SAN PATRICIO COUNTY – Everyone loves a good burger, there’s no doubt about it. And while there are still a few mom and pop burger joints around, it’s the massive chains of restaurant which spread across the United States from coast-to-coast that curb American’s hamburger hunger.
Now, the people have spoken, and there is a true burger champ among the masses.
Recently a customer experience management company, Market Force Information, conducted a survey of 7,600 American adults to find out what their favorite fast-food hamburger restaurant was.
For the third straight year, West Coast chain In-N-Out takes the top spot as America’s overall favorite burger chain.
The burger chains can be found in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Colorado. Texas alone has 37 locations for the number one burger joint.
Five Guys took second place. According to Wikipedia, as of 2016, Five Guys had more than 1,500 locations open worldwide, with 1,500 locations under development and their closest location to San Patricio County is in Corpus Christi.
So what came as sort of a surprise (not to Texans, of course) was Texas based Whataburger took third place in the national survey.
While being compared to worldwide chains like McDonalds, Wendy’s and more, Whataburger was the little burger that could.
Whataburger was founded by Harmon Dobson and Paul Burton and opened its first restaurant in Corpus Christi in 1950.
There are currently 677 locations in Texas with Portland, Sinton and Taft adding to that total with one each.
Across the United States, Alabama has 15, Arizona 25, Arkansas 5, Florida 38, Georgia 1, Louisiana 15, Mississippi 8, New Mexico 11 and our upstairs neighbor Oklahoma home to 33 restaurants.
Whataburger also scored top five finishes when it came to food quality, value for money spent, healthy options, overall cleanliness, staff friendliness, curb appeal and atmosphere. It landed in the sixth spot for speed of service.
So while Whataburger proved to be popular enough to play ball with the big burger boys, things could change next year because of a business maneuver that occurred earlier this year that caused quite the uproar in Texas.
On June 14 of this year, the Dobson family sold its majority stake to Chicago-based investment company BDT Capital. Both companies said they had long-term expansion plans, which was the reason for the sale.
And while the company said that Whataburger’s headquarters will remain in San Antonio, that little detail couldn’t be heard over the shouts of outrage from Whataburger purists.
Readers – and eaters – will have to wait until next year to see what impact a Chicago-based company owning a Texas staple will have on sales and overall enjoyment.
Will the menu start featuring items like Chicago Style Whatapizzas? Who knows.
But Texans might be looking for another place to eat, and restaurants might be looking to expand.