The Moreaux family dreamed of starting an authentic Cajun restaurant that offered quick service without compromising quality and taste.
“When you look at other seafood quick-service options, they are lower quality. The only Cajun-type fried seafood options are more sit-down,” said Paxton Moreaux, Chief Operations Officer of Off The Hook. “So, we wanted to find some balance there between seafood and quick service.”
In 2012, their dream turned into reality in the form of a 900-square-foot establishment on Canal Boulevard in their hometown of Thibodaux.
Attracted by the convenient drive-through and fresh ingredients, the Thibodaux community quickly took a liking to the family’s restaurant, Off the Hook; so much so that the Moreauxs were able to move the restaurant into a bigger building located in a prime spot down the road just two years later.
And the business’s growth didn’t stop there.
Exactly one year after the Thibodaux expansion, the neighboring city of Houma got an Off The Hook restaurant. Despite dealing with a pandemic, they were able to open a site in Gonzales last summer.
“We thought it was a good market and had some similarities to Thibodaux and Houma. We noticed that Gonzales and Ascension Parish are both growing areas,” Paxton said. “It’s been great. It’s done really well.”
Although the company still managed to maintain and even grow during the COVID-19 pandemic, it still had to overcome its fair share of challenges the virus created.
“We transitioned from around 55 percent drive-through to about 80 percent drive-through,” Paxton said. “So, we had to be able to handle those extra customers there, as opposed to being inside.”
The business makes sure employees are adhering to the mask mandate and thoroughly sanitizes the restaurants too.
“We just stayed focused on making sure we were staffed properly. We were able to continue to serve a quality product through the drive-through and make sure we were moving our lines quickly and taking care of customers,” Paxton said.
By sourcing the best local seafood they can find, the Moreauxs aim to support the state’s fishing industry.
They also give back to the community through their efforts in coastal restoration. Every first Monday of the month, Off The Hook hosts “Coastal Give Back Night,” where they set aside a portion of the day’s sales to donate to Restore or Retreat and Restore the Mississippi River Delta, two nonprofits geared toward protecting and restoring the Louisiana coast.
“We thought they were the right organizations to partner with; they have some really great people leading them,” Paxton said. “It’s a cause we care about as well.”
Off The Hook, run by Paxton, his father Brett (President) and brother Cameron (Partner, Marketing Director), has come a long way since its humble beginnings, with its expansion, rebranding and menu tweaking. But the franchise’s dedication to fresh, quality food and speedy customer service has never faltered.
“We have a ton of faithful customers that have been coming since day one, even throughout the pandemic. It means a lot to see people stick with us throughout the years. That makes us think we’re doing something right and they’re happy with the product and service,” Paxton said. “We hope we can continue that.” •