Retailers

H-E-B’s Record-Breaking Parking Lot Pop-Up

White Castle event draws frozen-aisle traffic
Photograph courtesy of White Castle

H-E-B spread the love for White Castle hamburgers—available in its freezer aisles—by co-hosting its first pop-up event celebrating its longtime trading partner’s 29th annual Valentine’s Day dinner.

Held in the parking lot of an H-E-B in San Antonio, the three-day event drew more than 750 people to the pop-up White Castle, in which customers accustomed to the hamburger chain’s casual counter service enjoyed a more formal dining experience complete with hostess seating, red and white tablecloths, tableside service and festive decorations.

Similar Columbus, Ohio-based White Castle pop-up events were held in 14 states, More than 30,000 people attended, making it the largest number of Valentine’s Day dinner guests to partake in the nearly 30-year tradition.

“We were happy to see White Castle create such a fun, memorable experience for San Antonians in celebration of Valentine’s Day,” said a spokesperson for H-E-B.

The burger chain chose San Antonio as the site of its first Valentine’s Day pop-up because it’s not only home to passionate White Castle fans (dubbed “Cravers”), but also headquarters for H-E-B, which started selling White Castle’s famous square hamburger sliders in 1988, just one year after the fast-food chain launched its retail division.

“H-E-B has been a great partner with White Castle,” Tiffany Carreker, general manager and VP of sales for the retail division of White Castle, told WGB. “So, we wanted to create a memorable experience that would not only bring joy to White Castle enthusiasts in San Antonio, but also help drive store traffic.”

The campaign featured numerous touch points, including retail messaging, grocery visuals and clever couponing. In addition, White Castle has pledged a $15,000 donation to the San Antonio Food Bank. The company made a $10 contribution to the food bank on behalf of each diner at the H-E-B pop-up event.

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