S4E29. How White Castle Built an Iconic, Memorable Brand with Jamie Richardson & John Kelley

Guess who turned 100 years old in 2021? White Castle, the famous hamburger restaurant.

One thing is true: Those who love White Castle will always have a story to tell. Jamie Richardson, VP of Marketing and Public Relations, and John Kelley, Chief People Officer, are going to share some of those stories.

White Castle, America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, has been making hot and tasty sliders as a family-owned business for 100 years. Currently based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle started serving the original slider in 1921. Today, White Castle owns and operates more than 360 restaurants dedicated to satisfying customer cravings morning, noon, and night. In 2021, Fast Company named White Castle as one of the ten most innovative dining companies.

Maintaining the culture of a family-owned business over that amount of time and that many restaurants is no small feat, but from the moment White Castle was founded, Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram wanted to build a different kind of company. It was their belief that happy team members led to happy customers, and that was the bedrock of the business. It’s an ideology that has been passed on through the family and through future executives. It has evolved over time, but treating everyone like family has always remained constant.

If you want one piece of evidence that White Castle means something special to people, just look at their grand opening events. When they opened a restaurant in Orlando, Florida people waited 4-5 hours in line to get some food. Of course, there’s the taste of their product, but White Castle means something to people beyond just the food. It’s a testament to their branding and culture that they’re still so well known and highly regarded after all this time.

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