Hurricane Beryl victims use Whataburger app to track power outages

Whataburger restaurant

HOUSTON — Hurricane Beryl left more than 2 million people without power shortly after the storm. Many are upset that electricity provider CenterPoint Energy has not been able to share ongoing work to restore power so they’re using Whataburger’s app to find where electricity is flowing.

A social media user who goes by the name BBQ Bryan suggested using the app to track where power is available and where it is still out.

Orange Whataburger logos mean the restaurant is open. No hamburger icon means its drive-thru only. If there’s a hamburger icon, then the restaurant is open and can take online orders. Grey means it is closed, KHOU reported.

The burger company typically is open 24 hours, KRIV reported.

Whataburger has reached out to the man on X writing, “Well there’s a use for our app we didn’t think of! We hope you and everyone else are okay!” and offering to send him something for “using the app so creatively!”

KPRC reported the burger chain’s President and CEO Ed Nelson released a statement about using the app to track where power is restored, writing:

“Whataburger is that friend by your side in good times and bad. We’re glad the Whataburger app has been helpful to Houston residents to understand where power is available in the city. Keep in mind, the app should only be used as a general idea of power availability. We encourage residents to call local units to see if they are open and operating. Everyone please be safe if you leave your home.”

This isn’t the first time a restaurant has been used to track after-storm recovery. The “Waffle House Index” referenced by a Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator is well known.

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work,” Craig Fugate said, according to The New York Times.

Waffle House has a similar signal on its location map: Green means full menu and that damage in the area is limited; yellow is a limited menu and power is coming from a generator with limited supplies; red is closed meaning severe damage in the area or it is unsafe.

KPRC and The New York Times reported CenterPoint Energy’s outage tracker has been having issues since a derecho hit the Houston region. The power company released a restoration tracker on Tuesday, a light version of the tool typically used.

The utility company said, “As CenterPoint completes its damage assessment in the coming days, it will provide more detailed information about expected restoration timing.”

As of Tuesday evening 1.56 million customers were without power, KRIV reported.

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