We Finally Know Why White Castle Hamburgers Are So Darn Cheap!
Fast food burgers just aren’t as cheap as they used to be. The New York Post estimates that fast food burger prices have climbed as much as 54 percent over the last decade or so. This is largely due to the emergence of fast casual restaurants and pricier burger chains like Shake Shack and Five Guys. But even if you’ve only got a few bucks to spare, White Castle can definitely cover your burger cravings — and you can still afford to buy fries and a drink to boot.
White Castle’s sliders might not be as cheap as they were back when the brand first came onto the scene in 1921 — after all, you could buy five sliders for a dime back in the day. But they’re definitely still a bargain, you have to admit. According to Fast Food Menu Prices, a White Castle customer can buy a classic slider for just 72 cents and a cheese slider for 90 cents. Today’s slider is almost double the price it was in 1990, but a McDonald’s hamburger in 1990 still cost twice as much as a White Castle slider today.
So how does White Castle keep prices so low? The long and short of it is the fact that the company believes in keeping things small: Small stores, small menu, and a nearly non-existent advertising presence. In 1991, White Castle’s then-director of marketing Christopher Thomas said the brand was committed to primarily doing one thing — selling burgers. As he put it:
“We’re a hamburger chain. We’ve never digressed from that. That’s where some of the others got lost, in chicken, pizza, pasta. They want every dollar out there.”
So what’s the takeaway here? Long story short — White Castle can keep the prices of its sliders low because they’ve built a business they’re nearly 100 percent in control of. Again: That’s so smart, and so simple.