Whataburger Sold To Chicago Investment Firm, No Longer Family Owned

June 15, 2019

Whataburger is no longer family owned. As of Friday, a majority interest has been sold to Chicago-based investment banking company BDT Capital Partners.

The burger chain will remain headquartered in Texas, and the group will “begin exploring expansion plans”. There are currently more than 700 Whataburger stores in 10 states.

“Whataburger has grown significantly over the years. And, in order to keep satisfying our customers, we’ve been exploring different options to expand the brand and introduce it to new audiences. We’ve gone through this process purposefully and diligently because we wanted to find a partner who honors our values, culture and 69-year legacy of family tradition,” said Whataburger President/CEO Preston Atkinson.

“We’re excited about the partnership with BDT because they respect and admire the brand we’ve built,” Atkinson continued. “They want to preserve it while they help us continue growing a sustainable, competitive business over a long period of time. They don’t plan to change our recipe for success.”

“More than anything, we’re beyond grateful for our 43,000 Whataburger Family Members who work in our restaurants 24/7,” said current board chair Tom Dobson. “And to our Whataburger fans: You’re part of our family. And as we grow, we know our Whataburger team will continue to make you proud.”

Pictured: The Whataburger restaurant on North Century Boulevard in Century. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.


24 Responses to “Whataburger Sold To Chicago Investment Firm, No Longer Family Owned”

  1. Charles D Timmons on October 25th, 2019 10:22 am

    The family that owned Whataburger should have considered the Texans that made the company it’s called loyalty Hope it works out.

  2. david lamb on June 19th, 2019 10:54 pm

    Put a Whataburger in Omaha/Bellevue NE. A lot of southerners at Offutt AFB, wanting their favorite food!

  3. Chris on June 17th, 2019 11:04 am

    Put all the flags at each Whataburger in Texas at Half mast, because Whataburger just died.

  4. ensley boy on June 16th, 2019 9:58 am

    Price increase coming. New owners want to get their money back on the purchase.

  5. Scott Harrington on June 16th, 2019 6:37 am

    I have not been to a Whataburger so I cannot comment on the food or service. However, my beloved Portillo’s Hot Dog restaurant (Chicago and parts beyond) was sold to an investment firm located in Boston. The restaurants stayed the same and they expanded to other cities. Still waiting on one for Chattanooga. Whataburger & Portillo’s together.

  6. Wendy on June 16th, 2019 5:43 am

    10 Years from now people will be saying Whataburger used to be so good, and the younger generation will not know what Your talking about. Just like we all remember how good Taco Bell and KFC used to be, But the kids of today think it’s good. Good bye Whataburger…

  7. No more in God we Trust on June 15th, 2019 11:23 pm

    I can already see the in God we Trust in the window going away. That is what I really Love about the place. Watch it go away.

  8. J D on June 15th, 2019 9:46 pm

    Itll end up like KFC did after the colonel was gone from it. KFC is terrible. But I will hold out hope for whataburger

  9. Travis on June 15th, 2019 4:28 pm

    I am glad to wait in line for ten minutes that just means its fresh not under a light I jus dont leave for work at the last minute…someone who dont have ten minutes to spare doesn’t care about there job anyways…I bet if they had a blow out it would be whataburger fault too huh?let me come an eat with yall see what u can make in ten minutes an be good..

  10. Harris on June 15th, 2019 1:47 pm

    It has already gone down hill. I have waited in the drive-in for 10 minutes for a order twice. The last time I went in because I was going to be late for work. This was about 5:30 am. When I went in they almost drop their jaw. I had already paid for my order both times and I was not going to drive off with out getting my food. I’m to say I will and have not been back .

  11. JOHN on June 15th, 2019 12:30 pm

    Hopefully they won’t turn it into Culver’s. Culver’s microwaves everything.

  12. mike on June 15th, 2019 11:56 am

    uhoh, bring on the soy! :)

  13. Pat Keiran on June 15th, 2019 11:34 am

    Whataburger has expanded before, located in Memphis TN once, for a short time, then gone forever? Unique, hope they spend a lot of thought and planning if future expansion goes forward. We could use a location here in the U.P. of Michigan…Clyde’s could locate in Texas in exchange!

  14. mat on June 15th, 2019 11:17 am

    Its no longer about satisfying the customer.
    Its now about how to satisfy the pockets of
    the investors.

  15. mat on June 15th, 2019 11:09 am

    Glad I ate lunch there yesterday for the last time.
    Prices will go up and quality will go down.
    Good bye Whataburger.

  16. Sam on June 15th, 2019 9:49 am

    Being sold to a investment banking firm means the Whataburger we have known and loved now has died. It will become all about profits and not about quality and culture. I feel for those who have invested the majority of their careers at Whataburger, they may want to start applying with Chick-fila. :-)

  17. CW on June 15th, 2019 9:39 am

    Watch the service start to go downhill. It’ll end up like every other fast food chain where they choose the worst employees and you get service with an attitude.

  18. Jeff Cox on June 15th, 2019 8:44 am

    Start in Indianapolis!!!! Midwesterners vacation in whataburger areas and love it!!! We need one in Indy!!!

  19. Donnis Burns on June 15th, 2019 8:25 am

    Need to come to Lexington,SC

  20. Donnis Burns on June 15th, 2019 8:25 am

    Need to come to Lexington, SC

  21. Shirley Wilson on June 15th, 2019 8:17 am

    We would Love for you to Build a Whataburger in Stapleton, Loxley, Malbis, Bayminette or Spanishfort Alabama.

  22. tg on June 15th, 2019 7:51 am

    Well lets start cutting corners and cash in buy going public on the stock exchange. Thats what this all means folks.

  23. Xpeecee on June 15th, 2019 6:59 am

    Hmmm! I hope they don’t ruin a good thing…

  24. Bill on June 15th, 2019 5:49 am

    I have a feeling that Whataburger will eventually lose it’s uniqueness and become just as ho-hum as the other chains. It will be a shame if that happens.