Dear Patrick Mahomes, Kansas and Missouri Whataburger fans can use your help again

·3 min read

“Every experience, good or bad, you have to learn from”

— Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

Dear Patrick,

We could use your help. Not on the gridiron — although we wouldn’t turn that down — but on the griddle.

I recently had my first, and long-awaited, experience at a Whataburger restaurant in Kansas.

And well, I wouldn’t rate it a touchdown — more like a fumble rolling around on the Astroturf waiting for somebody to pick it up.

Having done a little research, I’m aware that the Overland Park Whataburger that I went to is not the one you opened two weeks ago in Kansas City, Kan. — congrats on that BTW.

Nor is it one of the 30 or so your franchise group is planning, to eventually build a Whataburger empire stretching from St. Joseph, Mo. to Wichita.

But the Overland Park store is owned by the Whataburger company and they listen to you.

When you said how much you missed their ketchup, they put it on store shelves in Kansas and Missouri. And when you said you’d like them to put a restaurant in Kansas City, they drew up plans and started building.

Since then, for better or worse, you’re the face of the franchise here.

Now, I’m relatively sure you’ve never heard of me. As regular Wichita Eagle readers know, I’m from southern California — In-N-Out Burger’s my hometown team and I’m rooting for them to one day discover the Sunflower State.

But Whataburger has always been a reliable second-read for me. I’ve never actually lived anyplace they are, but it’s a nice vacation treat when I get down into Oklahoma or Texas.

Whataburger makes a good hamburger, but I hardly ever order one. For my money, you guys have the best chicken strips, white gravy and Texas toast in the fast-food world.

I was pretty jazzed when you got Whataburger to put one in near my son’s Overland Park apartment.

Our expectations were pretty high when we went there. It was around 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and there was a long line at the drive-through, so we decided to eat in.

That was a mistake. None of the tables had apparently been cleaned in hours, so we picked the least dirty one and wiped it off ourselves. I wasn’t about to handle the big pile of used napkins under the table, so I kicked it off to one side.

Employees watched us do it. Four were sitting in a nearby booth, eating, and a fifth was standing there chatting with them.

I can’t say exactly what was going on in the kitchen, but we did get served, eventually.

The kicker is as we were leaving, an employee was putting a sign on the door announcing “Due to Staffing Issue Our Dining Room Will be closing at 10:30pm,” an hour and a half early.

We had a good laugh over that one. Out of seven employees we saw, only two actually seemed to be doing anything.

So Patrick, I’m sorry, but it’s up to you to save the game.

Make a call to Whataburger. You’ve got their number. Maybe swing by Overland Park and give them a pep talk or something, before Whataburger gets a reputation as the Detroit Lions of the local fast-food industry.

Do it for the fans, do it for your legacy, do it for the good name of Whataburger, and we’ll all go home happy.

And good luck on the field next season.

Your friend you’ve never met,