National Burger Month has arrived and restaurant chains are busy rolling out burger promotions to the delight of burger lovers across the country. As restaurants ring in sales and customers take advantage of the deals, those on both sides of the cash register have White Castle to thank.
You see, White Castle, recognized as the first fast food restaurant chain in the United States, launched National Burger Month in 1992. What started as a restaurant chain’s marketing effort has grown into, in less than 20 years, a strategic promotional opportunity for the entire restaurant industry. . White Castle is celebrating National Burger Month again throughout May with special promotions and new menu items, but it’s also in the middle of a year-long anniversary celebration. White Castle turned 90 on March 10.
“White Castle is proud to be 90,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president of corporate and government relations recently. “Since 1921, White Castle has remained true to its original mission and values. Our name says it all – White signifying purity and Château signifying strength and permanence.
White Castle began in 1921 when Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson raised $ 700 to open a small burger stand in Wichita, Kansas. The two have set standards so that customers receive the same quality burger with every order. As more restaurants developed, the company became known for its visionary restaurant system that provided hygienic and properly prepared meals at a time when food safety regulations were quite lax. Ingram bought Anderson in 1933 and the chain moved to Columbus, Ohio.
In addition to spawning the fast food industry and standardization, White Castle is also credited with a number of other firsts. They were the first chain to pack burgers in takeout boxes, the first to advertise in newspapers, the first to launch a coupon campaign, and the first to market square burgers and use perforated burgers to even cooking.
In 1961, the chain celebrated the sale of its billionth burger. A year later, the innovative double cheeseburger was added to the menu, consisting of two cheese-topped ground beef patties separated by a slice of bun, much like the modern Big Mac. The chain continued to grow and today operates more than 400 restaurants.
The number of restaurants may not compare in size to the thousands of locations of other chains, but this is because each location is owned and not franchised. Over the years, this has helped the company weather many economic downturns due to a lack of debt to fund rapid expansion.
White Castle still offers the small, slim, square burger known as The Original Slider. Topped with onions and pickles and sitting on a steamed bun, the White Castles sliders have won a loyal following known as Cravers. In 2001, White Castle launched the Cravers Hall of Fame, in which a number of Cravers are inducted each year based on nominations judged by “brand loyalty, creative presentation, originality and breadth of l ‘desire”.
White Castle restaurants have nine burgers on the menu. They all feature the same sliding base, but include toppings like A1 steak sauce, jalapenos, and bacon. Are you really hungry? There is a Crave Case of 30 sliders available. Beyond burgers, the chain also sells chicken and fish sandwiches, a pulled pork sandwich, cheese fries, onion chips, fish snacks, and chicken rings. Breakfast Cravings items are also available.
While White Castle may not have locations in all states, it does offer its signature sliders in grocery stores across the country. You can even find them in some convenience stores, movie theaters, and vending machines.
White Castle helped make hamburgers America’s favorite food and changed the culinary habits of a nation. 90 years later, he still serves as an average slider. Burger fans owe it to yourself to check out what the premier burger chain has to offer.