White Castle Adds Beer and Wine to the Menu

By Jim Cohen | December 23, 2011 | 0 Comments |
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What’s going on with large food chains around the country? It seems like everyone is bucking the trend of not serving alcohol. Think about it, within the last year we have seen: Duane Reade, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Sonic, and even Burger King get into the mix. White Castle (you know from that movie where the Indian and Asian guy get really high?) has decided to jump on the bandwagon and serve beer.

As with any of the large chains, White Castle is considering a range of options that might be added to its restaurants in order to increase revenue. It is testing beer and wine sales at its Lafayette, Indiana store. After all, why wouldn’t you want to drink beer when eating delicious sliders?

According to the Columbus Dispatch: The experiment could be viewed as an effort by the 90-year-old company to remain competitive in an increasingly difficult and crowded restaurant industry, said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant-industry analyst with the NPD Group, a food-service research firm.

“It’s been a very challenging time in the restaurant industry in recent years, and folks are trying all kinds of ways of driving traffic into their restaurants and increasing sales,” Riggs said. “Fast-casual restaurants have done well during these times as fast-food restaurants have struggled, so you’re seeing fast-food companies trying to compete by raising the bar to meet a wider variety of needs.”

In addition to adding beer and wine to the menu, White Castle is experimenting with three other concepts. Blaze Modern BBQ, offers traditional barbecue dishes including brisket, pulled chicken and smoked turkey, baked beans and potato salad; Deckers, which offers pressed sandwiches with fillings such as Italian meats, turkey pesto, French onion beef, veggies and peanut butter and jelly; and Laughing Noodle, which offers traditional Asian food (a la Panda Express).

Domestic beer costs $3.00 and wine costs $4.50. Alcohol, in general, is very profitable for operators of bars and restaurants. Chipotle from its inception has served beer (at selected locations), which has increased its profit margins. White Castle hopes to replicate their success.

Of course, at the end of the day, the idea has yet to be tested fully. If people who frequent look to use White Castle as a party location instead of the drunk munchies location, it could get ugly. However, I guess there may be something to say about beer and burgers going together. One thing we can be sure of, you won’t see us mixing a Bordeaux with our White Castle.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

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