LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — By now, you’ve probably heard there’s a new burger joint in Lee’s Summit. Whataburger made its debut in the Kansas City area on Monday with some people waiting six hours for a bite.
Whataburger Senior Area Manager Mike Garza said Kansas City broke the company’s opening day sales record.
But with all those sales come a lot of customers and traffic.
Lee’s Summit Police are doing their best to guide traffic and ease congestion, which had some people wondering if the city was paying for them out there.
FOX4 learned the police department has a corporate partnership with Whataburger.
Whataburger is paying to have four to six off-duty officers on site from 8 a.m. to midnight — no taxpayer money involved.
“We knew we were going to have a lot of people, so it was important to keep everything safe from a traffic standpoint,” Garza said.
Lee’s Summit police have laid out a new, temporary plan to get people their Whataburger. They had to make a few adjustments after opening day mayhem.
Officers shutdown the south entrance to the restaurant to keep access to Saint Luke’s East Hospital open.
“Working much better for us. It allows us to keep the hospital entrance clear. It allows other businesses along Douglas here to do their business,” Sgt. Chris Depue said, “and it keeps our back up to a minimum on a secondary roadway.”
People sitting in the drive-thru line Wednesday waited upward of an hour. Others who parked across the street and just walked inside got their food in minutes.
“Just about 10 minutes,” Ross Johnson said.
“How long did y’all wait?” Garza asked a customer. “Twenty minutes, not bad, not bad.”
Either way, an hour or 10 minutes is better than the six hours some waited just to get a bite on opening day. Several people ran out of gas, while waiting in line.
“We actually had to bring in tow trucks to bring folks out of the line that had run out of fuel,” Depue said, “which we thought was a little shocking.”
One former Texan turned around when he saw the mayhem Monday, but came back a few days later for the burger.
“Got a little taste of home,” Johnson said.
Officers will guide traffic at the Lee’s Summit location through at least Sunday.
Whataburger’s second Kansas City-area location opens in Independence on Nov. 29.