But don't cancel dinner plans just yet: The dozen freebies will be meted out one at a time over a three-week period.
Diners who register at Whataburger's Web site will receive 12 coupons good for fries, drinks and breakfast taquitos via e-mail between Dec. 1 and Dec. 24. As spokeswoman Natalie Silva explains, each coupon expires at the end of the day. The promotion will culminate on Christmas Eve with a coupon for a free burger.
According to a 2007 report by the Corpus Christi Caller, the burger chain considered rolling out the deal two years ago, but canceled its plans when e-mails were leaked in advance of an official announcement. "The '12 Days of Whataburger' were just too good to be true," the paper lamented, explaining why electronic coupons already in circulation wouldn't be honored.
Whataburger doesn't anticipate any problems this time around, although Silva concedes the program isn't entirely altruistic. The company hopes coupon users will maintain the habit of dining at Whataburger every other day.
Harmon Dobson, who dreamed of serving a burger it took two hands to hold, opened the first Whataburger in Corpus Christi in 1950. The family-owned business remains a regional chain, with 700 locations in just 10 states: Its northernmost store is in Tulsa. Still, Silva maintains Whataburger's fans' devotion knows no bounds: The home office lovingly refers to its most faithful followers as "fanatics."
Silva says Whataburger plans to continue rewarding its loyal patrons with specials such as "12 Days of Whataburger."
"Whataburger has just started a new campaign to give back and show appreciation for our customers," she says. "Customers will see more of this moving forward."