17:40 PM

2-4-6-8 – Who do we appreciate?

2019 Fan Zone teams rally the teams and keep spirits high.

Wednesday morning, Robert Meeker was working at Unit 670 in Houston, Texas, when a fire started outside his restaurant.

“I joke that, as a manager, my job is to put out fires,” he said. “But this time, it was for real.”

A car backed up too close to some bushes, and somehow the exhaust sparked a small fire in the landscaping.

He and some other Family Members put it out, and then Meeker headed to the George R. Brown Convention Center to stir up sparks of a different kind as a member of the 2019 WhataGames Fan Zone.

“Working at Whataburger means there’s always a lot of excitement,” he says. “We get it all.”

Fan Zone 2019

The Whataburger Fan Zone began in 2013 to let competing WhataGames teams feel support from their Whataburger Family, even in the intensity of the competition.

Think of them as cheerleaders decked out head to toe in orange.

This year, 30 Family Members from 10 restaurants across Houston are on site at the games.

Getting Ready

In the Fan Zone Room, the clang of cowbells is drowned out by the sound of whistles and trumpets. Well-lit mirrors line a wall, and Family Members are queued up applying temporary Whataburger tattoos and dabbing on orange lipstick.

Kryston Crawford, a Family Member from Unit 997, poses for a photo holding an orange noisemaker, a Viking helmet (complete with braids) perched atop her head.

Nearby, Chelbi Gilbert – wearing a light-up orange tutu – demonstrates her Whataburger dance moves. It’s a skill she’s perfected in her work as a cashier and cook at Unit 542 the last four years. “I like to make it fun,” she says.

Orange Up!

Outside the room, the Fan Zone follows the competitors from game to game – cheering and keeping the energy high. When teams get an answer right during the Knowing Is Growing quiz show, they rattle their noisemakers and whoop. When an MSC tech identifies a broken piece of equipment correctly, they applaud loudly.

“I like to think we’re making a difference for them,” Meeker says. “We’re going to be the loudest, most supportive Fan Zone we can. It’s all about showing we care, because that’s what Whataburger does.”

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