SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between the San Antonio Business Journal and KSAT.
Whataburger is looking to open future restaurants in Tennessee and Kansas City and will begin franchising for the first time in nearly two decades, the company confirmed Tuesday in an exclusive interview with the Business Journal.
James Turcotte, senior vice president of real estate for the San Antonio-based burger chain, said the company is examining the Kansas City market for its next phase of expansion, following rumors that swirled last week.
He also said the chain is exploring locations in Tennessee and other Eastern markets, especially the Southeast.
“It’s a natural expansion for us,” Turcotte said. “It fits our customer profile. It fits our supply networks, and we think that those markets are a good fit for us and that they line up with what we do here in Texas.”
The company has nothing in motion outside of those areas and its existing markets, he said.
As part of its growth effort, Turcotte said the company will begin franchising restaurants, which it has not done since the early 2000s.
“Franchising allows us to open more stores in more areas and do that faster and efficiently,” Turcotte said. “That is certainly a component of our plan. As we’ve always done, we will continue to open a high number of corporate restaurants.”