| |

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Whataburger Franchise?

If you have been wondering, about the exact cost of a Whataburger franchise, then you are not alone. It is one of the most successful food businesses and you are sure to make returns.

cost of opening whataburger

The Cost of Opening a Whataburger Franchise

We’ve got great news. After 20 years, Whataburger is now available for franchising!

You must have a net worth of $12.5 million and $5,000,000 in liquid assets in order to apply to operate a Whataburger franchise. It will cost around $1,200,000 to open a standard Whataburger

Whataburger is a family-run fast-food restaurant with more than 800 outlets that offer a selection of beef burgers and other items. 

Whataburger has a solid reputation and has been there since the 1950s. Even now, they keep growing and spreading the love for hamburgers across America.

Financial Requirements and Fees

Fees / Expenses

Financial Amount

Liquid Capital


Net Worth

$12.5 million

Total Investment

$1,200,000 (unofficial)

Franchise Fee

Not disclosed

After 20 years, Whataburger opened up the possibility of franchising, so not all financial data has yet been made available to the public.

The business did, however, give franchise owners requirements for liquid assets and net worth. Currently, there is no information on the overall investment or the franchise fee.

Additionally, there are currently no available details regarding royalties and advertising costs. Additionally, it is uncertain of the cost of the renewal.

However, if you are approved as a franchise owner by Whataburger, you will have the opportunity to manage at least 5 Whataburger restaurants for a period of 5 years. For a franchise restaurant, this is a very brief period of time.

Average Sales/ Revenue Per Year

Whataburger’s sales have been increasing for a while, and they recently surpassed the $1 billion milestone.

Their sales were estimated to be $2.698 billion in 2020, an increase of 5.6% from their revenue in the prior year.

They moved up one spot from number 30 in 2020 to number 26 in Restaurant Business Online’s Top 500 chains.

Whataburger Franchise Facts

whataburger cost

In 1950, Harmon Dobson came up with the concept of serving a burger that was both larger and better than those now available.

Customers would need to be able to hold the burger with two hands and exclaim, “What a burger!” after taking just one bite. As a result, Corpus Christi, Texas, is where Whataburger was founded.

The diameter of a Whataburger is 5 inches, which is larger than the typical burger size. This is one of the factors that made Dobson’s Burger popular.

By the 1960s, there were 17 Whataburger locations in Florida, Tennessee, and Texas thanks to Dobson’s quick expansion of the company.

More Facts About Whataburger Franchise

When Harmon Dobson perished in an aircraft crash in 1967, his wife took over the company. By the 1970s, she had managed to grow Whataburger to 200 locations.

In the 1980s, some restaurants began operating 24 hours a day. In the 1990s, Tom Dobson succeeded his father as CEO and President. With millions of customers by the year 2000, 575 Whataburger outlets were operating at full capacity.

True to its name, Whataburger offers a wide selection of burgers on its menu. They offer burgers with jalapenos and cheese, bacon and cheese, double meat, and triple meat.

They occasionally offer unique variations of their burgers, like a Mushroom Swiss Burger and a Ranch House Burger. Additionally, they offer junior-sized burgers, including a Double Meat Jr, which are nevertheless regarded as full.

What Whataburger Offers

Whataburger also offers additional options, such as grilled and fried chicken burgers, if a beef burger is not to your taste.

Along with their Honey Butter Chicken, they also offer chicken fajita tacos, chicken strips and nibbles, and a morning menu including a pancake plate and biscuit sandwiches.

Whataburger also offers additional options, such as grilled and fried chicken burgers, if a beef burger is not to your taste.

They also provide chicken fajita tacos, chicken strips, and bits. On the breakfast menu, they offer biscuit sandwiches and a pancake platter, with the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit being a perennial favorite.

Honors and Recognition

Whataburger is regarded as a Texas landmark. Whataburger was declared a “Texas Treasure” by the 77th Texas Legislature.

Regarding their “built-to-order burger” and “excellent quality meals at a fair price,” Texas honored them for their 50 years of achievement.

Additionally, this well-known burger chain received multiple honors.

Whataburger was ranked third best regional fast food in 2019’s USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards, surpassing In-N-Out Burger.

Whataburger was also named Best Burger in America in a 2015 Fast Company survey and it was also chosen by Thrillist as the regional chain of the year for 2021.

Other Facts About Whataburger

For 20 years, Whataburger refrained from offering franchises and instead focused on growing through company-owned restaurants.

But in recent news, the fast-food restaurant came up for franchising shortly after BDT Capital Partners announced they would invest in it.

Whataburger is currently a part of a parent company that also owns Panera, Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Krispy Kreme, to name a few.

Currently, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Florida, and Georgia are the only states where Whataburger franchise opportunities are accessible.

How Much Does Whataburger Make in Profit

Whataburger has not disclosed financial information to the public. The average annual profit for a franchise owner, however, is between $94,000 and $122,600, according to an unofficial estimate.

This fits in with the ideas of other burger franchise restaurants.

Advantages of a Whataburger Franchise

Here are some notable benefits of this company if you’re excited about the prospect of managing a Whataburger.


