White Castle tops plant-based food report card


Emma Liem, RestaurantDive

Feb. 1, 2019


Dive Brief:


·         The Good Food Institute has ranked Jamba Juice and White Castle as the top performers in its second annual The Good Food Restaurant Scorecard, awarding the chains scores of 9 out of 10. Panera was a close third at 8.75 points, followed by Yard House at 8.5 points.

·         GFI evaluates the top 100 U.S. restaurant chains based on the number of plant-based items on their menus and how successfully they advertise these entrees to mainstream diners.

·         "Plant-based burgers from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been hot on menus for a while, but no restaurant has yet featured a breakout plant-based chicken, seafood, or egg dish," Alison Rabschnuk, GFI director of corporate engagement, said in a company release. "The brands that launch these kinds of dishes first will gain a lot of positive PR and attention on social media and will open themselves up to new customers looking for more plant-based variety."


Dive Insight:


Rabschnuk's argument that embracing plant-based meal options can pique consumer attention has been especially true for White Castle. Since rolling out its Impossible Slider — made with meat-free Impossible patties that look, taste and "bleed" like real beef — to all 377 of its locations, more than 60,000 consumers have signed a petition urging McDonald's to do the same. When the chain initially debuted the product, VP Jamie Richardson said that some locations were selling as many as 300 Impossible Sliders per day.


Not only does White Castle's inclusion of the popular vegetarian option on its menu give it a first-mover advantage in the competitive fast food space, it also gives its brand halo extra shine. Today's consumers are increasingly turning to meat alternatives because of environmental sustainability and animal welfare concerns, hot button issues the burger chain can now add to its marketing arsenal if it chooses to.


Competitors are following suit...


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