COLUMBUS, Ohio – White Castle is making it easier for its customers to find food safety inspection scores for their local White Castle restaurant. The hamburger chain recently published a website called WhiteCastleClean.com that includes inspection reports and scores from all of its locations. The company said the website is a 21st century representation of the commitment to food safety made by its founder Billy Ingram, about 95 years ago.
“The commitment to food safety, cleanliness and total transparency in our efforts are critical aspects of serving our customers and are the foundation upon which founder Billy Ingram built our family owned business,” Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, said in a statement. “As we celebrate our 95th birthday, we are reaffirming our commitment to these values and I can think of no greater commitment than to be the first restaurant to offer our health scores online.”
White Castle said the site will be updated biannually, and the most recent scores will be posted to the site. Richardson noted that budget constraints have led some counties to abandon inspection score websites. White Castle created the site for customers’ interested in viewing the health inspection scores of their local White Castle restaurants.
“Online health scores are common for most but not all counties and cities,” Richardson said. “Restaurant inspection and health scores are handled at a county and municipal level. So while there is a semblance of a universal standard; there are unique differences in how the scores are assigned at each county across the United States.”
WhiteCastleClean.com comes as Chipotle Mexican Grill works to regain consumer — and investor — trust in the wake of several foodborne illness outbreaks and a federal criminal probe. Speaking to Nation’s Restaurant News, Richardson said the launch of the website was unrelated to Chipotle’s food safety problems. Rather, the website was created as a sort of defense of the restaurant industry. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that that from 2009-2012, 65 percent of norovirus outbreaks [like the one that affected a Chipotle restaurant in Boston] caused by contaminated food happened in restaurants.
White Castle said the company has been an innovator and a leading advocate for food safety and cleanliness initiatives in the foodservice industry. The company said Ingram’s use of stainless-steel counters was an industry first; and he was among the first foodservice operators to establish uniform and hygiene standards for White Castle employees.
Building upon those innovations in food safety, White Castle established company owned and operated bakeries and meat processing plants, in addition to plant that manufacture and package White Castle products sold at grocery and convenience stores, the company said.
Currently, White Castle operates 400 restaurants in 13 states in addition to two dedicated Crave Mobile food trucks that serve White Castle products at special events.