A major restaurant chain uses AccuWeather to drive business decisions
"Before we had AccuWeather, we had to rely on alerts and forecast information coming from the National Weather Service. It was very slow and clunky, and we were not able to get timely information out to our units and travelers in a timely manner. This could have been very detrimental to our restaurants, family members, and customer safety."
Emergency Manager, Whataburger Command Center
When it comes to serving your customers, it’s more than just providing them with a good meal. It is a top priority to ensure they are safe from the threat of severe weather. That’s true for the restaurant chain Whataburger, which knows firsthand how extreme weather can impact more than just business operations.
Tornadoes are generally on the ground for less than a mile and only a few minutes, but they can have devastating impacts if unprepared. So when a tornado came through Tulsa, Oklahoma, damaging one of Whataburger’s units, fortunately, there were only minor injuries, but it could have been much worse. “We never had the complete picture on what was going to occur,” Ron Derrick, Emergency Manager for Whataburger, said. “It is something that we will never go through again. We will always have a good and accurate severe storm provider because our customers and family members deserve it.”
When tornadoes are in the forecast, AccuWeather For Business clients receive, on average, 16 additional minutes of advance notice compared to eight minutes from other weather providers. This gives businesses more time to activate their emergency plans, evacuate employees and customers to shelters, ultimately saving lives.
“Before we had AccuWeather, we had to rely on alerts and forecast information coming from the National Weather Service,” Derrick said. “It was very slow and clunky, and we were not able to get timely information out to our units and travelers in a timely manner. This could have been very detrimental to our restaurants, family members, and customer safety.”
Most of Whataburger’s restaurants are in "Tornado Alley," a part of the country prone to severe weather. It is vital for businesses in this area to receive advance notice and accurate forecasts when tornadoes threaten. “AccuWeather puts out very timely reports, warnings, and storm cones that we can track these tornados and get information out in front of them,” Derrick said. “With the information we receive from AccuWeather, we send communications to our units in the path and give them time to prepare for what is about to come.”
At AccuWeather For Business, we provide our clients with a one-stop shop for our services. “Other vendors offered great individual components of what we needed, but we felt that AccuWeather offered the total package that we were looking for,” Derrick said. “We have to have quick and accurate information that we can quickly triage and then turn it around and send out to our Operational teams.”
Businesses use AccuWeather For Business for many different reasons, not only for day-to-day operations but also to plan and prepare for large-scale events. “We not only use the program for severe weather, but we also use the forecasts to give our teams a look at what the weather is going to do for our numerous outdoor events,” Derrick said. “It is refreshing to get a vendor that is so responsive and caring for our company needs.”
“We have always been able to rely on the forecast models to make business decisions, and they have always been spot on.”
Ron Derrick, Emergency Manager, Whataburger Command Center
In February 2023, a significant ice storm impacted millions of people and businesses across the South, including a large portion of central and northern Texas. “I was able to stay out in front of the storm and get the information to the operations leaders. They knew what was coming, and they were able to prepare for it,” Derrick said. It also put him in the position to reach out to vendors in advance to ensure they had enough supplies. “They were able to order additional food and bread supplies because they knew by the forecast the product vendors were not going to be able to deliver for a few days while this ice storm impacted a good portion of our Texas network.” Derrick also guided operations from their command center by watching the active radars and receiving information on the start and stop times of the rain and ice.
Whataburger’s command center can see all severe weather threats through AccuWeather For Business dashboard, which provides a quick look at the overall picture and how the weather will impact their assets. “All of our corporate units, franchise, Tier-1 suppliers, and our offices/learning centers are plotted on the map in all 14 states. I can look up and get a quick snapshot of severe weather, watches, and warnings without having to click on a bunch of applications or pages,” Derrick said.
Weather impacts both daily decisions and business planning decisions in advance. “Our Marketing department uses the weather forecasts to drive decisions of what food products and shakes to offer, what type of burgers to offer in different areas,” Derrick said. “We look at going to limited menus in severe weather or hurricane-prone areas knowing we may not get the product deliveries.“
So why use AccuWeather? “I firmly believe it is in your name. The accuracy of the forecasts, the accuracy of the warnings, and the timeliness of the warnings are impeccable. Our business relies on AccuWeather to be right, and they are. Reliability is huge in our business, and AccuWeather provides that reliability,” Derrick said.