Whataburger and the Lost Art of Restaurant Architecture
Whataburger submitted some development plans for their new restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas and it's new look is going to take some getting used to.
I first tasted Whataburger in Palestine, Texas. The second time was on my move to Lubbock, Texas when I stopped for the night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And while I'm excited about Whataburger coming to Overland Park, Kansas and Blue Springs, their new building design is going to take a little bit of getting used to.
You see, many of Whataburger's restaurants in the Lubbock area, and the first ones I went to in Palestine and Tulsa, have the classic Whataburger look. A great distinctive mostly orange A-frame building. A building as truly as unique as the burgers they serve.
The new building design isn't that big a deal. It's not like anyone, including me, isn't going to stop in to Whataburger because the building isn't classic looking. It's just a different look. One that'll take some getting used to for us who experienced Whataburger in their classic buildings.
It's not just Whataburger that's changed their look over the years. Remember the old school Taco Bell restaurants? Or when McDonald's had the golden arches built into the restaurants? Or when Long John Silvers restaurants had a definitive nautical theme? Or Dairy Queen before the Grill and Chill concept? Or when every Arby's had the big neon cowboy hat sign?
These days it seems like most fast food joints look the same except for the colors and the signage. The Whataburger going into Overland Park looks very similar to what the new McDonald's look like. Or what the new Wendy's look like. Or the new Taco Bells. To an extent I think that's the point. If one fast food joint moves out, another can move in without much change.
I don't know if anyone still considers going out for fast food a treat. At some point in the past thirty years fast food has gone from being a treat to something that seems ubiquitous in all our lives. Or maybe thinking of fast food as being a treat is a child's notion.
Yet, I can't help but think part of what made going out for fast food special was seeing those huge golden arches. Or the neon cowboy hat. Or for those who grew up with Whataburger, those great orange and white A-frame buildings. In an era of the drive through and smaller restaurants; it seems the distinct architecture of restaurant brands has become a lost art. I think that's a little sad.