Whataburger looks to continue its expansion into Middle Tennessee after the San Antonio-based restaurant chain recently submitted building plans to the Lebanon Planning Commission.
Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell said Whataburger representatives submitted site plans last month that will be reviewed during the May 25 Lebanon Planning Commission meeting.
“I think the residents and community of Lebanon will be excited to welcome Whataburger. People throughout Texas consider this to be the best hamburger ever,” Bell said. “Lebanon residents tell me all the time we need more restaurant choices and I promise I am working very hard to make that happen. We have made new restaurant recruitment and economic development a priority. I am excited about Whataburger wanting to be in Lebanon and I believe if you are looking at expanding in Middle Tennessee, then I think you should consider our city.”
Bell said Whataburger’s plan includes a 3,700-square-foot building featuring a double-lane drive thru to be located at 608 S. Cumberland St. The property is currently a vacant lot in front of Lowe’s, according to Bell.
The chain known for its extensive menu of hamburger varieties has plans for a location in Mt. Juliet but those plans have not yet been submitted to the Mt. Juliet Planning Commission. A Whataburger is expected to be opened in Hermitage later this year.
Whataburger officials announced last year the intention to remodel existing restaurants and expand into new markets with 15 new restaurants in 2020 and 25 new restaurants this year.
“We are looking to open restaurants in Tennessee, Kansas City and our existing markets as part of future expansion plans,” Whataburger Senior VP of Real Estate James Turcotte said. “We don’t have specific details to share about plans for any particular city at this time.”
Whataburger’s rapid expansion is partially due to the company’s decision to franchise restaurants for the first time in about 20 years, which allows for more Whataburger restaurants in more areas.
“There are a lot of things our customers hold sacred about Whataburger, including the iconic A-frame, orange and white stripes, and the strong link to our history,” Turcotte said. “Whataburger’s new restaurant designs and remodels will stay true to our unique look, just in an updated and fresh way.”
Plans for a new Whataburger in Mt. Juliet are expected to be submitted for approval soon. The restaurant could occupy space at a future building at 11190 Lebanon Rd., which sits at the intersection of North Mt. Juliet Road and Lebanon Road.
Mark Lineberry of Lineberry Properties said plans for the future building at the site, which has the now-closed Capitol City Market on the property, would be submitted to the city within the next couple of weeks, but he could not comment about Whataburger as a future tenant.