Daily Insights

Outside the (White) Castle

By: Mackenzie Baker | Jan 20, 2021

While many may not be able to sit inside a restaurant this Valentine’s Day, brands are rolling out the red carpet nonetheless. White Castle is one of the first brands to unveil its new holiday dining plan, which is less drive thru and more “drive in”. 

Restrictions on indoor dining in most states across the U.S. had led White Castle to readjust its long-running Valentine’s Day meal offerings at its 300 brick and mortar locations. Its 2021 holiday special invites consumers to book a socially distanced date at any of its locations, where they will be directed to a parking space and given a “classic drive in experience”, complete with a carhop waitressing service. The “Slider Lover’s Point” event campaign could help the fast-casual restaurant brand maintain appeal during the pandemic and potentially inspire other brands to realign their holiday traditions with current circumstances. Creating a retro-themed holiday event also allows White Castle to tap into consumer demand for nostalgia during the Coronavirus pandemic, which could draw more diners and help raise awareness for the Valentine’s Day celebration. 

The pandemic has disrupted daily life and special holidays for the past year, so when brands like White Castle step up to the plate to present a touch of normalcy, it could resonate with consumers. Continuing its Valentine’s Day tradition for the 30th year also allows White Castle to engage with consumers through happier memories, which in turn could boost awareness for the brand. To build up its campaign experience, White Castle partnered with OpenTable to organize reservations and with Spotify to create its “Slider Lover’s Luv Channel”, which includes a mix of romantic songs, shoutouts to loved ones, and personal stories from loyal customers. Consumers who would like stories included on the channel can submit theirs to White Castle via Instagram or Twitter anytime before February 14. With consumers spending more time on their smart devices, virtual channels present a prime opportunity for engagement and interaction, according to a Gartner report. As such, promoting Slider Lover’s Point on various social and digital media platforms could drive more consumers to White Castle’s drive-in and help the brand boost its online presence. 

White Castle’s Valentine’s Day celebration merges tradition with trends, allowing the brand to stay true to its core marketing strategy while staying up to date with consumer preferences.