CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Back in 1950, Whataburger opened its first restaurant in Corpus Christi. No one at the time had any idea that the orange and white restaurants would become a Texas favorite.
The only two-story Whataburger is in Corpus Christi, and it assumes the role as the original Whataburger; however, the company first started on Ayers Street on Aug. 8, 1950.
The Dobson family-owned burger chain made sure to instill core values that employees, also known as "family members," are to uphold.
"We know why we're here. Only one reason and that's to take care of you," said General Manager and longtime employee Rudy Gonzalez.
Employees like Gonzalez have spent their entire careers with the company. For 35 years he has trained others to serve the higher quality products, treat others with respect, and invest in the community. Gonzalez said those principals are what makes him loyal to the company.
"It's through something we call Pride, Care, Love. Pride for work that we do. Care for each other and Love serving our guests," Gonzalez said.
Whataburger was designated a "Texas Treasure" by the Texas Legislature in 2001. The company is synonymous with instant success, and over its 67 years, it has grown to more than 10 states and over 800 locations.
Die-hard fans like Blake Miller of Aransas Pass are devoted to showing their love for Whataburger.
"I've always wanted a Whataburger tattoo," Miller said.
Miller's friends and family encouraged him to enter a contest through social media that asked fans to show them how much the restaurant meant to them.
"They snap chatted me and said, 'Congratulations, you won,'" Miller said.
Whataburger's social media team stays on top of the latest trends and pop culture, keeping them connected to younger customers. Regardless of the recent rivalry between other out-of-state burger chains, Whataburger continues to dominate through its wild assortment of memorabilia, grocery store products, and the quirky homage What-a-Craze fans invent.
Preston Atkinson was promoted from President and COO in 2007 and ultimately to CEO of the empire in 2012.
Whataburger's roots remain deeply embedded within the Coastal Bend community, from Whataburger Field to Whataburger Way, and the nostalgia connected with people's memories of the Sparkling City by the Sea.
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