White Castle was founded by Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram in Wichita, Kansas in 1921. Prior to founding White Castle, Anderson operated hamburger stands in and around Wichita. Anderson met Ingram, an insurance salesperson who saw potential —and profitability — in Anderson’s famous hamburgers.
At the time, fast-food restaurants as we know them did not exist. In the early 20th century, dining at a restaurant was often considered a luxury only for the wealthy. Additionally, Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel, “The Jungle,” made many question the cleanliness of the food industry as a whole. Though White Castle faced an uphill battle from the beginning, it managed to win over the public with food for the everyman in a sparkling clean environment.