Texas Roadhouse brings texas-sized job opportunities to Visalia

Both Texas Roadhouse and Panda Express supply the city with surplus of job positions, potentially closing fluctuating unemployment gap in the county

VISALIA – Business continues to grow in Tulare County’s most populated city, bringing job opportunities and potential to lessen unemployment in the county, which has gone up since it hit an all-time low in spring.

One of the newest additions to Visalia’s growing supply of businesses, an American steakhouse and casual-dining chain called Texas Roadhouse, is looking to bring an additional 234 jobs to Visalia. After unemployment in Tulare County dropped to 6.5% in May, the percentage has fluctuated a bit before inching back up, reaching 7.5% as of September, according to California’s Employment Development Department. However, the additional jobs coming in with the steakhouse and other blooming businesses in the city has potential to change that.

Texas Roadhouse is seeking full and part time workers before the restaurant’s doors open in December. In addition to servers, dishwashers and hosts, the steakhouse is also hiring for positions like meat cutters, meat assistants – who handle meats other than beef, like chicken and fish – silverware rollers, and more.

“Any time you open a store in a new community, it’s busy regardless of what the brand is,” Texas Roadhouse local owner and operator KC Davis said. “With our brand being as large as it is, it’s that much more impressive of an opening, and we’ve learned over time that we need that army.”

Davis, a county local and current Visalia resident herself, said the steakhouse initially came to the city because of local interest in Bakersfield and Fresno Texas Roadhouse locations. She said those sites have a lot of interaction from county residents, who are willing to make the drive to the restaurants to enjoy the business’ made-from-scratch meals and hand-cut steaks, so she seized the opportunity to bring the steakhouse to the city. She said she discussed bringing the chain to Visalia with Texas Roadhouse market partners to provide the business’ service to locals.

“I’ve been living in Visalia for over five years,” Davis said. “I’m very familiar with the city, and I knew this was going to be huge for our community.”

According to Davis, Texas Roadhouse is a “people-first” company that serves food. She said some companies are backwards because they prioritize their food service before their staff, but Texas Roadhouse ensures to put the well-being of staff, referred to as roadies, first.

Contrary to the name, Texas Roadhouse first opened in Clarksville, Indiana on Feb. 17, 1993. According to the restaurant’s website, the business’ first owner, Kent Taylor, opened the family-friendly steakhouse to provide people of all ages with a place where they can enjoy a good meal for a good price. With hand-cut steaks, fall-off-the-bone ribs, made-from-scratch sides and fresh-baked bread, the business puts great effort into ensuring its meals stand out and come in large portions, so customers get more food for their dollar.

The steakhouse is set on 4425 S. Mooney Blvd., south of the Packwood Creek Shopping Center, and will be open on Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday at 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Those interested in applying for the restaurant can do so at the business’ website at careers.texasroadhouse.com.

In addition to Texas Roadhouse, two other businesses will be setting up shop on South Mooney on the same lot as the restaurant. Next to the steakhouse will be a new Panda Express, almost cater-corner from the restaurant’s current location on 4134 S. Mooney Blvd. 

According to Noel Resendez, district manager for Visalia Panda Express’, the new fast-food restaurant is planned to open in the first week of February 2023. He said the restaurant is looking to supply 60 to 70 jobs to the Visalia economy and has already hired 30 employees. Resendez said the company is expanding their business because of its popularity with the Visalia community.

“We are looking to have one of the biggest turnouts opening week,” Resendez said. “We want to break the record…it would be about 130,000 sales in one week, and we want to meet that.”

Unlike the Panda Express already on Mooney Boulevard, the new site will have a double-laned drive thru and a new “state of the art” look. According to Resendez, this building will be the company’s newest model, kiosks in the restaurant for customers who want to self-order and, outside, they will have workers with tablets available to keep drive thru lines moving.

This restaurant is one of two Panda Express’ coming to Visalia. In addition to the new Mooney Boulevard location, residents should expect another one of the fast-food restaurants on 801 S. Akers St., near Taco Bell and Dutch Bros. Coffee, with the anticipated opening sometime in May 2023. All together, he said the two locations should bring anywhere from 100 to 120 new jobs to the city.

According to both Davis and Resendez, Visalia’s fifth Dutch Bros. Coffee is also going up on the site to accompany the steakhouse and fast-food restaurant. Resendez said the location will most likely open before the Panda Express does in February. According to Davis, the coffee franchise is also looking for people to hire.

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