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70 Years Old, Whataburger Expands, Remodels

An artist’s rendering of the new Whataburger. The 70-year-old company is moving into new markets with a new look. Courtesy photo

As Whataburger celebrates 70 years in the business of burgers and fries, the company — now under new ownership — announced plans to expand into new states with a new look. Gone is the iconic orange and white A-frame, exchanged for a more traditional, flat-roofed building with a lot of glimmer and glass and a reduced environmental impact.

New facilities will have LED lighting and more efficient equipment designed for 24-hour use, the company announced. Although the A-frame will be no more, the orange and white motif will remain.

“There are a lot of things our customers hold sacred about Whataburger, including the iconic A-frame, orange and white stripes, and the strong link to our history,” James Turcotte, Whataburger’s senior vice president of real estate told the San Antonio Business Journal in an exclusive interview. “Whataburger’s new restaurant designs and remodels will stay true to our unique look, just in an updated and fresh way.”

The first of the new buildings will go into Kansas City and Tennessee. Adding to the company’s 834 restaurants in 10 states, Whataburger’s expansion plans include 35 new restaurants over the next year.

Founded 70 years ago in Corpus Christi, Whataburger was owned by the Dobson family until it sold in June 2019 to BDT Capital, an investment company in Chicago. The Dobsons retain a small stake in the business.

Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger August 8, 1950, in a portable metal building on Ayers street. A bronze statue of Dobson greets customers at the flagship Whataburger on Shoreline Boulevard in Corpus Christi, which was remodeled in 2014.

From that small beginning, Whataburger has grown to a company that sells $2.5 billion worth of fast food every year.

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