Royal Castle (restaurant chain)
Royal Castle was a Miami, Florida-based hamburger restaurant chain known for its miniature hamburgers that are similar to White Castle's hamburgers, and its Birch Beer beverage, a version of root beer. It was founded in 1938 by William Singer, with an initial restaurant located at N.E. Second Avenue and 79th St., in Miami. Royal Castle eventually grew to 175 locations throughout Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Louisiana, with the bulk of them in Miami. One Royal Castle still exists in Miami, at 2700 NW 79th Street.
During its heyday, Royal Castle sold its hamburgers for 15 cents, and fries and Birch Beer for 7 cents each. Singer, who was from Columbus, Ohio, was inspired by the success of White Castle, which had moved its headquarters to Columbus from Wichita, Kansas, in 1934.
Royal Castle's motto was "Fit for a king!" The restaurant chain also served breakfast, with orange juice freshly squeezed to order.
In 1969, Royal Castle was acquired by Nashville, Tennessee-based Performance Systems for about $9.1 million. Performance Systems had been active creating and marketing chicken franchise restaurants, most notably Minnie Pearl's Chicken. But the company became overextended due to lack of executive restaurant experience, collapsed amid allegations of accounting irregularities and stock price manipulation, and was forced to sell off its assets, including Royal Castle.
By the 1970s the Royal Castle chain began to lose ground to other fast-food hamburger chains, including McDonald’s as well as Burger King, which also was founded in Miami in 1954. In 1975, the remaining shareholders of Royal Castle voted to liquidate the company at $2 a share, down from the $12 per share when the company was acquired by Performance Systems.
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