SAN ANTONIO — An investment firm has purchased a majority stake in Whataburger as the Texas-based fast-food company seeks to expand in an increasingly competitive market.
Whataburger announced Friday that the purchase by Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners should be finalized by the end of the summer and will be subject to regulatory overview. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“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,” said Whataburger President and CEO Preston Atkinson. “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.”
BDT will provide long-term capital and guidance as Whataburger, which has its headquarters in San Antonio, competes at a time when convenience stores are offering more food options and eating into market share.
“We’re excited about the partnership with BDT because they respect and admire the brand we’ve built,” Atkinson said. “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.”
The firm often invests in family-owned companies.
“Whataburger is an iconic brand and extraordinary company with an important legacy of family ownership, loyal customers, valuable community involvement, dedicated and talented employees and a highly experienced management team,” said Tiffany Hagge, Managing Director of BDT Capital Partners. “We look forward to a long-term partnership with the Whataburger team, continuing their commitment to serving high-quality, great-tasting food at a value and delivering a superior customer experience.
“We are excited to support Whataburger as they continue to innovate and pursue accelerated growth in existing and new markets,” Hagge said. “This investment is a perfect example of BDT’s business model — to partner and invest alongside exceptional family businesses, with strong cultures, deep community ties and loyal customers.”
The first Whataburger opened in 1950 as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi. It now has nearly 700 restaurants in Texas and more than 150 others in southern states extending from Arizona to Florida.