White Castle (restaurant)
Overview
 
White Castle is an American regional 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...

 hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

 restaurant chain
Chain store
Chain stores are retail outlets that share a brand and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. These characteristics also apply to chain restaurants and some service-oriented chain businesses. In retail, dining and many service categories, chain businesses...

 in the Midwestern United States
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....

 and in the New York metropolitan area
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...

, and the first of its kind in the US. It is known for its small, square hamburgers. Sometimes referred to as "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...

", the burgers were priced at five cents
Cent (currency)
In many national currencies, the cent is a monetary unit that equals 1⁄100 of the basic monetary unit. Etymologically, the word cent derives from the Latin word "centum" meaning hundred. Cent also refers to a coin which is worth one cent....

 until the 1940s, and remained at ten cents for years thereafter. For several years, when the original burgers sold for five cents, White Castle periodically ran promotional ads in local newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

s which contained coupons offering five burgers for ten cents, takeout only.
White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

.
Encyclopedia
White Castle is an American regional 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...

 hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

 restaurant chain
Chain store
Chain stores are retail outlets that share a brand and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. These characteristics also apply to chain restaurants and some service-oriented chain businesses. In retail, dining and many service categories, chain businesses...

 in the Midwestern United States
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....

 and in the New York metropolitan area
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...

, and the first of its kind in the US. It is known for its small, square hamburgers. Sometimes referred to as "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...

", the burgers were priced at five cents
Cent (currency)
In many national currencies, the cent is a monetary unit that equals 1⁄100 of the basic monetary unit. Etymologically, the word cent derives from the Latin word "centum" meaning hundred. Cent also refers to a coin which is worth one cent....

 until the 1940s, and remained at ten cents for years thereafter. For several years, when the original burgers sold for five cents, White Castle periodically ran promotional ads in local newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

s which contained coupons offering five burgers for ten cents, takeout only.

History

White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

. Cook Walter A. Anderson partnered with insurance man Edgar Waldo "Billy" Ingram to make White Castle into a chain of restaurants and market White Castle. At the time, Americans were hesitant to eat ground beef
Ground beef
Beef mince, ground beef, hamburger meat , hamburg or minced meat is a minced meat food, made of beef finely chopped by a mincer. It is used in many recipes including hamburgers and cottage pie...

 after Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. , was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle . It exposed conditions in the U.S...

's 1906 novel The Jungle
The Jungle
The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by journalist Upton Sinclair. Sinclair wrote the novel with the intention of portraying the life of the immigrant in the United States, but readers were more concerned with the large portion of the book pertaining to the corruption of the American meatpacking...

had publicized the poor sanitation practices of the meat packing industry
Meat packing industry
The meat packing industry handles the slaughtering, processing, packaging, and distribution of animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep and other livestock...

. The founders set out to change the public's perception of the cleanliness of the industry. To invoke a feeling of cleanliness, their restaurants were small buildings with white porcelain enamel on steel exteriors, stainless steel interiors, and employees outfitted with spotless uniforms. Their first restaurants in Wichita, Kansas, were a success, and the company branched out into other Midwestern markets, starting in 1922 with El Dorado, Kansas
El Dorado, Kansas
El Dorado is a city situated along the Walnut River in the central part of Butler County, located in south-central Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,021. It is the county seat and most populous city of Butler County...

. White Castle Building No. 8
White Castle Building No. 8
White Castle Building Number 8 is a White Castle restaurant building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was one of the few prefabricated, portable buildings built by the chain, and is presently operated as an accordion store....

, originally built in 1936 and remodeled (photo, right), was an example of the chain's prefabricated porcelain buildings. The building measured 28 feet (8.5 m) by 28 feet (8.5 m) and was made to resemble the Chicago Water Tower
Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower is a contributing property in the Old Chicago Water Tower District landmark district. It is located at 806 North Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile shopping district in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois...

, with octagonal buttresses, crenelated towers, and a parapet wall.

Anderson is credited with invention of the hamburger bun as well as "the kitchen as assembly line, and the cook as infinitely replaceable technician," hence giving rise to the modern fast food phenomenon. Due to White Castle's innovation of having chain-wide standardized methods, customers could be sure that they would receive the same product and service in every White Castle restaurant. As Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 did for car manufacturing, Anderson and Ingram did for the making of burgers.

Anderson developed an efficient method for cooking hamburgers, using freshly ground beef and fresh onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

s. The ground beef was formed into balls by machine, eighteen to a pound, or forty per kilogram. The balls were placed upon a hot grill and topped with a handful of fresh, thinly shredded onion. Then they were flipped so that the onion was under the ball. The ball was then squashed down, turning the ball into a very thin patty. The bottom of the bun was then placed atop the cooking patty with the other half of the bun on top of that so that the juices and steam from the beef and the onion would permeate the bun. After grilling, a slice of dill pickle
Pickled cucumber
A pickled cucumber is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation.-Gherkin:A gherkin is not only...

 was inserted before serving. Management decreed that any condiments, such as ketchup
Ketchup
Ketchup is a sweet-and-tangy condiment typically made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and an assortment of...

 or mustard
Mustard (condiment)
Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant...

