Whataburger Restaurants Corporate Social Responsibility

Whataburger Restaurants Corporate Social Responsibility

MT140 Introduction to Management

Businesses operate in communities and in larger societies. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is “the obligation toward society assumed by a business” (Bateman, 2017). There are several ways that a company can show their awareness of their commitment to be a socially responsible company. These actions tend to fall into four categories: economic – create products at a price customers want to buy it; legal – obeying all laws of the area in which they operate; ethical – meeting expectations by society; philanthropic – behaviors society favors and support the values of the business. By acting in a responsible manner in the community in which they operate, the company builds up goodwill. The company also minimizes any damage they do by utilizing best practices to prevent problems from occurring.

One company that takes their Corporate Social Responsibility to heart is Whataburger Restaurants, LLC. Whataburger is a regional chain of quick-service restaurants that operate most of their stores in Texas, and a few other states in the southern part of the United States. Their mission statement regarding community activism is: “We take pride in our communities” (Whataburger, n.d.). Their overarching mission statement is: “We’ve stuck to what got us here” (Whataurger, n.d.). Those two mission statements provide guidance for the employees of the company at large to become deeply involved in the communities they serve. This is because Whataburger restaurants tend to be gathering places for people to get together over a meal and discuss things. Whataburger Restaurants upholds two pillars of responsibility when it comes to their Corporate Social Responsibility policy. They uphold the pillars of ethical actions, and philanthropic ones by operating under the stakeholder model of business. This model states that “managers are obliged to look beyond profitability to help their organizations succeed by interacting with groups that have a stake in the organization” (Bateman, 2017).

The ethical responsibilities that Whataburger restaurants have taken on regarding their activities in the community are wide ranging. They offer their customers a high degree of customer service, but they also go above and beyond when the call arises. For instance, in June 2019, at a store in Burnet, Texas, the general manager, his wife, and the assistant manager spent several hours searching methodically through each back of garbage in the dumpster for a small diamond ring. According to the general manager “the customers are what Whataburger’s all about, Dilworth says. “If it weren’t for the customers, we wouldn’t be here as a business” (Whataburger, 2019). These employees were under no obligation to search through garbage in the dumpster, nor searching through anything at all. But, in furtherance of their mission statement, they chose to take that time to do as much as they could to assist the customer in finding her diamond ring. This builds a significant amount of goodwill with that customer who will tell her friends and family about the service she received. It goes beyond earning money for the company by having a direct impact on the life of someone who had a stake in her interaction with them that day.

Like most companies, Whataburger Restaurants, LLC conducts many philanthropic endeavors. These philanthropic endeavors bring money, attention, and volunteers to many different causes that fit in with the values of the company. One that Whataburger promotes on its website is “assisting the hungry” (Whataburger, n.d.). One large scale example of this was an annual massive food drive that was organized in San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas, where the company is headquartered during the entire month of September. Customers were encouraged to donate $1 to the “SA Goes Orange” campaign that benefited the San Antonio Food Bank, and in exchange they were given a voucher for a free hamburger with the purchase of a drink and fries. Employees, who are called Family Members were all encouraged to go to the Food Bank on a couple of days and volunteer their time. By raising awareness of the needs of people who are less fortunate and encouraging others to be mindful of it and seek to assist, goes a long way in showing pride in the community they are a part of.

Whataburger does many things for the communities they are present in. The culture of the company places an emphasis on being an active part of their community, because the community is where their family is. That’s also why their employees are called family members. Family takes care of each other. In that way, they take their Corporate Social Responsibility seriously. Doing so brings awareness of their business to potential customers who will keep coming back and know that they have someone around who can be called upon to take part in events and host fundraisers. Their community page has a place for organizations to request sponsorships, which makes it easier for the community organizations to get paired up with Whataburger.


Bateman, T., Snell, S., Konopaske, R. (02/2017). M: Management, 5th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from vbk://1260149749

Whataburger. (2019, November 18). She lost her mother’s wedding ring at Whataburger. These Family Members were determined to get it back. Retrieved December 3, 2019, from https://stories.whataburger.com/she-lost-her-mothers-wedding-ring-at-whataburger/.

Whataburger. (n.d.). The Whataburger Story. Retrieved December 3, 2019, from https://whataburger.com/company.

Whataburger. (n.d.). We Take Pride in Our Communities. Retrieved December 3, 2019, from https://whataburger.com/community.

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