Enjoy a 10% discount when you use the code EQLYSEP23 at checkout from the 20th to the 30th of September 2023

Services Our expert insights reveal the key consumer and industry trends shaping global services, including best-in-class innovations in technology, customer experience and sustainability to thrive in dynamic times.

Whataburger: No Longer Just a Texas Staple

Euromonitor International  Profile Picture
Euromonitor International Bio

Whataburger, a family-owned limited service burger chain based in San Antonio, announced that they had sold a majority stake to Chicago based BDT Capital Partners on Friday of last week. The Dobson family opened the first location in 1950 and since Whataburger has become a regional phenomenon with a fiercely loyal customer base comparable only to other regional burger giants like In-and-Out. The brand is known for their exceedingly private family ownership and a deep connection to the Lonestar State. Therefore, the decision to sell to a company that is not only out of the family, but also outside of Texas has come as a surprise to many consumers.

[caption id="attachment_58244" align="alignleft" width="466"] Source: Whataburger[/caption]

Other Texas family brands, like Whataburger’s packaged food retailer HEB, have turned down similar and bigger offers favouring regional popularity and local ownership over mass expansion. It will be interesting to see the path of expansion Whataburger chooses to take as much of their demand is driven by location and menu limiting tactics used to drive up sales. Though the brand will undoubtedly pursue expansion outside of the Southwestern US, I would expect that they will continue to employ other key sales drivers including 24-hour operations with lunch/dinner and their extremely popular breakfast menus each being offered for only twelve hours, and not a minute more.

The official deal will take place later this summer with both the CEO/President and Chairman stepping down and the current CFO, Ed Nelson, becoming president with a yet unnamed CEO. The family stated in their release the sale is both “exciting and bittersweet” marking a change for both the family and the state of Texas as a whole. Many famous Texans, including JJ Watt, have taken to social media insisting that the state itself should “buy it back”. Despite temporary blowback, it is safe to expect relatively rapid expansion and initial increased popularity for the brand as the rest of the country finally experiences the joy their Honey-Butter Chicken Biscuits and classic Patty Melts.

Interested in more insights? Subscribe to our content

Latest Insights

WTM London

Euromonitor International 19 September 2023

Shop Our Reports

World Market for Automotive

The report provides an overview of the global light vehicles industry which includes an assessment of market size, company shares and brand performance. It also…

View Report

The Return of Travel and its Impact on Luggage Recovery

The luggage industry faced significant challenges during the pandemic, with sales plummeting in 2020. As COVID-19 restrictions eased in 2021, travel rebounded,…

View Report

Elevating Engagement: The Loyalty Landscape in Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific is a region characterised by diverse economies, cultures and demographics. In such an environment, loyalty programmes need to be crafted to meet…

View Report
Passport Our premier global market research database with detailed data and analysis on industries, companies, economies and consumers. Track existing and future opportunities to support critical decision-making across all functions within your organisation Learn More