US – US fast-food chain White Castle is investing US$27 million to expand its retail food manufacturing facility which supplies packaged sliders to food retailers nationwide. 

The project will see the size of the plant double from approximately 75,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet and is expected to be completed by June next year.  

The fast-food chain says when the new production lines are fully operational, the facility will employ an additional 75 people. 

White Castle introduced its retail division in 1987 and claims to have been the first fast-food restaurant to offer its menu items at grocery stores for preparation at home. 

Found in the frozen aisle, White Castle’s retail offerings include the Original Slider, Cheese Sliders, Jalapeño Cheese Sliders, and Chicken Breast Sliders. 

“Our retail division has been growing steadily over the past ten years, and we saw huge growth last year as people cooked and ate at home more during the pandemic,” said Lisa Ingram, president and CEO of White Castle. 

“Having more dedicated space to make more sandwiches will enable us to keep up with the increasing demand for our frozen sliders.” 

White Castle has also renamed the site The House That Bill Built, after the company’s former president and CEO Bill Ingram, who was responsible for launching the retail division. 

General Assembly Pizza enhances the capacity for retail pizza range 

Meanwhile, in Canada, General Assembly Pizza is enhancing production capacity for its retail pizza range in an effort to meet increased retail demand. 

The new capacity comes from a recently procured site that will host GA Pizza’s first dedicated facility for the production of its frozen pizzas which it recently secured. 

Located in Vaughan, Ontario, the facility will produce GA Pizza’s par-baked, naturally leavened freezer-to-table pizzas. To make it production-ready, the facility will be subjected to a full renovation and phased development of a production line. 

The initial line is expected to increase daily production capacity by 150% to 5,000 units per day by the end of Q3 2021. GA Pizza plans to ramp up to 10,00 units per day by year-end. 

Once fully operational in 2022, GA forecasts production to rise to 50,000 units per day – representing a 2,400% increase from its current capacity. 

Prior to this, the company was manufacturing its frozen pizzas from its flagship restaurant, greatly limiting its ability to scale up operations. 

“In our current model – producing our frozen pizzas from our flagship restaurant – capacity has been constrained with demand greatly outpacing supply, so the timing couldn’t be better,” said Ali Khan Lalani, CEO and founder of General Assembly Pizza. 

“The master production facility will allow GA Pizza to scale production significantly and meet our growing wholesale and consumer demand – not to mention the benefits of operating at scale and reactivating our restaurant and off-premise channels.” 

Shifting consumer packaged goods production to this new facility will also enable GA Pizza to ramp up its restaurant operations and reopen its flagship location for dine-in and off-premise in the third quarter. 

It will also prepare the company for a future where more than 50% of production will be allocated to retail and wholesale sales, compared to 20% year-to-date. 

Earlier this year, GA Pizza raised around US$10 million in a Series A financing round, with the aim to scale up its pizza subscription service across Canada. 

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