Last Modified: Saturday, November 21, 2015 9:23 AMToday’s official opening of Walk-On’s newest location — at 5313 Common St. in Lake Charles — has not only gained the attention of residents in the region, but also that of Walk-On’s Enterprises co-owner Drew Brees.
The New Orleans Saints’ quarterback recently said he plans to visit the Lake Charles location in the near future.
Walk-On’s is now located in six Louisiana cities, including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Shreveport.
Brees told the American Press that he knew long ago he wanted to be involved with the Walk-On’s brand. He said all it took was a meeting with co-owner Brandon Landry 18 months ago to make the concept a reality.
In May, the company announced an agreement had been reached with Brees to become a co-owner of Walk-On’s Enterprises — the company that operates the sports bar chain, Happy’s Irish Pub and Walk-On’s Catering.
“I have been a huge fan of Walk On’s ever since they came to New Orleans, and was always inspired by their story. I loved everything about it — great food, great environment and culture, friendly and professional staff. I told myself if I ever started a sports bar I would want it to be just like that,” Brees said.
“I got the chance to meet Brandon Landry about 18 months ago and told him exactly that. The timing was perfect. Walk-On’s was ready to take things to the next level as a franchise model nationwide, and my experience as a Jimmy John’s franchisee and love for the brand made a perfect fit.”
Walk-On’s was voted 2012’s “Best Sports Bar in North America” in a contest by ESPN Mobile. Over 5,000 nominations were submitted to ESPN by mobile users as part of the contest.
Brees said that “the culture and environment” are the most important elements to the Walk-On’s locations. When asked if he plans to be heavily involved in the company’s expansion over the next few years, he replied simply: “Of course.”
Landry said that while the rising population and industrial expansion in Southwest Louisiana make the region a booming market, some of the equally important aspects of choosing to place a franchise in Lake Charles focused on finding “the perfect franchise partner.”
Clarence Vallet, who has nearly four decades of service industry experience, is the franchisee of the Lake Charles location.
Still, Landry said the idea is for the company to grow strategically.
“We aren’t interested in growth for growth’s sake, but rather steady, strategic expansion through both company-owned and franchised locations. We think there’s a place for Walk-On’s in markets all across the U.S., but we’re focusing first on the Southern tier of the country, where we think our brand is uniquely suited,” Landry said.
“That said, there’s no reason Walk-On’s wouldn’t succeed in Times Square or in downtown Los Angeles too, provided we find the right franchise partner who knows the market and is committed to delivering outstanding service.”
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