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Whataburger debuts Digital Kitchen unit in Texas

Burger chain’s Bee Cave restaurant northwest of Austin is cashless and jettisons the traditional drive-thru

Whataburger Inc. has debuted its first Digital Kitchen unit in Bee Cave, Texas, jettisoning the traditional drive-thru and going cashless, the company said this week.

The San Antonio, Texas-based burger brand said the unit, which opened Tuesday in the community northwest of Austin, Texas, is exclusively digital, with customers ordering from a kiosk or through the smartphone app.

“The digital kitchen is similar to Whataburger’s standard restaurants at nearly 2,300 square feet,” a spokesperson said. The unit does not have a traditional seating area, curbside pick-up or drive-thru. Kiosk and delivery pickup orders are available in specially designed food lockers or cubbies.

The Whataburger Digital Kitchen, integrates new innovations, including digital ordering and a “Digital Pick-up Lane” instead of a traditional drive-thru, the company said.

Customers can place orders via the Whataburger Rewards app or online. Placing orders ahead for pick up at the new Digital Pick-up Lane reduces time waiting in the drive-thru, the company said.

“Making Whataburger quicker and more convenient for our guests means fully embracing the digital restaurant experience — but not forgetting who we are at our core: A Hometown Whataburger,” said Ed Nelson, Whataburger president and CEO, in a statement. “Our Austin guests were early to embrace other digital innovations, making it a perfect fit for our first Whataburger Digital Kitchen.”

Whataburger, founded in 1950, has more than 950 locations in 14 states. The family-owned company in 2019 sold a majority interest to Chicago-based merchant bank BDT Capital Partners.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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