(NEXSTAR) — When Texas’ signature burger joint first opened in August 1950 in Corpus Christi, the unassuming location was notably different than the Whataburger you’re used to seeing. Can you imagine it: a Whataburger without the iconic orange and white colors?
It turns out, that color choice wasn’t coincidental. And it has a lot to do with aviation. In fact, the Texas State Historical Association says Dobson could often be seen flying a Whataburger banner over Corpus Christi — and even dropping out coupons!
“Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson was a pilot,” a Whataburger representative told Nexstar. “He had the goal of making Whataburgers as visible as possible and orange and white is a common color scheme around airports. Meaning: ‘pay attention.”
Whataburger’s signature orange bears similarities to a few other shades of orange, most notably “International Orange,” also known as aerospace orange. The color is often used for astronaut suits — and an offshoot shade can be seen on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
According to the Golden Gate Bridge organization, the color was chosen not only because it complimented the coast but because it “provides enhanced visibility for passing ships.” The color is so memorable, paint supplier Sherwin Williams even makes its own approximation of “Bridge International Orange” for consumers, known as “Fireweed.”
Aside from its colors, many Whataburger locations are recognizable for the “A-frame” structure, where the building is shaped like a large “A.” Original Whataburger buildings were larger than those we see today, since, as San Antonio Report explains, building codes changed over time and the height became outdated.
Whataburger currently has over 900 restaurants in 14 states, with an employee makeup over over 50,000, according to the company. Though Whataburger originally operated in Corpus Christi, home operations moved to San Antonio in 2009.