Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whataburger's Top 16 Restaurants to Compete for $140,000 in Prizes During 'Burger Olympics'

/PRNewswire/ -- Sixteen restaurants in Arizona, Georgia and Texas have emerged as finalists in Whataburger's own WhataGames. The 58-year-old Texas burger icon will host the culmination of its 'burger Olympics,' a bi-annual competition between more than 614 Whataburger restaurants from 10 states, this March in Dallas. The 16 finalist teams - who claim to 'bleed mustard' - will be fighting for bragging rights and prize winnings of more than $140,000.

"Being at WhataGames in 2007, I realized that I could do this. It feels like everything we worked hard for paid off. Right now, I'm just on cloud nine. I couldn't be happier," Emily Leija, General Manager at Whataburger #288 in Corpus Christ, Texas, said. "I have a great team that is constantly communicating and works well together. When you have a team like this you enjoy coming to work."

For the past four months, Whataburger restaurant teams have studied their operations manuals, practiced their burger building skills and memorized Whataburger history, facts and figures. Through a process of elimination involving mystery shoppers, independent restaurant audits and pop quizzes, the top 16 restaurants rose above the rest.

Each team is comprised of 10 members: one general manager, one manager, two team leaders and six team members will compete in the finals, earning a tremendous amount of pride within a family-owned and culture-driven company known for its die-hard fans. The 16 teams will compete for three days, March 5-7, in three different parts of the competition to determine the gold, silver and bronze medal winning teams: WhataYaKnow, a Jeopardy-like game; Texas Hot Hold 'Em, a card game about procedures; and What's Cookin', a simulated 30-minute lunch rush at a Whataburger restaurant.

The WhataGames gold medal winning team takes home $5,000 each as well as $500 each for their fellow restaurant team members at home that didn't make the trip. Silver medal team members each win $2,500 and $250 for their restaurant team members and bronze team members each win $1,000 and $100 for their restaurant team members.

Along with the 16 WhataGames restaurant finalist teams, six teams from the company's maintenance staff will be competing to prove who can maintain equipment like fryers, grills and drive-thru speakers the best. Whataburger's maintenance services staff maintains all of the company's more than 700 restaurants and are a crucial part of ensuring every Whataburger restaurant is clean and functions properly. Three technicians from each of Whataburger's six regions will compose the teams as they compete in their own competition for the same level of prizes as the restaurant teams.

"WhataGames is about the passion our team members have for delivering hot burgers and friendly service. It's remarkable to see a 16-year-old win $5,000 and use it to help his family buy a new car or save it for college," said Buddy Reno, Vice President of Restaurant Operations for Whataburger Restaurants, LP. "It's about much more than operations standards. It's a celebration of our company's culture, our teams' dedication and a tribute to our history."

WhataGames finals are the featured event during the Whataburger Family Convention, held concurrently in Dallas. The convention is a family occasion, hosting Whataburger corporate and regional representatives, spouses, franchisees and the WhataGames national finalists.

WhataGames Restaurant Finalists 2009
Phoenix, Ariz.: Unit 761, 4610 S. 48th St.
Thomasville, Ga.: Unit 862, 13880 U.S. Hwy. 19 S.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 288, 5001 Saratoga Blvd.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 334, 4026 U.S. Hwy. 77 N.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 396, 4545 Violet Rd.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 787, 6425 Weber Rd.
Goliad, Texas: Unit 630, 348 E. Pearl St.
Houston: Unit 694, 6520 Southwest Fwy.
Kingsville, Texas: Unit 800, 2701 S. U.S. Hwy. 77 Byp.
Laredo, Texas: Unit 669, 7110 McPherson Rd.
Laredo, Texas: Unit 845, 9102 McPherson Rd.
Port Aransas, Texas: Unit 311, 303 W. Cotter Ave.
San Antonio: Unit 717, 12808 IH-10 W.
San Antonio: Unit 790, 5760 W. Loop 1604 N.
Victoria, Texas: Unit 175, 4302 N. Navarro St.
Watauga, Texas: Unit 757, 7826 Denton Hwy.

WhataGames Maintenance Finalists 2009
Joe Carlyle
Frank Licata
Sam Quinones
Joseph Morin
Bob Armstrong
Juan Padilla
Lee Parris
Tim Johnson
Floyd White
Jimmy Gonzales
Jordan Flores
Gary Michalek
Lyndon Dearing Jr.
Robbie Langston
Joe Armedariz
Jesus Zamarripa
Oscar Chapa
Brian Irving

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