In 2004, Harold and Kumar decided to go to White Castle – not necessarily because they loved White Castle, but because they loved White Castle when they were high. Granted, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is just a movie, but new data suggests that the characters’ motivations might be pretty accurate: Customers tend to flock to the slider chain more frequently late at night – presumably when their mental states may be a bit altered.
Mobile app Foursquare looked at nine different fast food chains to see which ones saw the largest percentage of their foot traffic during late night hours – between 10pm and 4am. Using “check-in and visit data from the Foursquare city guide and Swarm check-in apps,” the company found that of the brands it investigated, White Castle had the largest bump during bedtime hours: 21.5 percent of White Castle stops are happening during the 10pm to 4am window.
That late-night lure to sliders is even more impressive when compared to the chains that finished second and third on the list. Jack in the Box only sees 17 percent of its traffic from 10pm to 4am, and Taco Bell (inventor of the “fourth meal”) sees 14.8 percent of its visits during that time frame. Other major fast food joints see even smaller percentages in the late night hours: McDonald’s percentage was 11.1, Wendy’s was 10.5, and Burger King was just 7.7.
Of course, Foursquare doesn’t go into any particular detail as to why these numbers are the way they are. It could even be something as simple as White Castles tend to be open later than Qdoba, the fast food chain that finished last on the list, seeing just 3.5 percent of its foot traffic between 10 and 4. But the fact does remain that people do tend to be drunker, higher and god-knows-what-elser as the clock surges past midnight. Until some far more dedicated researcher sets up drug testing at these restaurants, I don’t think it’s out of the question to infer that people might just be more into White Castle once they reach a Fish Nibbler-appropriate level of intoxication.