Now Wilson is helping the company prepare for the next phase of operations. He returned to business school, and after managing multiple kitchens as the brand’s executive chef, he transitioned into his current role. Wilson hopes to take the reins as CEO one day after his uncle, Richard Frank, decides he’s ready to step down. “It was much more organic than it probably appears on the outside,” he says.
“I am very confident saying that even if my family wasn't in the restaurant business, I think I would have found my way there,” Wilson adds. “I love hospitality. I love cooking. And now I'm really inspired by and challenged by the opportunity of putting the whole business picture together between real estate and design, concept creation, and making the whole thing work.”
The next phase
Wilson’s expertise is helping Lawry’s modernize and stay competitive. After 80 years, some things need to be updated.
Wilson recognized the brand needed to update their menu without upsetting longtime customers. He worked with consultancy the Culinary Edge to develop new recipes that complement the current lineup. An outside perspective allowed the brand to get feedback without having an emotional attachment. The brand also worked with consultants from the Culinary Edge to create fast casual Lawry’s Carvery.
“It allowed me to kind of step away from day-to-day operations, which is one of the goals of going back to business school and letting other people in operations pick up the day-to-day firefighting,” Wilson says.
Lawry’s is known as a special occasion establishment. Tauschman thinks the new menu additions will bring in new customers and give existing ones a chance to try something new. The menu is adding classic steakhouse dishes, like Lobster Louie and different cuts of steak.