Krystal (restaurant)
Krystal is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 restaurant chain known for their small, square hamburger sliders
Slider (sandwich)
A slider is a small sandwich, typically around across, served in a bun. The term primarily refers to small hamburgers, but can also cover any small sandwich served on a slider roll...

 with steamed-in onions and 24/7 business hours. Krystal is often described as the Southern equivalent of the Midwest American
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 hamburger chain White Castle
White Castle
- Castles :* The White Castle, East Lothian, once a hill fort in the Lammermuir Hills, East Lothian, Scotland, a district today known as Nunraw* The White Castle , an 11th-century castle in Wales- Food and drink :* White Castle , a U.S...

. Krystal is popular with college students, and has become known for competitive eating
Competitive eating
Competitive eating, or speed eating, is a sport in which participants compete against each other to consume large quantities of food in a short time period. Contests are typically less than 15 minutes in length, with the person consuming the most food being declared the winner...

 contests, including one where a record-holding participant ate over 100 hamburgers in a matter of minutes.


Founded October 24, 1932, in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

, in the first years of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, entrepreneur
An entrepreneur is an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.The term was originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to a person who is willing to...

 Rody Davenport Jr. and partner J. Glenn Sherrill theorized that even in a severe economic upheaval, "People would patronize a restaurant that was kept spotlessly clean, where they could get a good meal with courteous service at the lowest possible price." The restaurant's first customer, French Jenkins, ordered six "Krystals" and a cup of coffee, all for the "bargain" price of $0.35, thus proving their theory true.

Davenport visited White Castle restaurants taking notes of successful features before setting forth on his own venture. Davenport and Sherrill set up the first Krystal at the corner of Seventh and Cherry streets in Chattanooga. While the building still stands, the original Krystal restaurant is no longer in operation. The oldest Krystal still in operation is located on Cherokee Boulevard in Chattanooga's Northshore District. Krystal is the seventh or eighth-oldest hamburger chain in the United States (the oldest being White Castle) and the oldest in the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...


As for the origins of the Krystal name, company legend states that Davenport and his wife were riding down a mountain road when Mrs. Mary McGee Davenport saw a lawn ornament
Lawn ornament
Lawn ornaments are decorative objects placed in the grassy area of a property.- Common lawn ornaments :Bird bath - A structure designed to hold water for birds to bathe in or drink, generally supported upon a pedestal....

 in the shape of a crystal ball
Crystal ball
A crystal ball is a crystal or glass ball believed by some people to aid in the performance of clairvoyance. It is sometimes known as a shew stone...

. While gazing at the lawn ornament, Mrs. Davenport commented that since Davenport and Sherrill felt cleanliness was a cornerstone of the concept, they should name the restaurant Crystal for "clean as a crystal" - yet with a "K" to add a little twist.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the chain served much of its food not in take-out
Take-out or takeout , carry-out , take-away , parcel , or tapau , is food purchased at a...

Food packaging
Food packaging is packaging for food. It requires protection, tampering resistance, and special physical, chemical, or biological needs. It also shows the product that is labeled to show any nutrition information on the food being consumed....

 but on inexpensive porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

 dishware labelled "Krystal." The waiters and waitresses wore white uniforms, and food was offered through counter service. In the 1950s, Krystal opened its first drive through window - which most locations maintain today.

In the 1950s, cake doughnuts were served as a breakfast and dessert item. From about 1970 until 1986, fried chicken
Fried chicken
Fried chicken is a dish consisting of chicken pieces usually from broiler chickens which have been floured or battered and then pan fried, deep fried, or pressure fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior...

, coleslaw
Coleslaw, sometimes simply called slaw in some American dialects, is a salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage. It may also include shredded carrots and other ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, apples, onions, green onions, peppers and various spices.-History:The term "coleslaw"...

, potato salad
Potato salad
Potato salad is a dish made from boiled potatoes, the versions of which vary throughout different regions and countries of the world. Although called a salad, it is generally considered a side dish, as it generally accompanies the main course....

, and rolls were offered. These items were usually sold from a small addition to the back of the hamburger restaurants. The chicken was introduced around the same time that singers Minnie Pearl
Minnie Pearl
Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon , known professionally as Minnie Pearl, was an American country comedienne who appeared at the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years and on the television show Hee Haw from 1969 to 1991.-Early life:Sarah Colley was born in Centerville, in Hickman County, Tennessee,...

 and Mahalia Jackson
Mahalia Jackson
Mahalia Jackson – January 27, 1972) was an African-American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as "The Queen of Gospel"...

 entered the fried chicken business.

Current business

Krystal restaurants, both company-owned and franchised
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

, operate in Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, Kentucky, Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, and Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. There is also a single Krystal in Bristol
Bristol, Virginia
Bristol is an independent city in Virginia, United States, bounded by Washington County, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, and Sullivan County, Tennessee....

, Virginia (which lies on the Tennessee-Virginia border), and two in Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, one in West Memphis
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 27,666 at the 2000 census, with an estimated population of 28,181 in 2005, and 31,329 in 2011 ranking it as the state's 11th largest city, behind Hot Springs...

