For five years, we've been reading about White Castle's most successful marketing campaign: Valentine's Day at White Castle. On this day, lovers walk into a transformed chain restaurant: red tablecloths, waiters, candles and roses. Well, enough reading; last night we went to see for ourselves.
Walking into a New Jersey-based location at around 7 p.m., we were greeted by a smiling manager who happily showed us to our seats. Sitting at our red-plastic-covered table, we couldn't help but laugh and smile. Our tea-candle was lit and the faux smell of roses filled the air as our waitress came over to hand us the menus. Yes, menus! She, too, had a huge smile on her face and was excited to tell us that this was her first Valentine's Day with the company. She explained the menu to us and even promoted the "Sweetheart Special," which consisted of 10 hamburgers, two fries and two regular drinks. Priced at just $12.49, it was a deal. However, I decided to go with three classic cheeseburgers and take a chance on the Surf & Turf burger with cheese, the fish sandwiched between two burger patties, served with tartar sauce.
After ordering, I took a moment to look around. Every seat was filled with happy people, enjoying their burgers and getting a kick out of the décor. More than half the room was dressed in their date-night best -- women in red sparkling sweaters and men in suits with Valentine's Day-themed ties. There was one group of eight that had been coming to the chain for five years during this special promotion and they were pros -- they even brought their own wine. Who knew White Castle was BYOB?