KMO Burger, the franchisee that includes Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, is breaking ground on their first Whataburger location.
The event will be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at 10780 Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, just north of the Legends Outlets Kansas City. Logan’s Roadhouse had formerly operated on the site.
Whataburger expects to open there in early 2022 and have about 110 employees.
KMO Burger plans 30 locations from St. Joseph to Wichita in the next seven years, but most will be in the Kansas City area.
The Texas-based Whataburger opened two corporate locations in November — Independence and Lee’s Summit — to overwhelming response. Many longtime fans waited hours to get their fix and some introduced friends and family to the chain.
The Lee’s Summit restaurant had an above average opening day with 1,500 customers. It sold 1,300 double meat Whataburgers, 333 triple meat Whataburgers, 304 jalapeno and cheese Whataburgers, 1348 single Whataburgers, and 245 spicy chicken sandwiches. One of the biggest orders of the day was for 26 Whataburgers for an office.
Whataburger was founded in 1950 and now has more than 850 locations in 11 states and sales of more than $2.8 billion annually. The metro has a dozen in the works, including one at 8420 W. 135th St., Overland Park, scheduled to open in early 2022.
Some area fans are unhappy that an urban location has yet to be announced, and area real estate sources say it could be awhile before one opens in the heart of the metro.
David M. Block, president of Block & Co. Inc. Realtors, said Whataburger wants to be near schools and students who like fast food restaurants, and is looking for daytime and nighttime traffic.
“In the inner city what you have is what you have. There is not a lot of expectation of future expansive residential growth and school age kids,” he said. “If they can nail down a good area with a long-term growth viability they will not only get the kids, they will get them when they become adults.”
It also is often easier to find available land in the suburbs, and the areas offer easy access to the interstate.
Whataburger is going through planning for a location at 95Metcalf in Overland Park, a Lane4 Property Group development.
Wes Buckley, vice president of Lane4 Property Group, said fast food restaurants are requiring larger sites — an acre or an acre-and-a-half — for double drive-thrus and parking. Prime urban spots large enough might already have tenants with long-term leases or buildings that have to be demolished.
“It’s not that they don’t want to go there,” Buckley said. “The sites are just getting bigger and land can be more expensive in the high traffic corridors of urban areas.”
And, sources say, some high traffic urban locations might not be able to handle the additional traffic a Whataburger would bring.
Could Whataburger open an urban site without drive-thrus? Real estate sources said that’s a possibility if it was a prominent, high foot traffic area.