I almost always ask my guests how they want to be remembered. It’s one of my favorite questions because it’s so clarifying! Ask people their goals, and you might hear about completing a novel or building a business, or launching a product. Ask people how they want to be remembered, and you’ll find out what’s really important to them! In fact, it is something I save and ask until the very end of every 350+ MoxieTalk interviews our brand has completed.
After reading this article on Kent Taylor, if you would like to see our discussion together, it is located at this link below:
When I asked Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor that question when I sat, his answer as follows came easily and naturally.
He wanted to be remembered as a good husband and father, and he wanted to be remembered as someone who allowed his employees to succeed.
And that’s how so many are remembering him after his sudden passing last week. I remember him, too, as a man of great moxie. Here’s how:
Moxie might start mediocre.
A key part of Taylor’s story about himself was his career as a track star. He didn’t start as a standout at Ballard High School here in Louisville. He wasn’t a great runner by his own admission.
But he was willing to persevere and work hard to improve. His efforts paid off, and he went on to earn a scholarship to the University of North Carolina.
Moxie is persistent.
Those lessons learned on the track served Taylor well. He applied the same persistence to fulfilling his vision for a western-themed casual dining restaurant where folks could enjoy a cold beer and sizzling steaks at a good price.
It took six long years, and dozens of rejections before Taylor finally found a group of three cardiologists from Elizabethtown who were willing to take a risk on investing in his venture.
Even then, the struggle wasn’t over. Three of his early restaurants closed due to poor site selection. Rather than give up, Taylor leaned in and mastered his understanding of real estate. The chain has now grown to 611 locations in 49 states and 20 more locations in ten countries worldwide. Out of all those locations, only a total of five have closed down. The rest do an average of 5,000 guests per week, a high in the restaurant industry!
Moxie is passionate.
At the heart of Taylor’s success was passion, and what he seemed to be most passionate about was taking good care of his people first!
Texas Roadhouse is a “people company that just happens to serve steaks,” Taylor was fond of saying.
Taylor kept what he called “Roadies” central to the business. He was committed to keeping his employees first, serving them well so they would, in turn, serve the customers.
When coronavirus threw the entire hospitality industry into a tailspin in early 2020, Taylor decided to forgo his salary and bonus so his frontline workers could be taken care of first. It was a remarkable move, especially considering the tremendous hit the restaurant industry took. While other CEOs were raking in record profit, Taylor was doing his best to cushion the blow for his servers, cooks, and other team members.
Moreover, we would be remiss if we did not mention that Kent also developed a much smaller & successful restaurant chain concept called Aspen Creek Grill, with locations in Kentucky, Indiana, and Texas.
As well as an entirely new concept called Jaggers, located in Kentucky and Indiana.
Texas Roadhouse Restaurant’s Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Roadhouse
Aspen Creek Grill Restaurant’s Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspen_Creek_Grill
How will you remember Taylor?