White Castle breaks ground on $27M expansion to double size of Vandalia food plant

A White Castle "town crier" "christens" ground about to be broken for construction with grilled onions. The White Castle food plant in Vandalia will double in size. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
A White Castle "town crier" "christens" ground about to be broken for construction with grilled onions. The White Castle food plant in Vandalia will double in size. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

‘Sales are through the roof,” exec says

With a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, White Castle launched a $27 million expansion at its Vandalia food plant that will double the plant’s size and add up to 75 more workers.

The expansion is fueled by strong retail growth, itself fueled by a pandemic that saw more people eating at home — and buying frozen White Castle sliders at grocery stores.

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“Sales are through the roof,” said Tiffany Carreker, White Castle’s general manager and vice president of sales. “We couldn’t be happier with how many consumers have become cravers.”

“We’re going to double the size of this plant, add a lot of jobs, add some new capacity‚” said David Rife, vice president of manufacturing and the oldest member of the fourth generation of the family that has owned White Castle for 100 years. Rife’s great grandfather started the company.

Construction equipment awaits at White Castle's Capstone Way plant. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Construction equipment awaits at White Castle's Capstone Way plant. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Today, about 140 people work at the Capstone Way plant. The expansion will add two production lines at a facility that’s already quite busy. Bill Ingram, former White Castle chief executive and father of current CEO Lisa Ingram, said the Vandalia plant recently set a record, producing 500,000 sandwiches in a single day.

Construction will start Wednesday, weather permitting.

“It’s an amazing story when you think about it,” Rife said. “We started with a couple of little hamburger stands, and here we are today with 368 restaurants, eight manufacturing plants and we’re feeding cravers all over the country.”

Shovels for the groundbreaking at the ready. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Shovels for the groundbreaking at the ready. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Columbus-based White Castle broke ground for the original 100,000-square-foot facility near the Dayton International Airport in the summer of 2012, and company officials have said that operation, with about 160 employees, has proven over the years to be a good investment for the business.

Located on 17 acres off U.S. 40 and Peters Pike, the Vandalia plant was designed to produce more than 16,000 hamburgers per hour per production line. The plant opened in late 2013, quickly hiring more than 100 employees in early days.

Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority trustees last year approved involvement in the project, unanimously approving a capital lease structure that will shield the White Castle expansion from sales taxes on materials purchased for construction in Vandalia.

The 99-year-old fast food chain and food producer says it “pioneered” the fast food hamburger and later the frozen distribution of its iconic Slider.