With all the news about Whataburger and the latest tweet shared by the beloved business, you may be wondering if they’re closing or going out of business. We have good news – no, they aren’t. In fact, they’re planning to expand. But their majority shares have been sold to a Chicago business, that part is true. Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening to Whataburger.
Whataburger, a beloved hamburger chain in Texas that was born in Corpus Christi, has been purchased by a Chicago investment firm called BDT Capital Partners. BDT now owns the majority shares in Whataburger and the founders, the Dobson family, have a minority ownership, Austin American Statesman reported.
The good news is that Whataburger is not closing. They will continue to be headquartered in San Antonio, Texas (after recently moving from Corpus Christi) and are even planning to expand.
Tom Dobson told the Statesman that the decision was exciting and bittersweet, since the business had been part of their family for nearly 70 years. But he says the partnership with BDT is going to be a good thing, not something to worry about. Many Whataburger fans are worried about a non-Texas business owning the company, but Dobson thinks they will do the previously family-owned business right.
Dobson told the Statesman: “They have a track record of success with businesses as special as ours that want to grow, while preserving culture and family history. They are trusted advisors and partners who have worked closely with other family businesses and they have a tremendous reputation for doing the right thing.”
(To learn more about BDT Capital Partners, the company that bought Whataburger, see Heavy’s story here.)
Whataburger already has a lot of locations: 820 to be exact, with the majority of those in Texas. There are some Whataburger locations in more than nine other states, but this will help the business expand even more.
Preston Atkinson, President and CEO of Whataburger, said they had been looking at ways to expand for a while, so this isn’t unexpected.
QSR shared some other changes happening at Whataburger. The CFO, Ed Nelson, will become President (he joined in 2004), and the VP of business operations, Leonard Mazzocco, will be SVP and COO. The SVP of restaurants, Rob Rodriguez, will become SVP and the chief restaurant operating officer.
Patrick Tobin, lead counsel for Jackson Walker, told QSR in an email: “The Whataburger we all love is now poised for many more years of growth, while maintaining its culture, the family legacy and the high quality of its food and service.”
In fact, Whataburger is doing really well right now. Mike Davis, a senior lecturer at the Cox School of Business at SMU, told WFAA that the change will help Whataburger raise capital to grow nationwide.
So no, don’t be worried. Whataburger isn’t closing. In fact, this might help Whataburger grow and expand even more, and they’ll still keep their headquarters in Texas. Even though it’s tough for the Dobson family to lose majority ownership, if they believe this is best for the company, then Whataburger fans don’t need to worry.