Houston Texans star J.J. Watt has called on fans of fast food chain Whataburger to buy the Texas-based fast food joint back after a majority stake was sold to a Chicago investment firm.
News of the sale to Chicago-based BDP capital Partners prompted dismay from its fans, including the Houston Texans defensive end, who tweeted his proposal.
Watt tweeted, “Ok, I say we all chip in and buy Whataburger back. Make honey butter chicken biscuits available all day, add kolaches to the menu and change nothing else. Especially not the ketchup.”
Watt has shown himself to be a galvanizing force when it comes to causes outside football, helping raise more than $37 million to help Houston recover from Hurricane Harvey, among other charitable endeavors.
Other fans took to social media to express their thoughts on the sale, including Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
“Whata-shame,” Bush tweeted.
Whataburger tweeted a letter to its fans, assuring them the chain will always be a part of Texas.
“Texas, we don’t want you to be upset. We will always be Texan and represent you in a way that makes you proud #believethat,” the company wrote.
The purchase is slated to be finalized by the end of the summer and will be subject to regulatory overview.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. BDT Capital Partners, which often invests in family-owned companies, will provide long-term capital and guidance as Whataburger, which has its headquarters in San Antonio, competes at a time when convenience stores are offering more food options and eating into market share.
Last month, the company confirmed to local media that it had hired Morgan Stanley to explore its options, including a possible sale.
The first Whataburger opened in 1950 as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi. It now has nearly 700 restaurants in Texas and more than 150 others in southern states extending from Arizona to Florida. Whataburger is known for its white-and-orange-striped packaging and its spicy ketchup.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.