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Ed Nelson tapped as Whataburger chief executive officer

Sixteen-year veteran takes helm of burger chain amid pandemic

BDT Capital Partners promoted Ed Nelson, the president of portfolio-chain Whataburger, to CEO. As a 16-year veteran of the burger chain, Nelson took on the role of president last July. Tiffany Hagge, partner at BDT Capital and board member at Whataburger, has described Nelson as a visionary leader. Most recently, he’s been working with a Strategy Council to provide support to Whataburger restaurants during the pandemic.

Whataburger executives mentioned several initiatives that have benefited from Nelson’s leadership:

  • Supporting the operations of a 24/7 Command Center to keep employees and customers safe
  • Shifting the 837-unit chain to be more operationally efficient
  • Launching curbside and delivery service across its 10-state footprint
  • Introducing three, new limited-time offer burgers
  • Building seven new restaurants
  • Unveiling modern restaurant designs, including a new prototype
  • Launching a franchising program for the first time in 20 years
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“Despite the challenging environment presented by COVID-19, Whataburger’s sales have surpassed existing records, and the restaurant teams have achieved new levels of operational success, broadly outperforming the industry,” said Hagge.

“Ed has been an exceptional leader of the Whataburger team through this adversity, while staying true to the company’s long legacy of serving up amazing burgers and hospitality—and, most importantly, maintaining Whataburger’s culture of strong Family values, throughout.”

In addition, Whataburger announced its plan to open nine more units by the end of 2020.

Now a CPA, Nelson received his Bachelor’s degree in finance and Master’s of accountancy from Clemson University.

Photo credit: Whataburger (featured preview image)

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