Over the summer, Stephenville residents have witnessed the birth of a new Whataburger store located right next door to the well-used current store. The new store has caused excitement among current Whataburger employees for what is to come in the next few weeks as the construction on the store approaches an end.
“This store has been opened for quite some time and we want to make sure that we give back to the community,” Whataburger Stephenville Operating Partner, Minden Sigman said. “Whataburger started building on that lot and it’s really going to be a better experience for the entire community because the lobby is bigger, the drive through is bigger, everything’s nicer [and] the tables are super cute. There’s little tables that have the stickers that come on the sandwiches on them.”
With the new store also comes the ability for Whataburger to increase community engagement in Stephenville.
“The main thing that they’re going to get from the new unit is their going to get more community outreach so we’ll be out and about in the community more,” Sigman said. “I’ll be doing most of the community outreach so that’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I’ve already gone to the animal shelter that we have here and I’ve gone to the police department. So, that’s what I’m excited about is reaching out into the community and actually getting out there and making sure that everybody is re-vamped on their love for Whataburger.”
Sigman has already started working on the community outreach and plans to continue by speaking with local businesses.
“I actually have coupons and cookies to be giving out to local businesses around so I will be doing that within the next two weeks as well,” Sigman said.
Once the store opens one of the most noticeable aspects is expected to be the increase in size and capacity of the store. The current store can hold around 45 people and the new store is projected to allow 115 people.
“They’re super excited, most of the staff here has been pretty tenured so they’ve been with the company for years upon years upon years and the store over there is double the size of this store. So, we actually have room to move around. They are super excited they don’t have to bump into each other every day,” Sigman said.
“I am excited to get into the building. In this building right here, it’s kind of small so I’m excited to get over there get a lot more room and just get the new equipment and everything,” Whataburger Day Manager, James Williams said.
The increase in store size is also expected to increase the store’s ability to quickly meet customers needs.
“Overall the speed of the unit should improve as well because we have more room to store everything and we have more room to actually work. So, we’re really hoping for the speed to improve and we’re expecting the friendliness to improve as well. We’ve been trying out a couple new things here like putting people outside to help take orders in the drive through and that’s been going very well,” Sigman said.
One of the ways that the store is expanding in order to meet customers needs quickly is by hiring new employees.
“Whataburger is always hiring smiling faces, we currently have a really good team a really good set of team members but we are always looking for more. The bigger the family the better, I think I have 30 open spots right now that we’re working to fill,” Sigman said.
“One thing is that the store is spread out, we got more room. So, we’re allowed more employees in there so we’ll be able to deal with the customers more personally because we’ll have enough people to deal with them and take care of their needs,” Williams said.
The new store will also have an improved drive through system with eight to 10 staff members focusing solely on helping customers in the drive through lanes. Not only will there be staff designated to the drive through lanes but the lanes will no longer cross into the parking lot.
“There’s still only going to be two lanes but we have a nice awning over there. It’s still going to be a double menu board so there will still be two lanes to take orders in. The only difference is it’s a little bit wider and there’s a spot for us to pull cars forward if we need to so that should be a little beneficial,” Sigman said.
The parking will also be expanding in order to accommodate more customers and customers with different needs including customers in busses and with trailers.
“Whataburger actually has more parking over there, we have bus parking in the back and right now if you drive into our drive through you get stuck if you’re parked in our parking lot. Over there the drive through lane is completely separate from parking so you won’t ever get boxed in. Over there the parking is phenomenal there will be so much parking going on. There is bus parking because of the schools and there is also trailer parking because we know where we are,” Sigman said.
For now, community members can still visit the old Whataburger located at 2830 W Washington street and say goodbye to a piece of Stephenville history before the new store opens this summer.
“I am excited to get this team over there, the team is excited to get over there and I am all for making the team happy because when the team’s happy, I’m happy [and] my customers are happy,” Sigman said.