Bates had opened the very first Whopper Burger location in 1955 with just $500 out of his own pocket, and by the 1980’s, he was operating 20 locations in Texas (via My San Antonio). As a result, Bates also legally owned the trademark and rights to the word “Whopper” in the area. Understandably, he didn’t want Burger King’s Whopper encroaching on his turf, so he banned the chain from using the term on any advertising, signs, or restaurants anywhere in the San Antonio area. As you can imagine, Burger King was not too happy about the ban on advertising their most popular product, but they had little legal recourse in the matter.
Instead, they were forced to advertise their famous sandwich as a “Deluxe,” rather than by its given name. The “Deluxe” never took off, and the restaurant was forced to close its doors. However, in 1983, Bates passed away, and his widow sold off the Whopper Burger chain to Burger King’s parent company, according to The Daily Meal. By 1985, Burger King could not only reclaim the Whopper name and advertise their product, they had promised to make San Antonio the “home of the Whopper” (via My San Antonio). Now, customers can purchase their Whoppers at one of the many Burger King locations that are open and operating in the San Antonio area today.