It’s just the Whataburger brand, really. Outside of Texas, this chain has a devoted fan base.

Whataburger has expanded to more than 800 sites, and future development is expected to be considerably greater. Marketing in your area won’t be as difficult with the Whataburger name.

People might be familiar with Whataburger or interested in trying one of their burgers.

Therefore, you can be confident that a particular segment of the public will recognize the brand when a Whataburger location is built nearby.


As was already mentioned, a Whataburger burger is not your typical size. This sandwich requires two hands to handle, in keeping with Whataburger’s long-standing mission.

Customers will undoubtedly leave feeling delighted and full thanks to this size.

Another strategy to draw customers and boost social media engagement is to adjust the size of the patties and bun.


The menu at Whataburger extends beyond specialty burgers. They’re renowned for their chicken strips and shakes as well.

French fries and onion rings are among the available options. If burgers aren’t your thing, they also offer salads and wraps. The restaurant is able to satisfy a variety of demands for a quick food establishment.


As was already mentioned, Whataburger is preparing for significant growth.

Whataburger is anticipated to open 25 new outlets under BDT Capital Partners in 2021, with several in Tennessee and Missouri.

Therefore, if you open a franchise with them right now, you’ll benefit from aggressive expansion plans and the newest shop layouts.

You’ll be remembered as one of the franchise owners present when Whataburger finally allowed franchisees in after 20 years.

Challenges of a Whataburger Franchise

whataburger cost

Even though Whataburger has already made a name for itself as one of the top burger joints in America, operating this kind of business presents a number of difficulties.

Here are some obstacles you might run into.

Financial Requirements

You have to admit that Whataburger has some hefty financial requirements.

Being that your liquid assets must be $5.00 million and your net worth must be over $12.5 million, one must be a multimillionaire to even qualify.

But hey, if you’ve got the cash and the drive, go for it! If not, you might need to hunt for alternatives that will match your budget.

There are fortunately many more burger franchises with less stringent financial criteria.

Limited Locations

Even though Whataburger has opened up for franchising, they are only considering a small number of locations right now, and those are just in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida.

When they will begin accepting applications from other regions is unknown.

But given that Whataburger appears to be interested in growing, you can hold out hope for some good news shortly.

Many customers in the northern areas of the United States are still unfamiliar with this burger company. It will be necessary to start national marketing operations to spread the word in these regions.

New at Franchising

Even though Whataburger has previously franchised, you can guarantee that after a 20-year break, there will be some kinks as they get used to including more franchise operators in their expanding family.

They might or might not currently have flawless franchising workflow, therefore you’ll need to be adaptable in how you handle these growing pains.

Not for Everyone

 Some people believe hamburgers are overrated.

Whatever the cause, Whataburger sparks so many discussions that, if you were considering opening a franchise, you’d have to be open to the idea that it could not be for everyone.


Whataburger is not flawless. However, what has occurred to them over the years makes one question whether they would still want to franchise this burger brand.

There is the question of the antibiotics in their beef. There was also the widely shared video of the mouse hopping into the deep fryer at Whataburger.

Lawsuits have also been filed over racial discrimination, hot gravy burns, and security decisions.

Even if they occurred in the past, you will need to consider some of these issues as a potential franchisee.

It’s critical to be mindful of these past errors because they will occasionally be brought up.

Is the Whataburger Franchise Right for You

The considerable financial requirements are one of the greatest problems to address when considering franchising Whataburger.

Furthermore, becoming a franchise operator shouldn’t be an issue provided you have the necessary funds.

However, if you are having trouble meeting their specifications, you can look into different burger joints to manage that can fit into your budget.

Alternatives to Whataburger Franchise

If burgers are what you’re after, you might want to check out Burger King or McDonald’s.

Both of these well-known American fast-food companies are renowned for the wide selection of foods they offer.

They offer breakfast options, drive-thrus, and certain stores that are open around the clock. In contrast to Whataburger’s coverage, they are also well-known abroad.

While operating a McDonald’s requires a $45,000 franchise fee, opening a Burger King costs $50,000.


Whataburger has a solid reputation and has been there since the 1950s.

You can apply to be a franchise operator if you have the necessary resources and live in an area where Whataburger plans to expand.

Whataburger can be a good fit for you if you’re trying to franchise a burger restaurant that is different from the others, especially in terms of burger size.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Their peak revenue was $6.7 million dollars in 2021 and it’s still growing.

It is family-owned: Tom, Lynn, and Hugh Dobson

A franchise owner reportedly earns an average profit of $94,000 to $122,600 per year, according to an unofficial estimate.

It is a regional restaurant chain

Excluding land and leasing charges, the cost of a single Taco Bell franchise restaurant is expected to range from $1.2 million to $2.6 million.

Those who wish to become a McDonald’s franchisee must pay a $45,000 franchise fee and have liquid assets of at least $500,000 accessible.

 It will cost between $1,314,500 and $2,306,500 to open a new McDonald’s franchise

Yes, He has a franchise in Kansas City.



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *