Profile: Frank Collins Journey to Texas Roadhouse

by Jennifer Strickland

Humble, unassuming; basketball shorts, sneakers, and logo cap-wearing Frank Collins looks like your average brother from the ‘hood.’ His conversation, his air of decisiveness, and attention to detail however, reflects a man gifted with vision and the business savvy to make dreams happen. Born into a farming family in Georgia, Frank knew early on that tending to green acres wasn’t in his future.

The eldest of 6, his path to industry greatness began when he was about 15 and worked at Captain D’s, a southern-based seafood restaurant. This led to employment at restaurant giants, that included McDonald’s, Old Country Buffet, and Olive Garden, and ultimately, to where Frank Collins is today, as managing partner of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, in Cheektowaga, NY.

This devout Christian testifies that he honors God for his humble beginnings; the sometimes tedious journey; and the abundance of blessings he receives because of his relentless efforts to achieve excellence in all that he does. “Every principle in the game of life leads back to God,” he declares. Self-described as an honest, caring dreamer, Collins has been in the restaurant business for about 35 years. In 2014, he was chosen as one of the top 20 (out of 450) kitchen managers in the U.S. As the man behind 1 of 14 Texas Roadhouse restaurants based in locations from Central to Western New York, he confidently shares what is needed to be the owner of a successful franchise.

“A strong vision; a solid business plan; commitment and passion; a good product; the enrollment, or buy-in, of others; and constantly sharpening your skills.” He describes his attitude toward his pursuit of excellence as “relentless”; always searching for it and, when found, submerging all that is Frank Collins, into it. “When I hit my doors, no matter how I feel, there’s something magical that h

its my body. I’m completely energized and refocused.”

According to their website, Texas Roadhouse’s goal is to not limit itself to being just a restaurant, but a place where everyone, of all ages, goes to have a great meal, great fun, for a great price. This mission has driven the chain to be named by the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Restaurant Report 2018 (ACSI) as the best full service restaurant, outpolling Cracker Barrel and Longhorn Steakhouse. The ever-bustling restaurant can also be described as an entertainment center where families can enjoy line-dancing, riding the ‘bull,’ music, and their unique melodic tribute to guests who are celebrating their birthday, all while enjoying everything from appetizers to desserts, and a wide variety of beverages.

The 120-plus Roadhouse employees, or “Roadies” at Collins’ location, are supported by the restaurant’s culture that values families and honors its employees with events such as birthday and holiday celebrations. He believes in developing each individual, to bring out their maximum potential. “I am absolutely committed to my employees,” says Collins. This same objective applies to Collins’ desire to provide greater support to the community through outreach programs that assist with fundraisers, such as “Dine to Donate,” for youth and religious organizations, and provide mentoring opportunities for young, aspiring entrepreneurs.

Although his “preparation time” to franchise ownership took about 20 years Collins says that his defining moment, when he truly recognized what he was called to do, happened “when I wrote the big check!” Signing that “big check” meant that “preparation had met opportunity,” and positioned his business to begin its journey to achieve his goal of multi-million dollar status. Of course, Collins’ faith supersedes any hindrance, but he does admit that getting the message out to the Black community has been a challenge.

“There are so many people on the East Side who don’t know about our restaurant,” expressed Collins. He invites the community to his establishment where “scratch-based” cooking is their standard. He would also like to see more seniors visit during the franchise’s “Early Dine” hours, Mon. – Thurs., from 4 – 6 p.m., where many of the entrees are discounted.

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Collins’ experience, coupled with his determination to never waiver and maintain consistency, has merited him a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. His secret to success? In large part, embracing a simple, yet insightful philosophy, “Life is like a seed. You watch it constantly, waiting for it to sprout. Too often, people give up, just before it sprouts. But if you hang in there,” he concludes. “It (growth) has to happen!