A years-long effort to bring a Texas burger chain to Kansas City is turning into a bigger order than Whataburger fans likely ever dreamed — all with the help of brand superfan and now chief investor Patrick Mahomes II.
Whataburger on Tuesday announced plans to open 30 new restaurants — spanning from Wichita, Kansas to St. Joseph, Missouri — through 2028 via KMO Burger, a new franchise group of which Mahomes is an investor.
The first two locations — Highway 152 and North Booth Ave., Kansas City, Missouri, and 400 NW Barry Road, Kansas City, Missouri — are expected to open in 2022.
“I love Kansas City and I love Whataburger,” said Mahomes, a native Texan and quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. “I’m excited to help bring a gift from my first home to my second home.”
The chain previously announced five corporate-owned locations in Blue Springs, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit and Independence. Construction already is under way with the first four announced restaurants expected to open in the fall.
Click here to read more about why Kansas City is welcoming the Texas burger brand.
Mahomes already is part-owner of the Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC, and recently expressed interest in helping to bring an NBA franchise to the city. Joining the investor group behind KMO Burger is the latest in a string of investment announcements since the Super Bowl Champion signed a 10-year, $450-million contract with the Chiefs in 2020.
The star player made headlines in 2018 when he tweeted about his love of Whataburger’s famed ketchup and hope that the chain — then largely focused within the South — would expand to the Kansas City market.
“KMO Burger is comprised of a group of investors from Texas with a deep appreciation for Whataburger,” said Phillip Rose, chief financial officer of KMO Burger, in a press release specifically highlighting Mahomes’ involvement in the expansion. “Eating there is a part of growing up in the Lone Star State.”
Headquartered in San Antonio, Whataburger currently has more than 850 locations across 10 states — Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — and about 50,000 employees or “Family Members” company-wide that serve more than 60 million guests annually.
Its restaurants are known for being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The new-build restaurants in Kansas City are expected to stay true to Whataburger’s unique orange-and-white stripe style, but with an updated modern aesthetic, Scott Phillips, regional director of operations for Whataburger, told Startland News previously.
“The Whataburger restaurants will feature a new look we’ve been rolling out to better serve our guests, increase our capacity, reduce our environmental footprint and continue to deliver the high-quality food and friendly customer service our customers expect and will learn to expect from us,” he said.
With the new corporate locations, Whataburger plans to create more than 500 jobs in 2021, and thousands more in the years to come thanks to the franchise group, the company said Tuesday.