Fatburger's parent to acquire Johnny Rockets for $25M

The deal will add 325 locations to the fold of Fat Brands.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The parent of Fatburger, Ponderosa and Bonanza has agreed to acquire the 325-unit Johnny Rockets retro malt shop concept for $25 million from the private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners.

All but nine of the Johnny Rockets restaurants are franchised. The full-service chain specializes in burgers and milk shakes served in a 1950s-style environment.

Fat Brands said it will fund the deal through a combination of cash on hand and funds available through its securitization facility.  The company said it expects the deal to close in September.

With the purchase, Fat Brands’ holdings will expand to about 700 restaurants generating sales of $700 million, the company said. Those holdings include Hurricane Grill & Wings, Buffalo’s Cafe/Express, Elevation Burger and Yalla Mediterranean.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to add another true staple in our home city to our portfolio,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of Los Angeles-based Fat Brands. “This acquisition is a transformative event for Fat Brands in terms of scale and brand awareness. We see a lot of synergy with Johnny Rockets and our current restaurant concepts and we are eager to take the brand to new heights.”

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Wendy's, whose chairman is an activist, may be getting an activist

The Bottom Line: Activist investor Blackwells apparently plans to nominate “several directors” to the burger chain’s board, according to Reuters.


Yes, there is such a thing as too fast in the quick-service world

The Bottom Line: In a world of digital orders and drive-thrus, friendly service actually matters more than speed.


BK franchisee Carrols goes from tragedy to triumph

The big Burger King franchisee has overcome a pandemic, inflation, questions about its future and the death of multiple executives to become the industry’s best turnaround story of 2023.


More from our partners