It doesn’t have the same cultish cachet as Wawa, that Tavern of the Green of convenience stores every soul in Palm Coast seems to be anticipating as much as a sub’s second coming. It doesn’t even sell gas or diesel. But Texas Roadhouse broke ground on a new steakhouse in the Winn-Dixie shopping center off Palm Coast Parkway.
The restaurant, one of 25 to 30 opening across the nation this year, is going up at 1298 Palm Coast Parkway SW, joining a rejuvenating 9-acre shopping center that recently saw the openings of a Harbor Freight, the discount tool and equipment chain, and an Ollie’s, a Dollar General-type discount stores that boasts of bargains by the barrel.
Texas Roadhouse will be a dinner-only 369-seat restaurant in a 7,163 square foot building (open for lunch on weekends). The seating capacity is somewhat larger than the average Roadhouse restaurant, which generates–on average–$5.2 million in annual sales according to the company’s annual report (or $364,000 in state and local sales tax; of that, $52,000 would be split between the county and school board).
GoToby.com first reported the chain’s decision to open a store in Palm Coast in February, when the city approved a stormwater management permit and technical site plan. The restaurant is going up in the northeast corner of the 9.3-acre parcel, which also includes a Bealls and a BB&T Bank. The land is owned by Atlanta-based developers.
The restaurant’s building permit was issued on June 28 on the $700,000 project, with Knoxville, Tenn.-based Wasserman Construction as the contractor. The company has paid $92,000 in fees to the city so far, $86,200 of that consisting of transportation impact fees designed to offset the restaurant’s impact on roads. The entire shopping center generated $75,000 in local taxes last year, $31,500 of that in county taxes, $17,000 in city taxes, and $23,000 in school taxes, with other, smaller agencies accounting for the rest. Tax revenue is expected to increase once the restaurant opens.
Texas Roadhouse will be Palm Coast’s third steakhouse, joining Outback and Sakura, the Japanese steakhouse on Cypress Edge Drive. But Texas Roadhouse routinely ranks higher than Outback–and many other restaurants–in customer loyalty. New Market Force’s annual survey of favorite casual dining restaurants, released in January, found Texas Roadhouse ranked second out of 14 restaurants, just behind Maggiano’s (an Italian restaurant whose closest locations are in Jacksonville and Orlando). Outback was tied for 14th with Olive Garden.
Like Outback, assumed to be Australian but actually founded and based in Florida, Texas Roadhouse has little connection to Texas. It was founded in Indiana in the early 1990s, though it does have the most number of its restaurants in Texas (56, compared to 23 in Indiana). The company is based in Louisville, Ky.
According to a company fact sheet, the 460-location chain serves 5,000 meals a week at its typical restaurant, with steaks accounting for 44 percent of the menu.
The company opened 23 restaurants in 2018. The Palm Coast location will join nearby Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Port Orange, Orange City, Sanford and Orange Park.
The company calls its 60,000 employees “Roadies.” As of last December, approximately 79 percent were part-time employees, with the average employee working about 22 hours per week–not enough to qualify for benefits–and the median employee, a more accurate reflection of hours worked, working 16 hours a week and making $13,146, according to the company’s annual report. W. Kent Taylor, the company’s CEO–who opened the first Texas Roadhouse in Clarksville, Ind., in 1993–had a total compensation of $1.36 million last year.
The publicly traded company ended 2018 with 36 consecutive sales growth quarters and added two more so far in 2019, though its stock was trading at $55.50 today, down significantly from its $75 peak last September. For the six months ending June 25, the company reported revenue of $1.38 billion, up 10 percent from the comparable period last year.