Whataburger will continue to prohibit the open carrying of firearms in its restaurants despite the new Texas law which authorizes open carry. The policy will be enforced in the company’s nearly 800 restaurants.
Preston Atkinson, Whataburger’s president and CEO, said customers who are licensed to carry concealed weapons will still be allowed to do so, but visible carrying of firearms will not be allowed. According to a statement published on the company’s website. While attempting to assuage potential backlash from the Second Amendment absolutists, Whataburger has made it clear that open carrying of firearms will not be tolerated at its restaurants.
Whataburger supports customers’ Second Amendment rights and we respect your group’s position, but we haven’t allowed the open carry of firearms in our restaurants for a long time (although we have not prohibited licensed conceal carry). It’s a business decision we made a long time ago and have stood by, and I think it’s important you know why.
But first, as a representative of Whataburger, I want you to know we proudly serve the gun rights community. I personally enjoy hunting and also have my concealed carry license, as do others at Whataburger.
From a business standpoint, though, we have to think about how open carry impacts our 34,000+ employees and millions of customers. We serve customers from all walks of life at more than 780 locations, 24 hours a day, in 10 states and we’re known for a family friendly atmosphere that customers have come to expect from us. We’re the gathering spot for Little League teams, church groups and high school kids after football games.
We’ve had many customers and employees tell us they’re uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement, and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours. We have a responsibility to make sure everyone who walks into our restaurants feels comfortable. For that reason, we don’t restrict licensed concealed carry but do ask customers not to open carry in our restaurants.
Red (who has enjoyed a good Whataburger since that fateful day his Dad first took him to a Whataburger in Victoria) will be ordering a No. 1 Combo with cheese and no onions and an unsweet iced tea for the drink in celebration of Whataburger showing some spine.