Fierce Rivals to Fast Friends
Shared love for Mariachi, Whataburger Hits All the Right Notes
Sometimes, friendships click from the first meeting.
For Noah Lozano and Alan Cruz, trumpet-playing rivals in the middle school band competition scene, not so much.
“We didn’t like each other,” Alan said.
“At all,” Noah agreed.
But when Noah and Alan found themselves in the same mariachi group at PSJA North Early College High School in Pharr, Texas, rivalry became an alliance.
“He's like a brother to me,” Noah said.
“What made him different from everyone else for me is that I could rely on him for everything,” Alan agreed.
The friends bonded over their love for mariachi, the challenges of navigating high school in a pandemic, and then, their jobs at Whataburger.
Alan started as a Team Member at the restaurant down the street from their high school, and he talked Noah into joining him soon after.
“Nobody does it like Whataburger,” Alan said. “Whataburger is always there for me.”
"I have always had a passion to make this unit better, in every sense,” said Noah. “That is why I feel so prideful about this. I love all the opportunities they give me, I love all the people that work here… I love this job."
Alan and Noah’s pride in their friendship, music and Whataburger all came together in harmony last summer when the mariachi team was returning home from a performance.
"You want to show off what you create every day – the environment, the culture, the people that you work with – and it starts with their pride.”
The choice of Whataburger for lunch was unanimous. But for Alan and Noah, not just any Whataburger would do. It had to be *their* Whataburger.
Once there, the group wasn’t about to just eat and run. Noah convinced the mariachi directors that an impromptu concert was in order. Soon, the dining room echoed with gritos.
“It was crazy,” said Alan, who has become the group’s lead vocalist. “Everybody just started clapping and cheering. For weeks afterward, I was getting compliments.”
For Operating Partner Monica Esparza, the shared music was a natural outpouring of community – forged in teamwork, trust and a rivalry that now hits all the right notes.
“They challenge each other, which is the best part,” Esparza said. “Now, they are climbing the ladder together. You want to show off what you create every day – the environment, the culture, the people that you work with – and it starts with their pride.”
Whataburger is the hometown hamburger place that hasn’t compromised. We serve bold flavors and original recipes made to order, just like you like it, and pride ourselves on extraordinary hospitality and meaningful connections in our communities. That’s what’s led fans to Whataburger since Harmon Dobson served our first customer in 1950. Headquartered in San Antonio, we’ve stayed close to our roots while building sales of more than $3 billion annually across our 14-state footprint and over 900 locations. Even with our exceptional menu, we know that people make the difference at Whataburger. That’s why we’re a 2022 Top Workplaces Culture Excellence award winner. Want to become part of our orange spirit? Apply to become a Family Member (what we call our employees) at whataburger.com/careers. Just hungry for a great meal? Download our app on ios or android to order ahead. Shop Whataburger branded merchandise and selected sauces including our famous Fancy and Spicy Ketchup at WhataStore.com and find Whataburger original-recipe products in grocery stores. See our press kit for a list of locations, fun facts, milestones and other company information.