White Castle inducts 76 team members from nine states into its 25 Year Club tonight at a banquet following its annual meeting. The family-owned company has carried on this annual tradition since 1946, when founder E.W.
“Billy” Ingram celebrated his 25th year at the helm.
"It is a very special honor to be inducted into the 25 Year Club,'' says president and CEO Bill Ingram, who will present each inductee with a watch of his or her choice. "My grandfather joined this distinguished club in 1946, my father in 1959, and I finally achieved the goal in 1997.”
Over the past 64 years, 1,509 White Castle team members have earned this distinctive honor, including the 676 members on the active payroll, the 494 retired or resigned, and the 339 who have passed away.
“As a family-owned company, White Castle places a high value on loyalty and experience,” Ingram says. “We are incredibly proud that today more than 6 percent of our 11,000 active team members have been part of our family for 25 years or longer.”
Most members of the “Class of 2010” began their careers with White Castle in 1985. Ronald Reagan was president. “Back to the Future” was the highest grossing film. Live Aid concerts raised $50 million for Ethiopian famine relief. Microsoft released the first version of Windows. And gas cost just $1.09 per gallon.
“Induction into the 25 Year Club is one of White Castle’s highest honors,” Ingram says. “Members are treated with respect and reverence by all of our team members. They’ve earned it.”
To show its appreciation, White Castle rolled out the red carpet for inductees over the past four days during the company's annual meeting. The company paid for all incoming members' travel, hotel accommodations, and special meals and provided tours of the White Castle Home Office and PSB Company facility.
Celebrations culminate tonight with a limousine ride to the awards banquet attended by the new inductees, local active and retired 25 Year Club members, and company executives.
The “Class of 2010” includes two team members from Columbus restaurant operations, 11 from Chicago, 14 from Cincinnati, eight from Detroit, three from Indianapolis, three from Louisville, two from Minneapolis/St. Paul, five from New Jersey, seven from New York, six from St. Louis, five from the Rensselaer, Indiana, bakery division, one from the Orleans, Indiana, meat plant, and nine from the Columbus-based home office.
The team members hold a wide variety of positions, ranging from the vice president and general manager of the WCDI frozen food division to restaurant district and general managers and team members who have provided unceasing loyalty and dedicated service to customers in the restaurants for the past quarter century.