Whataburger, Inc. announced today it has closed its largest franchising deal for the state of Florida. The partnership with a franchise group called JWB Ventures includes a commitment to build 28 Whataburger units in the Jacksonville area.

Investors in the franchise group include: Arizona Cardinals lineman Leonard Davis, retired Cardinal Andre Wadsworth, retired Miami Dolphins linebacker Robert Jones, Buffalo Bills lineman Mike Williams, retired Dell executive Jay Bell and his wife Rhonda Bell and Debi Schneider, wife of investor and Dell CFO James Schneider. Other investors include Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell and Flynn Kile, widow of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile. Austin businessman Gregory L. Feste will serve as general partner and head the group.

“The Whataburger concept is one of the best and most exciting opportunities we have run across in years—we are so pleased to be associated with the entire Whataburger family whose people and product are absolutely first rate,” said Mr. Feste, founder and chairman of FesteCapital, an Austin investment and consulting firm. “We’re confident that our strategic alliance with Whataburger, coupled with the resources and management that FesteCapital brings to the table will make a mark in Jacksonville—a sure success for our customers as well as our team.”

The franchise deal is the result of Whataburger’s aggressive development initiative that began in 2001. Since the initiative began, the company has received franchisee commitments for more than 60 new units, far exceeding projections and average growth rates within the industry.

“Whataburger and JWB will be a winning team,” said Whataburger President and COO Tim Taft. “Mr. Feste and his partners will elevate Florida to a key market for Whataburger and we welcome them into the Whataburger family.”

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