Ernst & Young, LLP today announced that Walk-On’s Founder Brandon Landry was named an Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Gulf Coast Area Award finalist. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur Of the Year program honors entrepreneurial business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain successful businesses that transform the world. Landry credits his Walk-On’s team for this honor – with determined leaders at the franchise office and a committed group of franchise partners, the brand is poised for continued long-term success as it aims to close out 2020 with 42 restaurants across the country.
Award winners will be announced through a special virtual event on October 6, 2020 and will join a lifelong community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world. This is one of the preeminent competitive award programs for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The nominees are evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries around the world. This year, unstoppable entrepreneurs who have provided extraordinary support for their communities, employees and others during the COVID-19 crisis will also be recognized for their courage, resilience and ingenuity.
Landry was faced with the ultimate leadership test – forced to innovate and adapt amid the pandemic to support franchisees and continue to serve Walk-On’s communities safely in a time of need. Immediately stepping into action, Landry temporarily suspended royalty payments for franchisees, with the suggestion that owners pour those funds into homegrown efforts to support their team members. This move allowed franchisees to retain all managers to preserve company culture and have a foundation set for post-pandemic efforts. Meanwhile, Walk-On’s adapted its business operations to offer Curbside ‘To-Geaux’ and third-party delivery while rolling out all-new family value meals, take & bake options, grocery to-geaux, and more. Notably, Walk-On’s joined forced with Furlough Kitchen to debut “Furlough Kitchen by Walk-On’s,” a non-profit organization that provided furloughed hospitality workers free meals, no matter their former employer. The initiative served over 30,000 meals with more than 20 activations across five states.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized as a finalist for this award,” says Landry. “To me, this is a reminder of the incredible culture we’ve built, and our hardworking franchisees and dedicated leadership team – all working together to propel this brand to greatness. By coming together as a team and supporting each other and our communities, we’ve been able to successfully navigate the pandemic. As a result, we’ve strengthened our company culture and remain committed to innovation and growth as we push forward with new openings and development deals to expand our presence nationwide.”
Recent agreements confirm rapid expansion plans with an additional 150 locations sold and in development across the Southeast and Midwest regions that will open over the next five years. Additional target markets include filling key DMAs throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Popular for being both the go-to place for game day and an eatery known for quality, scratch-made dishes, Walk-On’s has carved its own vertical to best support what fans love most. Whether it be for date night, a drink, girl’s-night-out or a family dinner, Walk-On’s is the place for everyone – because everyone needs a little playing time.