Nothing can stop the Crave. Not the even the pandemic has curbed the insatiable demand for White Castle’s steam-grilled Sliders, which the family-owned company began selling in 1921. If anything, the events over the past year just fueled the Crave.
“Our sales have been so strong,” emphasized Dave Rife, chief manufacturing officer, during Baking & Snack’s visit to its recently upgraded Cincinnati bakery, featured in the magazine’s July issue. “I don’t know of any other brand that has the following we have.”
That was on full display in Orlando, Fla., this spring during the opening of the world’s largest White Castle restaurant when people sat in their cars or stood in line for six hours to feed their crave. Keep in mind, there was a 60-Slider limit. Additionally, sales of its frozen products have soared over the past year. IRI reported that White Castle frozen items surged 22.9% to $288.4 million for the 52 weeks ended May 16, 2021.
Fortunately, White Castle has been upgrading its entire Cincinnati bakery to make it more employee-friendly and increase capacity to around 8,000 dozen buns an hour from 4,800 dozen an hour. The company did it in stages, so it didn’t miss a beat in supplying its restaurants and burgeoning frozen food operations. Looking forward, it plans to do the same to its other bakery in Rensselaer, Ind., while it expands its frozen operations.
This year, White Castle is celebrating its 100th Anniversary with fun promotions that its nation of Cravers enjoy. However, its commitment to its employees and investment in the future will ensure the brand’s growth for years to come.