Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux proved again in 2021 to be a disruptor in the casual dining space as it closed the year with 27% positive same-store sales growth over 2020, $5 million in average unit volume and was named Entrepreneur’s “#1 Sports Bar Franchise” for the second consecutive year. Walk-On’s again made the top 100 of Entrepreneur’s “2022 Franchise 500 Ranking,” coming in at #87.
Sales weren’t the only growth areas for Walk-On’s as restaurant development hit new heights with 15 new restaurants in 2021 and 100 more in various stages of development. New markets opened include Kissimmee and Tallahassee, Florida; Oxford, Mississippi; Wilmington, North Carolina and more. In Lakeland, Florida, just outside of Tampa, Walk-On’s launched its new “Bulldog” building model in partnership with franchisee, Walking Tall Brands. The new restaurant design can reduce construction and real estate costs by 15% in some states and features elevated graphics and a new beer garden.
Leaning on its attractive business model, the best-in-class brand’s aggressive expansion efforts show no signs of slowing down as Walk-On’s plans to open 20 more restaurants in 2022 in new markets such as Gilbert, Arizona; Las Vegas; Pooler and Warner Robins, Georgia; and Wichita, Kansas. Walk-On’s impressive development year has attracted new and existing franchisees by showing that the brand has an authentic culture that fosters an environment where the team is bigger than the individual, expectations are exceeded, and every community served is positively impacted.
In the midst of rapid growth this year, Walk-On’s added to its C-suite with Chief Marketing Officer Luke DeRouen who has since led Walk-On’s success in all marketing functions and consumer engagement. Additionally, Walk-On’s promoted four in-house executives at its Baton Rouge-based headquarters and added a Vice President of IT, a Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis and a Director of Loyalty & Ecommerce to the brand’s newly announced Atlanta office to further build its winning leadership team.
In addition to its development and leadership advancements, Walk-On’s capitalized on the groundbreaking Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) policy across collegiate athletics by launching its Walk-On of the Week program. In 2021, Walk-On’s partnered with 19 collegiate athletes across the country, highlighting the special spirit of the underdog. Through the program, the brand ensured that walk-on athletes received the recognition and support they deserve.
“At Walk-On’s, we pride ourselves in being a leading national franchise in the restaurant and casual dining space, and 2021 proved no different,” says Walk-On’s CEO & Founder Brandon Landry. “As we head into 2022, we’re well-positioned to spur even more growth and couldn’t have made these strides without our incredible team. We are proud to continue to introduce Walk-On’s scratch-made Cajun and Americana cuisine and family-friendly atmosphere to more markets across the country as we kick off 2022.”
At Walk-On’s, each dish is made from scratch, using fresh ingredients to bring its mouthwatering, Louisiana cuisine to life. In 2021, the menu underwent a revamp that included several new food items, new signature cocktails and elevated plating. The diverse menu features unique twists on game-day staples and upscale takes on Louisiana mainstays, such as Crawfish Etouffee, Duck & Andouille Gumbo and Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding.