Wichita businessman turned local taste for cheap, delicious sliders into a food phenomenon
Americans have an insatiable appetite for fast food. Credit — or blame, as the case may be — entrepreneur Billy Ingram. The Colorado native founded the world’s first burger chain , White Castle, in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921. He is widely considered the father of fast food — recognized as its creator by industry media as early as 1957, before most modern fast-food brands were even born.
The United States today has about 190,000 fast-food eateries, according to restaurant industry sources. But only one was the first. “White Castle’s rise to cult status was nothing short of miraculous,” raved burger enthusiast and “Howard Stern Show” radio personality Jon Hein in the debut episode of TV program “Fast Food Mania.”
Ingram pioneered many of the processes, equipment and even marketing techniques that make fast food possible today: delicious, savory and mouth-filling flavors served quickly and affordably with the same taste profile offered by many different locations.