The firm, known for its efforts with Tropical Smoothie Café and Slim Chickens, has long run by the mantra of helping “founders create dominant brands.” And managing partner Tom Wells saw that in Landry.
“We believe Walk-On’s is the future of the casual-dining segment,” Wells said.
The deal arose from a friendship Wells and his partner, Scott Pressly, developed with Landry over the past three years.
For some perspective, Tropical Smoothie opened 99 restaurants in 2020, signed 254 new franchise agreements—70 of which came from existing franchisees—and is on track to eclipse the 1,000-unit mark in 2021. The top 50 percent of operators boast AUVs north of $982,000.
Slim Chickens, meanwhile, closed last year having signed 150 multi-unit agreements with 15 groups and expects to open more than 50 restaurants in 2021. The 116-unit brand grew its franchise system 30 percent as it opened 15 stores during the crisis stretch.
Today, just four of Walk-On’s 50 restaurants are corporate. And the goal moving forward is to scale via franchising. So this mettle 10 Point Capital brings to the table isn’t anything to undervalue.
Landry says the firm introduced Walk-On’s brass to Slim Chickens and Tropical Smoothie leaders. They let the restaurateurs make the pitch.
“For us, it was a strategic play,” Landry says. “I never wanted to get down the road and say, ‘man, I wish I would have.’”
Landry admits one of his strengths as a founder-owner is knowing when to surround himself with “great people,” like president Scott Taylor, who joined 11 years ago when Walk-On’s had just five corporate employees, including its two founders. 10 Point Capital was like that in a way.
The company might not have experience in the sports-grill-bar category, but it surely understands the nature of growing franchises.
“We’re looking at development. We’re looking at all types of different things that they’ve been there and done that with other companies,” Landry says. “So, for us, it’s awesome to sit there and pick their brain.”
These days, Walk-On’s is eyeing new franchise opportunities in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
And it’s doing so with some COVID lessons in tow.