Whataburger announced Friday that BDT Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm, will acquire a majority interest in the company, allowing it to expand to other states.
According to a Whataburger press release, Whataburger plans to stay true to its brand and its 69 years of history in Texas.
Nevertheless, the news that Whataburger may no longer be an exclusively Texan restaurant leaves customers with mixed feelings.
Biomedical engineering junior Justin Jinanwa said he was disappointed when he heard the news about Whataburger.
“I kind of wish it would just stick with Texas,” he said. “It seemed like Whataburger was really just a Texas thing.”
Architecture freshman Arianna Manhard said the expansion could affect the company’s food quality and its brand.
Manhard used McDonald’s expansion as an example, saying the quality of its food diminished when it began branching out to other locations.
Jinanwa said as long as the food quality doesn’t change, he will continue eating at Whataburger.
“It’s like an estrange[d] relationship now,” he said. “You brought in another person.”
It feels wrong for Whataburger to break its reputation as a Texan restaurant, Jinanwa said.
Biology freshman Angelica Carmona said Whataburger is one of her favorite fast-food restaurants, and she doesn’t see the new deal affecting her.
Rather than holding on to its prominent Texan roots, Carmona said people should accept Whataburger’s decision to expand.
“[Whataburger] shouldn’t just be ours,” she said. “It should be everyone else’s.”
Social work freshman Isaac Lopez said he hopes Whataburger doesn't raise their prices as they expand, but he isn’t bothered by their decision to grow.
Instead, Lopez said he sees it as an opportunity for others to share one of Texas’ trademarks.
“It wouldn’t bother me if I walked into Whataburger and ordered a patty melt, and somebody two states away was eating a patty melt at the exact same time as me,” he said.