LSU Business Alumni Team Up for Restaurant Concept
This article appeared in the Baton Rouge Business Report on Friday, March 15, 2019.
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business Alumni Brandon Landry and Scott Fargason among partners in Small Sliders. Fargason is also a senior instructor in the Flores MBA Program.
March 19, 2019
BATON ROUGE - Walk-On’s co-owners Brandon Landry and Drew Brees, partnering with local entrepreneurs Jacob Dugas and Scott Fargason, are launching a new fast-casual restaurant concept in Baton Rouge—Smalls Sliders—with a framework that can be scaled for franchise opportunities.
The concept, which features a drive-thru and a focus on slider burgers, is expected to launch this summer. The flagship location will be on Nicholson Drive across from Tigerland in the former Bud’s Broiler space, not far from Walk-On’s corporate headquarters.
While Landry came up with the Smalls Sliders concept, his nephew, Dugas, will handle operations and become the face of the brand. The venture will be separate from Walk-On’s, though the partners have plans to follow in that franchise’s footsteps by growing Smalls Sliders into a national brand.
“Not only do we have an elite plan for Smalls, but we also have a team of entrepreneurial powerhouses supporting the development of this (concept),” Dugas says this morning in a press release.
The partners declined to disclose the initial investment cost and Dugas says there are no specific expansion plans yet. The focus, for now, is on getting the first restaurant up and running.
“We want to focus on our flagship location to prove concept,” Dugas says. “By focusing on our brand, operations and customer experience, we can ensure future franchisees are set up for success.”
Asked about the increasingly competitive fast-casual burger market, especially in Baton Rouge, Dugas says Smalls Sliders will stand out for its service, quality and culture—something, he says, Landry and the Walk-On’s crew have already mastered. “With Brandon, we know it’s about so much more than food. It’s our culture, our brand—who we are.”
Also, brands with focused menus are doing well in the restaurant business right now, Dugas adds. With sliders and a drive-thru, the Smalls concept will be a bit more “on-the-go” than other burger joints.
Sticking to its simplistic focus, the restaurant will be built using shipping containers, allowing for quick construction turnaround, according to the press release. While Smalls Sliders will feature a drive-thru as the primary ordering option, customers can also walk-up and order at the restaurant, which will include only outdoor seating.
“Smalls was created a lot like Walk-On’s, ‘Hey, I have an idea!’” Landry said in a statement. “I told Drew about the concept, and he was all in.”
Brees has been a partner at Walk-On’s since 2015. The brand, which began franchising in 2014, currently has 25 restaurants in the Gulf South, 17 more are planned to open this year and another 137 locations under development.
About the Flores MBA Program
The mission of the LSU Flores MBA Program is to remain competitive in the national and regional markets, while fostering learning, leadership and networking in a global business environment. Full-time, professional, executive and online tracks are offered and provide schedule flexibility for those wishing to pursue their MBA from a nationally recognized program. For more information, visit mba.lsu.edu or call 225-578-8867.
About the E. J. Ourso College of Business
Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit lsu.edu/business.
E. J. Ourso College of Business