 (directly across the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 from Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

), and one on the other side of the state in Springdale
Springdale, Arkansas
As of the census of 2010, there were 69,797 people, 22,805 households, and 16,640 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 64.7% White, 0.82% Black or African American, 1.8% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 5.7% Pacific Islander, 22% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more...

. Krystal is often compared to the similar Midwest restaurant chain White Castle, but other than Kentucky and Tennessee markets, the two restaurants do not overlap.

Krystal still maintains corporate headquarters in Chattanooga and has been owned by Port Royal Holdings, Inc. since 1997. In the late-1990s, Krystal emerged from a bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 proceeding and sale of assets that placed majority ownership outside the heirs of the founding families. Krystal's period of structural change and uncertainty in the late-1990s has led to a successfully re-born restaurant chain with high levels of reported customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction, a term frequently used in marketing, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation...

 and an evolving menu.

Krystal's product line centers on a square hamburger patty slider with a steamed
Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. Steaming is considered a healthy cooking technique and capable of cooking almost all kinds of food.-Method:...

Bread roll
A bread roll is a piece of bread, usually small and round and is commonly considered a side dish. Bread rolls are often used in the same way as sandwiches are—cut transversely, with fillings placed between the two halves.-Various forms:...

 called a "Krystal". Small hot dogs, named "pups" are also featured menu items. The restaurant recently expanded its menu to include the "Big Angus Burger," a full-size hamburger made of 100% Angus beef.

Krystal is known for a diverse breakfast menu, which includes a made-to-order "country breakfast," meat and egg sandwiches, and other items. One particularly popular breakfast item is the "Scrambler," which includes a layered stack of scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs is a dish made from beaten whites and yolks of eggs . Beaten eggs are put into a hot pot or pan and stirred frequently, forming curds as they coagulate.-Sample preparation:...

, sausage
A sausage is a food usually made from ground meat , mixed with salt, herbs, and other spices, although vegetarian sausages are available. The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted.Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made...

, grits
Grits are a food of American Indian origin common in the Southern United States and mainly eaten at breakfast. They consist of coarsely ground corn, or sometimes alkali-treated corn . They are also sometimes called sofkee or sofkey from the Muskogee language word...

, and cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

 served in a styrofoam
Styrofoam is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company for closed-cell currently made for thermal insulation and craft applications. In 1941, researchers in Dow's Chemical Physics Lab found a way to make foamed polystyrene...

 cup. Other variations of the Scrambler also feature pancakes, sausage gravy, or southwestern-style spices.

In 1998, Krystal introduced the "Krystal Chik," a fried chicken breast filet slider
Slider (sandwich)
A slider is a small sandwich, typically around across, served in a bun. The term primarily refers to small hamburgers, but can also cover any small sandwich served on a slider roll...

 served on the signature steamed square bun. Krystal Chiks remain popular, along with other chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 and salad
Salad is any of a wide variety of dishes, including vegetable salads; salads of pasta, legumes, eggs, or grains; mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood; and fruit salads. They may include a mixture of cold and hot, often including raw vegetables or fruits.Green salads include leaf...

 items. Krystal continues to focus on its core menu products but continues to redesign and upgrade its stores to appeal to a mobile and multi-tasking audience.

Krystal is one of the growing number of fast food restaurant chains offering free wireless internet access to customers with Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 compatible devices. Known as "The Krystal HotSpot", the service is nearly universally available at Krystal locations offering inside seating. The chain is also testing a prototype for a drive-in that features individual television monitors for ordering and watching television (audio is accessed via car stereo), and indoor and outdoor seating areas with multiple big-screen television monitors and free digital jukeboxes.

Krystals remain enormously popular in the South, especially in its East Tennessee "backyard". Fans are known to drive great distances to "get a Krystal" or pine for them when they're out of reach. Long time fans can show new patrons how to combine the boxes that Krystals come in to make Krystal houses. Krystal is a perennial favorite with college students, due to most (but not all) Krystal restaurants being open 24/7
24/7 is an abbreviation which stands for "24 hours a day, 7 days a week", usually referring to a business or service available at all times without interruption...


As of July 2006, Krystal has confirmed that they are expanding the chain into other Southern and Mid-Western states such as West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 and Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, respectively. The company also said they are expanding further into Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...


Currently Krystal has over 420 locations in 11 States and sells more than 239 million hamburgers a year.

Competitive eating

Krystal restaurants are the host of the Krystal Square Off
Krystal Square Off
The Krystal Square Off was the official World Hamburger Eating Championship, taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee and as sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating...

, a competitive eating contest. The current world record
World record
A world record is usually the best global performance ever recorded and verified in a specific skill or sport. The book Guinness World Records collates and publishes notable records of all types, from first and best to worst human achievements, to extremes in the natural world and beyond...

is 103 Krystal burgers consumed in 8 minutes by Joey Chestnut, set on October 28, 2007.

External links

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