Proving that hard work really can pay off, it's safe to say that Scott Redler has had a good year.
Redler, who serves as the chief operating officer of Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, was a 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for the Southwest region, and the only entrepreneur in Kansas to be nominated. The annual business-award program for entrepreneurs includes nominations from more than 140 cities and 50 countries worldwide, including 26 regional programs in the United States.
As one of the founders of Freddy's, Redler has helped the company grow from one restaurant to more than 50 locations across the country – and there's no sign of slowing down.
“We opened it up never planning to expand,” he says. “We just wanted to make great burgers, fries and frozen custard.”
Now, Freddy's restaurants stretch from Victorville, Calif., to Branson, Mo., and plans are in the works to continue expanding to the east. The company's success may be due to its fresh, made-to-order food, but also to the hospitality each customer receives.
“Everyone is focused on taking care of the guests in the restaurants,” Redler says. “We don't do anything to ever change that.”
Wichita's entrepreneurial spirit may also have something to do with Freddy's success and expansion. Home to one of the top entrepreneurship schools in the United States, Wichita State University continues to encourage innovative thinking and business growth in the community.
“People here are not afraid to take risks and try things,” Redler says. “No one is afraid to work hard.”
And although Redler certainly doesn't shy away from hard work, he still finds time to sit back and enjoy Wichita, a place he is proud to call home.
“We [Redler and his wife] absolutely love it,” he says. “It's a wonderful place to do business.”