White Castle isn't waffling in morning food fight offering new items, free trip abroad

By Food and BeverageFOXBusiness

White Castle V.P.: Happy to welcome McDonald’s to all-day breakfast

White Castle V.P. Jamie Richardson on the fast-food chain’s all-day breakfast menu and competition from McDonald’s.

The fast-food breakfast wars could get you a free trip to Europe.

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If you like waffle sandwiches and traveling, White Castle -- home of the "slider" -- wants to stoke these interests with its new line-up of Belgian Waffle Sliders and Winning Waffle Sweepstakes.

In a press release today, White Castle announced that “Cravers” who purchase one of its waffle items between Aug. 29 and Nov. 4 will be entered for a chance to win several prizes such as White Castle gift cards and a chance at the grand prize: a trip for two to Belgium. All that’s needed is a receipt for proof of purchase, which can be uploaded to thewinningwaffle.com

In an interview with FOXBusiness.com, White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson said, “We think that customers who love the Castle here should be able to see a different kind of castle. We [also] think there’s something magical about every trip to White Castle and we want to be able to reward one lucky customer with a chance to get over to Belgium.”

He added: “Why not go to where the waffle was made famous?”

When it comes to sales, Richardson said the Belgian Waffle Slider lineup was a limited-time item in 2018, but demand was so high, White Castle decided to add it to the everyday menu. He also pointed out that White Castle’s expanding breakfast menu and all-day availability has greatly contributed to profits.

“Because we have smaller sandwiches, it’s not all or nothing at the Castle. Customers have room to explore their taste preferences and what feels right at the moment,” Richardson said. “So, you get that breakfast waffle sandwich along with a double cheese slider or whatever else you want. Morning, afternoon or night, we think it gives more opportunity or choice.”

This tactic he explained, really connects with millennial and Gen Z customers. In his own words, “What they crave most is convenience and flexibility.”

He also acknowledged that breakfast menu expansion makes White Castle competitive with other big names in the fast-food industry.

“In the old days, we started with four menu items in 1921. Today, customers want more and we also find that they’re craving different tastes,” Richardson explained.

For the Belgian Waffle Slider lineup in particular, it has been strategically priced to remain competitive. At most White Castle franchises, customers can get two of these sliders for $3. The logic behind this according to Richardson, is that it extends a good deal to customers and allows them to try something new without a big risk.

“You shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home to enjoy a great sandwich,” he said jokingly.

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In a world where fast food establishments are trying to capitalize on breakfast  --  NPD Group data reports that morning meal traffic has increased 3% to 5% since 2013 -- White Castle isn’t alone in its love for waffles. Last week, Burger King introduced a Mapple Waffle Breakfast Sandwich and days before that Tim Hortons released a Blueberry Waffle Breakfast Sandwich.

Even Taco Bell tried a waffle taco in 2014 until it was subsequently replaced by a biscuit. Dunkin’ dabbled in limited-edition waffle sandwiches for National Waffle Day in 2018.

Meanwhile, if fast food breakfast is not to your liking the frozen waffle market is shown to be a growing field in the breakfast category as a whole. According to a report in Business Wire, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s financial servicing company Berkshire Hathaway, the global frozen waffle market is expected to reach a compounded annual growth rate of over 5% from 2018 to 2022.

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