White Castle, a family-owned business since 1921, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for the recently completed expansion of its retail food manufacturing plant in Vandalia, Ohio, just outside of Dayton. The plant, named “The House That Bill Built” in honor of former president and CEO Bill Ingram, supplies packaged frozen sliders to retailers, large and small, in all 50 states.
White Castle invested more than $27 million in the expansion, which doubled the size of the facility from 75,000 square feet to approximately 150,000 square feet. The project, which took just over a year to complete, will add 75 jobs to the current workforce of 160 once the new production lines are fully operational.
The city of Vandalia, JobsOhio, the Ohio Department of Development, Montgomery County and the Dayton/Montgomery County Port Authority all played a part in making the expansion project possible.
“We continue to see a growing demand in all markets for our retail sliders,” says Dave Rife, chief manufacturing officer at White Castle and a fourth-generation family member. “This expansion gives us the capacity we need to ensure grocery stores and retail outlets across the U.S. have the White Castle products they need to satisfy their customers’ cravings.”
White Castle broke ground on the project in July 2021 during a ceremony attended by members of the Ingram family as well as officials from Vandalia, the Dayton region and JobsOhio. White Castle leaders dedicated the building to Bill Ingram, a third-generation family member who served as president from 1980 to 2015 and was responsible for creating and expanding the retail division.
During the early years of Bill’s tenure as president and CEO, he noticed how more and more customers were taking Sliders home from White Castle restaurants and freezing them for future meals. In response, he suggested White Castle sell its famous sliders as a frozen food in grocery stores across the country. Some industry experts scoffed at his idea, but true to his reputation as an innovator, Bill forged ahead. White Castle introduced its retail division in 1987, becoming the first fast-food restaurant to offer its menu items for purchase at grocery stores for preparation at home.
According to White Castle’s current president and CEO, Bill’s daughter Lisa Ingram, Bill wanted to make sure sliders were available to everyone, even to people who didn’t live in a White Castle restaurant market. Naming the enlarged manufacturing plant after him was a fitting way to honor the role he played in growing the family-owned business.
Over the years, White Castle has invested heavily in the supply chain that feeds both its restaurant and retail divisions. It owns and operates its own bakeries, meat processing plants and frozen-food manufacturing plants. The strategy helps ensure that the Sliders available at food retailers nationwide offer the same high quality and great taste as Sliders sold in the Castles. White Castle’s retail product lineup includes the Original Slider, Cheese Sliders, Jalapeño Cheese Sliders and Chicken Breast Sliders.