Fast Food Restaurants

Walter Anderson was born to immigrant parents from Sweden in Kansas in 1880. Walter was a college dropout who spent much of his young adult years in dead-end jobs. He was an aspiring entrepreneur but failed at both a restaurant and a traveling stage show.

He finally settled down when he married and began a family. He got a job at a diner. One of the items on the menu was called a hamburger, but we would think of it as a meatball today served between slices of bread. Walter hated making the hamburger because it took so long to fry. Frustrated, he flattened the meatball into the patty shape we now think of as hamburgers. Customers loved it.

Walter decided to open his own restaurant, selling hamburgers for five cents. The restaurant struggled initially because he could only buy one day’s worth of meat at a time.

Walter was an innovator and came up with innovations still in use today including:

  • Cooking multiple hamburgers at one time.
  • Gutters to contain grease.
  • Adding other toppings to the hamburger.
  • Creating a bun to serve the hamburger in.
  • Providing for take-out orders.

Perhaps the greatest innovation was the concept of the fast food restaurant. Walter and a partner established a business called White Castle as a way of expanding the concept of serving hamburgers. The business exploded in spite of the Great Depression. This was the first time that people could order food from their car and take it home.

Walter eventually sold his share of the business to his partner and devoted his business interests to aircraft.

Beginnings often result from a spur-of-the-moment action. Flattening the meatball into a patty created a major impact on society in not only food but the way food is sold.

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            “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown (Author)

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