, were to be added by the customer. Anderson's method is not in use by the chain today, having changed when the company switched from using fresh beef and fresh onion to small, frozen square patties (originally supplied by Swift & Company
Swift & Company
Swift & Company is an American food procession company a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S.A. , a Brazilian company that is the world's largest processor of fresh beef and pork, with more than US$30 billion in annual sales as of 2010. It is also the largest beef processor in Australia.Swift &...

) which are cooked atop a bed of rehydrated onions laid out on a grill. The heat and steam rises up from the grill, through the onions. In 1951, five holes in the patty were added to facilitate quick and thorough cooking. The very thin patties are not flipped throughout this process.

Since fast food was unknown in the United States in that era, there was no infrastructure to support the business, as is common with today's fast food restaurants. The company established centralized bakeries, meat supply plants, and warehouses to supply itself. It was said that the only thing they did not do themselves was raise the cows and grow their own wheat. Ingram developed a machine to create previously unheard of paper hats. In 1932 Ingram set up a subsidiary, Paperlynen to make these hats and other paper products used in their own restaurants as well as for many other purposes. In 1955, Paperlynen produced over 42 million paper hats worldwide with more than 25,000 different inscriptions. They also created a subsidiary in 1934 named Porcelain Steel Buildings that manufactured movable, prefabricated steel frame structures with porcelain enamel interior and exterior panels that could be assembled at any White Castle restaurant site. This is the first known use of this material in a building design.

The company also began publishing its own internal employee magazine, the White Castle Official House Organ, circa November 1925 (originally named The Hot Hamburger). The bulk of the material was contributed by Castle personnel, mostly letters and photographs of workers, promotional announcements, 25-year milestones and retirements, etc., arranged by geographic area. "Employees could...read about the progress and innovations made by those in other Areas which made everyone aware of the entire System's direction and condition." The House Organ was published quarterly at least through the early 1980s, and at some point was renamed The Slider Times. The Ohio Historical Society
Ohio Historical Society
The Ohio Historical Society is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1885 as The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society "to promote a knowledge of archaeology and history, especially in Ohio"...

 houses an extensive archive of White Castle System, Inc. records from 1921–1991, including issues dating from 1927 to 1970 of the White Castle House Organ.

Ingram's business savvy not only was responsible for White Castle's success, but for the popularization of the hamburger.

In 1933, Ingram bought out Anderson, and the following year the company moved its corporate headquarters to Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

. The company remains privately held and its restaurants are company-owned; they are not franchised
Franchising
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....

 in the United States. Co-founder Billy Ingram was followed as head of the firm by his son E. W. Ingram, Jr. and grandson E. W. Ingram, III.

In concurrence with its 80th anniversary in 2001, White Castle started its Cravers' Hall of Fame. "Cravers" are inducted annually based on stories that are submitted about them, either for them by another person or by that particular Craver. Between five and ten stories have been chosen each year with a grand total of 64 stories being selected through the 2007 induction class, less than 1% of the total stories submitted since the inception of the Cravers' Hall of Fame.

Ingram's steadfast refusal to franchise or take on debt resulted in the chain remaining relatively small, with a very discontinuous geography compared to most chains. There are over 420 White Castle outlets, all in the United States and specifically in the Midwest and Tennessee, except for a significant discontinuous smattering of outlets in the New York metropolitan region, compared with about 32,000 McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

. The company, which is now run by Ingram's grandson, nonetheless has the fast-food industry's second-highest sales revenues per store, trailing only McDonald's.

Marketing

White Castle also markets its sandwiches in 30-hamburger boxes, dubbed a Crave Case. The figure of thirty burgers represents the number that can be produced on one of its standard grills at the same time. In some stores, a "Crave Crate" is offered, with the contents being 100 burgers.

Every year on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

 White Castle offers to reserve a candlelit table for two, complete with a server.

In 2003, White Castle unveiled a new logo
Logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

, and has been promoting the slogan "What You Crave" since 1994.

Typically, the breakfast menu is available from 5:00 AM until 10:30 AM, but some stores have attempted to boost overnight sales and start breakfast service as early as midnight. The regular menu is available 24 hours a day. (Some restaurants have started closing at 1 am on weeknights and only staying open all night on Friday and Saturday.)

Although White Castle originated in Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

, the city no longer has one, nor is there a White Castle restaurant in the entire state of Kansas. White Castle is one of the few restaurant chains that doesn't have a location in its original city, but residents are currently trying to bring the chain back to Wichita.

See also

  • White Castle Building No. 8
    White Castle Building No. 8
    White Castle Building Number 8 is a White Castle restaurant building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was one of the few prefabricated, portable buildings built by the chain, and is presently operated as an accordion store....

     – A historic White Castle located in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

    .
  • Krystal
    Krystal (restaurant)
    Krystal is an American fast food restaurant chain known for their small, square hamburger sliders with steamed-in onions and 24/7 business hours. Krystal is often described as the Southern equivalent of the Midwest American hamburger chain White Castle...

  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is a 2004 American stoner film and the first installment in the Harold & Kumar series...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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