Garden City is “central western Kansas,” Amro Samy said, which is why he’s opening his first Walk-On’s Sports Bistros in the city of about 30,000 people.
“People will be traveling 50 miles to come to Garden,” said Samy, who has signed a regional development agreement with Walk-On’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and will open its first unit next summer. “They are hungry for new concepts, new ideas and a different flavor.
And Walk-On’s brings that flavor. Samy, who co-owns five Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom stores in Kansas and owns a construction business, said Walk-On’s scratch kitchen was a big reason he was drawn to the brand. Its menu is one of Louisiana-inspired dishes such as Voodoo Shrimp & Grits and Cajundillas, along with signature burgers, pastas, salads, and cocktails.
“My background is food and drink, I’m from the country club world,” he said, so he wanted a concept with a strong culinary focus. He also liked the sports bar shutter, but noted that there was always a family atmosphere and it was “not just about dads watching sports on TV.”
Founders Brandon Landry and Jack Warner opened the first Walk-On’s in 2003 in Baton Rouge, growing it in southern Louisiana. In 2015, he lured former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as an investor and franchisee.
Landry, now CEO, is very involved in the growth of the brand, Samy said, which was important to him as a franchisee. “His hand is in it and his team understands their goals,” Samy said. “They talk about culture at every meeting. … The culture they preach is reflected in the training. He highlighted the emphasis on continuing education, with CEOs and other executives visiting company headquarters every six months for additional training to deepen their expertise in areas such as financial performance.
Walk-On’s increased system-wide sales by 13.3% in 2020, to $ 152 million, and ended the year with 43 restaurants, according to Franchise Times Top 400 data. existing franchisees and visiting several restaurants, Samy said the company quickly made adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic to increase its take-out and delivery sales.
“It helped the volume a lot,” he said, while on the support side he heard from an Arkansas franchisee who opened a new location just weeks before the pandemic-related closures and ” he said the company team really rallied behind him and supported him, that’s important to me.
The average unit volume of franchise locations was $ 3.8 million in 2020, according to the brand’s franchise backgrounder; for company-owned restaurants it was $ 4.7 million. The total investment to open a Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux ranges from $ 1.2 million to $ 4.4 million, including a franchise fee of $ 60,000.