"I'm hungry. Let's stop at that credit union and get a burger."

That was my first thought when I saw the new design for future Whataburgers.

To be fair, it's not the only design they're considering as they expand into new territory, but chances are a few of these things will go up as Whataburger hangs its shingle in Tennessee and Kansas City, and that's a shame. To me, it just looks so generic and sterile.

Where's the character? Where's the Texas?

Whataburger isn't some run-of-the-mill burger joint, and its restaurants ought to stand out. In fact, they'll need to stand out when they open in new markets. Otherwise they'll just blend into the scenery like so many ubiquitous non-destinations.

Images of the new design were released earlier this week, and the company says its meant to increase capacity and reduce environmental impact.

I can respect both of those initiatives, and I applaud the company for having energy efficiency and a comfortable atmosphere top of mind. Still, I feel like Design #1 doesn't really convey Whataburger. It looks more like a place you'd stop to ask if they sell phone chargers or mattress toppers.

Now let's look at Design #2.

Elizabeth James, Whataburger
Elizabeth James, Whataburger

Ah, that's more like it! You get the A-frame, the marquee lights, and the big, bold orange and white stripes. That's how you modernize a Whataburger. Keep the classic elements while making them look sleeker.

What do you think? Am I being too hard on the new design? Does it even matter now that Whataburger's majority owned by a Chicago-based company?

Let me know what you think in the comments. I'll be dipping my fries in a Dr. Pepper shake while I read the responses. (Don't tell my doctor.)

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