‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the …

Before you say “house,” you might want to listen to White Castle’s newly released digital storybook, Twas the Night Before Cravemas. In this new take on an old classic, the night before Christmas takes place in a Castle, as in one of White Castle’s iconic restaurants.

White Castle, a family-owned business and the first fast-food hamburger chain in the U.S., will release this special version of the beloved poem and holiday classic tomorrow as a fundraiser for “Change is on the Menu.” This national campaign, launched by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, supports restaurant industry workers who have struggled financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss narrates the story, which describes St. Nicholas sneaking through a drive-thru window to enjoy the famous steam-grilled taste of White Castle’s tiny square hamburgers, called Sliders. Dreyfuss, a long-time White Castle fan, offered to narrate the poem since it was developed as a fundraiser for restaurant industry workers.

“When I learned White Castle was doing something to help restaurant workers across the country, I wanted to be part of it,” Dreyfuss says. “The restaurant industry has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and working with White Castle on this project is one way I can help some of the people who have experienced significant hardship this year.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 8 million restaurant workers across the nation have been laid off or lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic in March. In addition, 17% of restaurants in the U.S. – more than 110,000 – have closed, and 58% of chain and independent full-service establishments expect continued furloughs and layoffs, at least for the next three months.

“We’ve been fortunate at White Castle because we’ve been able to keep our drive-thru open throughout the pandemic, and our dedicated team members and craver fans have really been there for us,” adds Jamie Richardson, a vice president at White Castle. “Despite ongoing challenges, business results have started to stabilize for us. We know other restaurants aren’t able to open and, consequently, thousands of restaurant employees have lost their jobs and suffered financially. We want to do what we can to help.”

There is no cost to view ‘Twas the Night Before Cravemas on FacebookInstagram and YouTube, but White Castle is encouraging donations to the “Change is on the Menu” campaign. The money raised through the campaign will be used to provide restaurant workers with programs and resources to rebuild their lives and improve their futures. A donation link will be available alongside each video, and White Castle will donate $1 per view up to $25,000 from this initiative.

White Castle conducted another fundraiser for restaurant workers in May. It hosted a virtual dance party, dubbed the Slider Jam, as a way to celebrate National Slider Day, thank its team members for their work during the pandemic, and raise money for the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Employees Relief Fund. That effort raised more than $10,000.

“This is a time unlike any other, and we invite all of our competitors and colleagues who are able and willing to join us in supporting restaurant workers who are hurting,” Richardson says. 

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