Hahn Public Communications for Whataburger
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SAN ANTONIO – April 22, 2015 – Following six months of intense competition among more than 770 Whataburger restaurants, Whataburger crowned its three “WhataGames” victors in a ceremony this weekend. Whataburger #669 located at 7110 McPhearson Road in Laredo, Texas emerged as the WhataGames 2015 Gold Champion. Whataburger #1050 located at 2155 Airport Freeway in Euless, Texas took home the Silver Medal and Whataburger #777 located at 3580 W. Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas won the Bronze Medal.
WhataGames is a staple of Whataburger’s culture and a unique training experience that encourages Whataburger restaurant teams to push themselves to improve operations and, ultimately, the entire customer experience. As a company tradition, WhataGames is designed to test the skills of Whataburger team members in three categories: operations, corporate history and customer service.
The three winners emerged from 24 finalist teams, who had already advanced from a pool of 121 semifinalists. Those semifinalists beat out their competitors among Whataburger’s more than 770 restaurants in 10 states. Semifinalists had to prove their skills through a series of elimination rounds to earn one of the 24 coveted spots at the WhataGames Finals in Grapevine last week. The finalists competed in three days of high-intensity competition for the Gold Medal and the esteemed title of WhataGames 2015 Champion, as well as Silver and Bronze Medals, and $165,000 in cash prizes – distributed accordingly to both team members who participated as well as those who stayed back to operate and manage their stores.
“It’s been an inspiring and unforgettable journey these past few months during the 2015 WhataGames Competition,” said Rob Rodriguez, senior vice president of operations for Whataburger Restaurants LLC. “Watching fellow family members exhibit such admirable teamwork and company pride was a priceless experience. We’re extremely proud of each team who participated in this year’s WhataGames, and want to congratulate the three winning teams from Laredo, Euless and Brownsville for their steadfast perseverance and commitment throughout the competition.”
Finalist teams were made up of 13 competitors. Each member of the Gold Medal-winning team receives $5,000, each Silver Medal team member wins $2,500, and each Bronze Medal team member wins $1,000. Additionally, all Whataburger Family Members at the winning restaurants receive 10 percent of the finalist prize amount; $500, $250 and $100, respectively.
Whataburger maintenance service technicians also competed in regional teams for medals and cash prizes in the Maintenance Games Competition, where teams participated in a variety of challenges including a hands-on competition where each team troubleshoots and repairs equipment in the restaurant. This portion of WhataGames is designed to reinforce the quality of maintenance work by testing service, productivity, organization and knowledge. Maintenance Games Competition medalists include:
Region 8000 (Corpus Christi – Rio Grande Valley)
Hilario Ramirez, Corpus Christi, TX
Joe Benavidez, Weslaco, TX
Michael Bradford, Corpus Christi, TX
John Garrett, Corpus Christi, TX
Region 4000 (Houston area)
Rudy Soliz, El Campo, TX
Ken Douglas, Cypress, TX
Cristobal Garcia, Pasadena, TX
Gerald Pacheco, Missouri City, TX
Region 2000 (MS/LA/FL)
Steve Eckles, Gulf Breeze, FL
Bill Castanon, Gulf Breeze, FL
Jeff Farmer, Tallahassee, FL
Scott Foster, Pensacola, FL
The first WhataGames competition was created in 1996 as a training exercise for operations to better serve our customers. The WhataGames Finals are the featured event during the Whataburger Family Convention, which took place last week at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. The convention is a family occasion, hosting more than 2,200 Whataburger corporate and regional representatives, franchisees and suppliers, along with the WhataGames national finalists.
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers: “What a burger!” Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, 100 percent beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 770 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $1 billion annually.