Report: Whataburger spends $200 thousand per year replacing stolen table tents

State & Regional

Taking a number at Whataburger has come to mean something a little different.

A Whataburger tent order number sits on a table in Dallas, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Police commanders in Houston say order numbers taken from a popular Texas fast-food restaurant cannot be used to mark evidence at crime scenes. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

SAN ANTONIO — Many Texans have taken one of Whataburger’s orange and white striped, numbered “tents,” but many don’t know that this thievery costs the fast food giant hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

According to a report by Texas Monthly, Whataburger spends more than $200,000 per year replacing the stolen tents.

“We just believe it’s the cost of doing business,” Rich Scheffler, Whataburger’s vice president of marketing and innovation told Texas Monthly. “When we see them on a dashboard or somebody’s desk or shelf, it makes us proud that somebody likes us that much. We’re pleased that our customers have that connection.”

In 2017 the Associated Press reported that Houston Police were no longer allowed to use Whataburger table tents as crime scene evidence markers. Police were concerned that using the table tents would be seen as an endorsement of one fast joint over another.

The iconic markers are for sale on Ebay — perhaps some of them taken under the table from a Whataburger. But for the person who wants to purchase a table tent with a clean conscience, there are variations of them online at the Whataburger website.

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