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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 1 year ago

NFL star's restaurant chain expands in region with multi-unit franchise deal

Walk On’s Bistreaux & Bar, co-owned by Drew Brees, will open six new locations in the Tampa Bay region over the next five years.

TAMPA — Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar, a Baton Rouge, La.-based sports bar and grill chain co-owned by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, has signed a new multi-unit development deal with Tampa franchisee Mike Lester.

Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar franchisee Mike Lester will open six restaurants in the Tampa Bay region over the next five years. Courtesy photo.

According to a press release, Lester — who formerly served as president of The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. — will open six restaurants over the next five years.

"As a Tampa resident and restaurant industry veteran, I immediately became a fan of Walk-On's and wanted to find a way to bring more locations to serve our area," Lester states in the release. "In the past, I've worked with some outstanding restaurant companies and leaders. But now, I will be giving into my previously repressed entrepreneurial spirit and transition to become a franchise owner and developer of Walk-On's, and I couldn't be more excited.”

He adds, “With my experience as a franchisor, I knew exactly what I was looking for as a franchisee. With Walk-On's, I found an organization with a strong culture, solid systems, and a strong business model with a talented support team."

According to the release, Walk-On’s is in the midst of a big push into Florida, with deals in place for 25 restaurants that are set to open over the next five years. On the Gulf Coast, it already operates in Wesley Chapel and is targeting Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota for expansion.

"Growing our presence in Florida is an exciting chapter for our growth story as we break into untapped markets with new franchise partners," Walk-On's President and COO Scott Taylor states in the release. "Our development team is poised for success and our initial locations throughout the state will no doubt bring success to enthusiastic entrepreneurs ready to join our team. With a proven business model, positive business environment, and open real estate market, Florida is an obvious and attractive area for Walk-On's continued growth."

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