Kent Taylor meant so much to so many in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially in our region. As a founding board member of Endeavor’s office in Louisville, he spent countless hours and offered his own experiences and wealth of knowledge to help solidify our footprint in the Midwest and allow more entrepreneurs like himself the opportunity to create and cultivate.
So much can be said of the legendary businessman, from his creativity to his kindness, but one thing is for certain – Kent’s determination was unmatched. Taylor’s grit was vital to the establishment of Texas Roadhouse and remained crucial to the expansion of the restaurant chain we know today. During a visit to the Texas Roadhouse headquarters in Louisville in 2019, 15 members of the Endeavor network heard from the man himself just how much persistence it took to get the acclaimed restaurant off the ground. When asked if he regretted any mistakes of the past, Taylor replied with a firm no adding, “I’m not afraid to mess up, [because] you learn stuff.”
In 2016, Taylor provided our network with a behind-the-scenes look at Texas Roadhouse’s “Legendary Food, Legendary Service” company culture, during a global Endeavor food and beverage tour representing entrepreneurs from across 10 different countries, and opened his doors (both Texas Roadhouse and Bubba’s 33) to members of the Endeavor network and took part in panel discussions with other Louisville business leaders in the restaurant industry.
Whatever way you look at it, Kent Taylor made time to give back to the community while continuing to cook up something new – both literally and figuratively. During the rocky year that was 2020, Taylor made sure his employees were taken care of by donating his salary to cover costs and paychecks. He also got creative, developing new restaurant and e-commerce concepts including an e-butcher shop and new fast-casual concept, Jaggers, which already has three locations across Kentucky and Indiana.
Remembering Kent Taylor: In Our Words
While it’s easy to walk through Kent’s many entrepreneurial accomplishments, we also want to highlight the impression he made on our close network and members of the Midwest entrepreneurial community.
“Having Kent as a mentor to Endeavor Entrepreneurs was invaluable for both the insights and inspiration he brought to the table. He was the real deal and understood from his experiences where an entrepreneur is coming from regardless of industry. The late Mr. [David] Jones Sr. [co-founder of Humana Inc.] and our founding chair actually recruited Kent to the Endeavor board. As an apex entrepreneur, Kent was a natural fit with Endeavor where we push entrepreneurs to think bigger, scale up, and give back.”
Jackson Andrews, Endeavor Managing Director
“Kent and I were walking down the street in Napa and a friendly stranger (restaurant entrepreneur) came up to him and told Kent that he was his hero. Kent said…”Dude, you need a new hero. I was broke until I was 40.”
Matt Thornton, Endeavor Board Chair and Founder/Principal of Thornton Capital
“I am heartbroken to learn of Kent’s passing. Kent Taylor was one of the best entrepreneurs and people I have ever met. He graciously shared his time and expertise to help me and countless others build successful businesses in and around Louisville. Kent’s optimism and authenticity were immediately apparent when you walked into any Texas Roadhouse location. Happy, smiling, engaged and excellent team members showed and will continue to show future generations Kent’s entrepreneurial and interpersonal genius. He will be missed.”
Stacy Griggs, Endeavor Entrepreneur and President/CEO of El Toro
“Kent gave a small Endeavor group a tour and discussion at headquarters. The amount of energy he had, and the team had, was super inspiring. We immediately went back to our office and started planning efforts to increase the energy levels in our own office. You could just feel the excitement and see it making the team members happy and productive. Kent did this everywhere he went though!”
Andy Eastes, Endeavor Entrepreneur and Co-Founder/CEO of SkuVault