The Whataburger App Is Essentially Tracking Houston’s Ongoing Power Outage

Must read

Whataburger often comes through in desperate late-night hours, with many of its locations serving Breakfast-on-a-Buns, burgers, and fries with spicy ketchup at almost any time of day. But following the aftermath of Tropical Storm Beryl, which has left more than 1 million Houstonians without power, the Texas-based fast food chain has proved useful in an unexpected way.

The Whataburger app, which can be used to locate its nearby locations and place orders ahead of pickup, is acting as a power outage tracker, of sorts — with its map revealing which locations are closed during normal operating hours. X user @BBQBryan pointed out the feature on Tuesday, July 9, noting that the number of Whataburger’s closed outposts is a testament to Houston’s power outages and quite “handy since the electric company doesn’t show a map.” As of this afternoon, the app’s map of its Houston area locations is overwhelmingly gray, with only about 40 Whataburger locations in the area lit up with orange icons to indicate that they’re open. An initial count showed nearly 100 Whataburger locations were closed.

Users could deduce that these Whataburgers, which normally reflect the “open” status during operating hours, are closed because they experienced some of Beryl’s impacts, possibly leaving them damaged or without power. On July 9, a representative for Whataburger responded to Eater Houston via email, saying that about half of its 165 stores in the Houston and surrounding areas are open. This includes locations as far south as Texas City and as far west as Katy, but that the number will continue to change.

Whataburger president and CEO Ed Nelson said in a statement to Eater Houston that he’s glad the app has been helpful in understanding where power might be available in the city. “Keep in mind, the app should only be used as a general idea of power availability. We encourage residents to call local units to see if they are open and operating. Everyone please be safe if you leave your home,” he said.

Power outages began early Monday, when Beryl, then considered a category 1 hurricane, hit the Houston area with winds as high as 89 miles per hour. More than 2 million residents were left without power, and many neighborhoods flooded — left, after the storm, covered in debris and fallen trees. Many Houston restaurants remain closed and without power, still, while others have rushed open to serve the Houston community. Houston energy company Centerpoint Energy reports that it expects to restore power to 1 million residents by the end of Wednesday.

Update: July 9, 4:43 p.m.: This story has been updated to include additional information from the Whataburger president and CEO and a representative about the Whataburger app and its use for tracking power outages.

More articles

Latest article