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White Castle Case Analysis

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Background Information

Hmm.... What can $700.00 get you? Well in 1921, with $700.00 of borrowed money, the first White Castle opens in Wichita, Kansas offering hamburgers at the unbelievable price of .05 apiece. It was founded by the late E.W. "Billy" Ingram and is currently run by another relative, E.W. Ingram III, who is the president and chief executive officer of White Castle. In the 1930's, a scientific study known as Craveology begins and White Castle hires a renowned food scientist from a Big Ten University to run tests to determine the nutritional value of White Castle Slyders. The Slyder secret burgers are steamed on a bed of onions, served hot on a soft, white steamed bun with a single slice of dill pickle. Does that sound good? Is your mouth watering yet? More to come.

Review of Product

White Castle believes in their product and the great taste. The White Castle

hamburger is 100% beef from American grown beef inspected and U.S. graded.

Its unique shape is compressed into squares with five holes to cook quickly. Also,

White Castle is famous for their method of steam cooking their hamburgers. White

Castle takes pride in how they package their product. White Castle developed a

crush-resistant cardboard carton. These cardboard containers promote the carry out

idea by ensuring each sandwich reaches its destination looking and tasting as fresh

as when it came off the grill.

New Product

Since 1921, White Castle has solely concentrated on hamburgers and every year

they seem to work on something new to target the market. The following are a few ideas:

1. New Castle Meal - This was especially targeted for children. This meal included a hamburger or cheeseburger, fries, soft drink and a free surprise for the children.

2. "The ability to order dozens of hamburgers for delivery by air express. So therefore, frozen fresh White Castle burgers were able to be delivered across the country." (White Castle, 2001)

Relevant Facts

* Original Fast-Food Hamburger Chain

* Has served since 1968 2 billion burgers more than any other hamburger chain in the United States

* Is the first quick service restaurant to offer pre-cooked hamburgers in grocery stores

* Their hamburgers and cheeseburgers are introduced to vending machines.

Current Situation

White Castle needs to continually reassess marketing strategies particularly its

pricing and promotional activities to determine what approach will be most effective in

the future. Since 1930, Craveology was the last big promotion White Castle has

advertised. White Castle may need to change their market, since many people have

changed their eating habits. People are becoming more meat conscious and are eating

healthier, as far as organic products and soy products. Maybe they should consider

making their milkshakes with soymilk. It is a thought...

Internet Research

When someone usually thinks of White Castle restaurants they usually imagine those steamed "Slyder's" as they like to call it. They are 2.5" square patty made with 100% USDA beef. What make them special are the five evenly spaced holes, which allow the steam to encompass the burger. This may not sound healthy but compared to other fast food restaurants, it is. For example, one double hamburger from White Castle has 285 calories while the McDonald's quarter pounder w/ cheese is 530 calories, the Whopper w/cheese from Burger King is 780 calories, and the big bacon classic from Wendy's carries 580 calories (Heath Check, 1997).

In 2003, there are a total of 340 White Castle Restaurants located through out the United States. With the growing number of other fast food establishments each year, White Castle still remains very competitive even though their menu remains the same. While other fast food restaurants are offering new healthier products such as salads, chicken, baked potatoes and yogurt, White Castle has added a chicken, fish, and breakfast sandwich to comply with this growing demand. Of course, they still offer cheeseburgers, chicken rings, onion chips, cheese sticks, French fries and shakes which keep customers coming back (White Castle, 2001). Over 500 million hamburgers are sold each year, that's what we call a masterpiece.

Fun Facts

What would a hamburger be without the bun? Lucky for us, we never have to find out. White Castle owns and operates three bakeries in Rensselaer, Indiana, Evendale, Ohio, and Carteret, New Jersey. These bakeries produce the special small, soft, white bread buns that help to deliver the distinctive steam-grilled goodness that has made our hamburgers famous! (White Castle, 2001)

Building History

Is that a real castle? You betcha. White Castle's medieval motif was inspired by Chicago's famous Water Tower. Original White Castles sported rooftop battlements and a turret

Good looking on the inside and out, the name, White Castle was chosen to signify purity and cleanliness.

SWOT Analysis


* Convenience. Opened 24-hours-a-day. Consumers avoid high involvement decisions.

* Unique taste. Small, steamed bite-size burgers, which are different in appearance and taste from competitors' burgers.

* Low personnel turnover. Ten percent of employees have 10



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