Way back on Aug. 8, 1950, an adventurous and determined entrepreneur named Harmon Dobson opened up the world’s first Whataburger in Corpus Christi, Texas. He had the goal to serve a burger so big it took two hands to hold and so good that with one bite customers would say, “What a burger!” He succeeded on both counts and turned that one little burger stand into a legend loved throughout Texas and the South.
Today, though a lot has changed, some things will always be the same. Whataburger’s following has grown exponentially thanks to its famous burgers and growing list of menu items, its iconic orange-and-white striped A-Frame restaurants established in the early 1960s, and its on-screen presence in everything from “King of the Hill” to “Friday Night Lights.” However, each and every Whataburger is still made to order, right when it’s ordered, never frozen. Now Whataburger has more than 780 restaurants across 10 states stretching from Arizona to Florida, but road-trippers and hometown folks alike continue gathering under the big orange and white roofs for fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly service. Whataburger just celebrated its 65th anniversary, and in honor of this milestone, here are 10 things you may not have known about Whataburger.
- As written in Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson’s journal, Whataburger sales totaled $50 on the first day of business on Aug. 8, 1950.
- In the 1950s, the first burgers were larger than usual, so Whataburger had to enlist a local bread company to custom-make special five-inch buns which are still the standard today.
- In the early days, Harmon Dobson, a pilot, would fly his Piper Super Cub plane and drop coupons from the air.
- A banner bearing the Flying W logo has been carried to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – 19,340 feet above sea level.
- Contrary to popular belief, the numbers at the bottom of ketchup tubs indicate the production line and not the degree of sweetness.
- In 2009, a husband and wife couple, Karl and Carol Hoepfner, were named “Whataburger’s Biggest Fans.” In 2011, they embarked on a one-year tour to visit every Whataburger restaurant in the country.
- The price of an original Whataburger was $0.25 in 1950, a price higher than some competitors due to its better-quality ingredients.
- Spicy Ketchup was a limited-time offer that was made a permanent condiment in 2013 after fans asked for its return. It was originally introduced in 2012 as a limited-time offer.
- The Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit was also a limited-time offer that was placed permanently on the breakfast menu by customer demand.
- Whataburger’s current limited-time offer is the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strip Sandwich. It features three crispy, all-white meat chicken strips, two slices of Monterey Jack cheese, creamy buttermilk ranch topped off with Whataburger’s own Buffalo Sauce – all served on a toasted five-inch bun.