COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Happy Birthday, White Castle! America's first hamburger chain turns 95 this year and to honor this milestone, it's kicking off a yearlong celebration of "The Crave" by remembering where it all began – with The Original Slider®. This cult classic was dubbed the most influential hamburger by Time in 2014.
"The Crave" is a powerful thing today, but it all began in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas when insurance salesman, Billy Ingram, approached a local cook, Walt Anderson, with a business proposition. The duo partnered to open the first White Castle restaurant at the corner of First and Main streets. Ingram chose the name White Castle to reflect cleanliness, and modeled the restaurant after Chicago's Water Tower Place, a symbol of performance and strength for the family-owned business.
"We're honored to celebrate 95 years with those who mean the most to our brand – our Cravers. We have such a loyal fan base, and we've enjoyed watching it grow in size over the years," said Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle. "From the Cravers Hall of Fame to Valentine's Day, wedding ceremonies and everything in between, many memorable moments have been created at White Castle in its 95 years, and that's priceless to us."
White Castle's original menu featured just four menu items – 5¢ hamburgers (The Original Slider steam grilled with onions), Coca-Cola®, coffee and apple pie. Today, the restaurant chain prides itself on menu diversification and introduces new products to its customers frequently, including a Veggie Slider, dessert on a stick, and Anything, Anytime – a new concept that gives Cravers the option to order anything on the menu, anytime their local White Castle is open.
White Castle is recognized as the original quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain, and has had a tremendous cultural impact on dining. The family-owned company has foregone franchising as a means to expand, and instead, transitioned leadership from generation to generation, a rarity for larger companies. Today, the fourth generation of the Ingram family maintains ownership and continues to steward the business, while adhering to many of White Castle's founding principles and original vision.
The 2"x2" Original Slider itself has inspired an infinite number of imitators, but the dedication of the loyal White Castle customer, or "Craver" as their affectionately known, has created a legacy of the "Crave Culture." Hollywood captured a "Craver quest" in the 2004 cult classic Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, which introduced a new generation of the brand to White Castle. White Castle even honors the most ardent Cravers every year by inducting them into its very own Cravers Hall of Fame.
The regionalized restaurant footprint has fed the legend of White Castle. Its retail food products division gives Cravers nationwide the ability to purchase Sliders from their local grocery store. The company has grown to nearly 400 locations across the United States and in January 2014, opened a Castle in Las Vegas on the Strip that attracted long lines and tremendous fanfare.
To help celebrate the kickoff of the yearlong 95th Birthday Celebration, White Castle is offering Share a Meals® for just $9.95, available in Castles or through online ordering. The meals are a great value and are the perfect solution to satisfying a group of Cravers.
For more information, visit www.whitecastle.com.
About White Castle®
White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain based in Columbus, Ohio, is celebrating 95 years as a family-owned business. The company was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921 serving The Original Slider® which was named the most influential burger of all time in 2014 by Time. All White Castle Sliders are made from 100 percent USDA inspected beef. Today White Castle owns and operates nearly 400 restaurants in 13 states and has two dedicated Crave Mobiles that attended hundreds of events in 2015. White Castle's commitment to maintaining the highest quality products extends to the company owning and operating its own meat processing plants and bakeries as well as three frozen food processing plants. The retail division markets White Castle signature products in grocery, warehouse and convenience stores across the USA and in a growing number of international locations, including military PX's around the world.
WhiteCastle.com is a culture center for Cravers, the chains loyal and passionate fan base, connecting like-minded Slider enthusiasts from around the globe in a social media setting. For more information on White Castle and to see the Craver Hall of Fame, visit whitecastle.com.
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SOURCE White Castle