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Child of Immigrant Parents Achieves His American Dream as Multi-Unit Layne’s Franchisee

After spending his twenties as an investment banker, Josh Orellana is bringing a piece of home to Arizona with five Layne’s Chicken Fingers locations.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
12:12PM 01/15/24

The son of immigrants from Central America, Josh Orellana has had the American Dream instilled within him. He knows if he works hard enough, he can achieve his dreams.

For him, that meant achieving an education in economics and politics, followed by a successful career in investment banking. However, at only 31 years old, he decided to pursue his other dream of business ownership. After moving from his home state of Texas to Arizona, he started considering some pre-built concepts, but he was not convinced there was a brand already in his area that he would feel proud to put his name on. 

However, when he heard that Layne’s Chicken Fingers*, the Soon to be FamousTM chicken franchise, was offering franchise opportunities, he leapt at the chance. Franchising with the fried chicken brand gives Orellana the opportunity to make Arizona feel more like home, not only with the familiar comfort food, but also by giving him a chance to integrate himself into his new community.

“I really want to be a part of my community. That is a major goal of mine; I love the idea of being able to sponsor the local soccer team, for example,” he said.

Orellana looks forward to continuing his progress in achieving his American dream with five Layne’s locations in the works, the first of which is likely opening before June 2024 near the University of Arizona. He also looks forward to building his franchising empire, both with Layne’s and perhaps some other beloved brands from Texas, over the years to pass down to his children some day.

1851 Franchise spoke with Orellana about his journey into franchising and his plans for the future.

PROFILE QUESTIONS

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Orellana: I'm originally from Texas, which is how I got to know the Layne’s brand. I did my undergraduate at Texas A&M, and then I moved around a bit until I met my wife. In the process of thinking about where we wanted to settle down, we decided to buy a home near Tucson to be close to my wife's parents. It will be really nice to have them so involved as grandparents, but I realized there are no Layne’s in this area, which got me thinking about franchising.

My undergraduate degree is in economics and political science. I started my career as an investment banker, and we were mostly focused on venture-backed startups. I started working a lot with a software and internet service company, and that took me from New York to Palo Alto and the Bay Area. Eventually, even though I loved my job and helping companies start up, I was ready to move on to something new. 

It was a really great way for me to spend my twenties and gain invaluable experience, but now that I'm married and in my thirties, I have started to look towards the future. I want to be closer to home when we have children, not jet setting around the world.  

I really want to be a part of my community. That is a major goal of mine; I love the idea of being able to sponsor the local soccer team, for example. I started thinking about acquiring a fast food franchise that was already built out, but there was nothing that I felt confident attaching my name to. Eventually, I found out that Layne’s was offering franchising for the first time. It’s a brand I’m familiar with and trust. 

When I finally went to meet the corporate team, it was like meeting an old friend. The team is made up of actual family members with such a strong bond. It made me feel really comfortable and confident with my decision.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Orellana: I thought franchising opportunities were completely hit or miss. The numbers I have seen in my research justify that perception. 

It is a fantastic opportunity with the right brand and right owner that creates a great soft launch into entrepreneurship. Going into business with a very old brand that’s been around a while offers you more history for their business model, but the growth profile isn’t really there. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Orellana: I am excited about the people I will be working with and the brand itself. The brand has such a youthful and fun atmosphere that consumers love. I also appreciate that as the American population becomes more cognizant of what they're feeding themselves, they will come to appreciate real food like what is served at Layne’s. I want to be a part of a market that produces fresh food versus something frozen or something containing products we aren’t familiar with. This food is something I would consume and feed to my family, which I think is important. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Orellana: There are so many opportunities through franchising, so I'll continue to look at other brands that I'm really passionate about that don't already exist in my community. For example, I grew up in Texas with Shipley Do-Nuts. People from different areas might disagree, but I think they have the best donuts you can get; their products really remind me of home. I would love to bring brands from my home to Arizona for my family and community. 

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Orellana: My family are immigrants from Central America; my father is from El Salvador and my mother is from Honduras. We have always believed in the American dream and working hard to achieve your goals. 

I love that franchising allows you to build your family an empire and pass that on, and I think that feeds into the concept of the American Dream. 

A lot of what I have now is because of a combination of luck and a lot of hard work. People might see my background and think, “you've got a college degree and you were an investment banker and life was really easy for you,” but that’s not the case at all. I have worked really hard, but I also really love what I do. It’s been enjoyable.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Orellana: It's not too different from building your own company, but I think it all boils down to finding something you are passionate about and really proud of. That will motivate you to put in the hard work that is required to be successful.  

ABOUT LAYNE'S CHICKEN FINGERS

Founded in 1994 in College Station, the original location became a Texas A&M legend known for its small-town charm, friendly service, iconic chicken fingers and secret sauce. While opening corporate locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the leadership team focused on fine tuning its operations and starting to franchise.  

Franchise opportunities range from $545,000 to $1,190,000 with different buildout options available. Learn more about franchising here.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.

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