s Papaya and Papaya Dog:


Now which one is the real authentic papaya dog?  It really doesn’t matter.  When you have something as distinctive as papaya dogs, the name and experience alone should be enough to make you stand out.  And it does … until two others come along and open the same business with the same things that make them as unique as you.  When everyone is unique for the same thing no one is.

Papaya King was the first, originally serving just tropical fruit drinks (hence the name papaya) and later expanded into hot dogs.  The other competitors came later, leading to the confusing papaya dog situation in NY today.  Now only the true connoisseurs know the difference and choose one over the other.  For everyone else, one papaya dog is as good as another.

Photo Credits:
Papaya Dog –
Gray’s Papaya –
Papaya King –