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White Castle

The fast food industry began in Wichita when J. Walter Anderson developed a new way to cook hamburgers. The original hamburger was more like a large meatball and took a long time to cook. Anderson flattened a ball of ground meat and cooked along with onions on a hot griddle. His new menu took very little time to prepare, leading to "fast" meals.

Anderson and his partner, Billy Ingram, opened White Castle in Wichita in 1921. their business was so successful that they soon opened another White Castle in Kansas City. during the 1920s the company expanded into 12 major cities in the eastern United States. As a chain restaurant, White Castle proved successful because the company developed standards of operation. Anderson created paper hats, paper wrapped hamburgers, a manual for food preparation, and guidelines for employee cleanliness and appearance. Customers could depend on every White Castle to have the same product and service.

White Castles are no longer located in Kansas, but in a number of eastern and central states. They still retain some of the same "white castle" traits that Anderson established.

Entry: White Castle

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2011

Date Modified: May 2019

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.