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How Layne’s Is Configuring Real Estate Prototypes

The franchisor offers a range of build-out options to allow franchise owners flexibility while encouraging long-term success.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 7:07AM 04/21/23

Layne’s Chicken Fingersthe Soon to be Famous™ Chicken Tenders franchise, has developed a real estate prototype strategy that allows franchisees additional flexibility in their real estate search. Under the right circumstances, the Layne’s corporate team is able to approve sites that may not align with the typical idea of what a fried chicken restaurant should look like.

“We really pride ourselves on the fact that, when it comes to real estate, we’ve got a suite of incredible options for our franchisees,” explained Garrett Reed, CEO. “We’ve tried to open up the options and essentially say, ‘Bring us a competitive piece of real estate, and if you’re on the same level — or above — as other QSRs in the area, we’ll figure it out.’”

Rather than compiling a list of musts that franchisees are required to secure, the Layne’s leadership team considers the unique variables of each market, including traffic, geography and the success of other nearby QSR concepts, and works with franchisees to build the perfect Layne’s in each market.

“If the site makes sense — if it’s financially beneficial to the franchisee and it fits with who we are and what we do, we will make it work,” Samir Wattar, Layne’s COO, added. “Whether it’s 800 square feet or 3,000 square feet, we have the expertise to work within those boundaries and make the site work.”

Layne’s New Drive-Thru-Only Concept

A recent differentiator for Layne’s has been its willingness to embrace the drive-thru-only model. With this build-out option, franchisees only need about 1,000 square feet, and they can open a restaurant that has a drive-thru, walk-up window and patio. In addition to a more affordable initial investment, the notable cut in square footage and dining room space offers long-term savings to franchisees.

“This model cuts down on labor costs significantly,” Reed said. “It takes less staff. You don’t have a dining room to manage, and you don’t need a front counter person. Franchisees can see about a 30% decrease in labor costs.”

This flexibility does not come at a cost to the Layne’s experience, though. While some Layne’s locations have a “fast layne,” in addition to dining room and patio seating, a recent opening in Houston, Texas marked Layne’s first drive-thru-only opening.

“What we’ve tried to do, especially in Houston with the drive-thru-only location, is pull the experience outside,” Reed explained. “The drive-thru is a tunnel that’s covered in the Layne’s graphics, so the guest still feels like they’re getting that experience.”

Both the Houston and Denton locations are unique, offering a drive-thru-only and foot-traffic-focused experience, respectively. Though these models are different from what Layne’s has traditionally done, both locations have secured impressive traffic and revenue.

“These two locations are completely different from what we’ve normally done, but we’ve learned a lot,” Wattar said. “As far as the execution, it’s the same. Whether you’re in a 900-square-foot building or a 3,500-square-foot building, it’s the same product and the same guest experience.” 

Layne’s Partnership With Main & Main Allows Franchisees Additional Guidance

Main & Main Capital Group is a real estate development company that works in-house with Layne’s to provide franchisees additional consulting throughout the site selection and build-out process.

“We’re not going to be the real estate broker for the franchisee,” Wattar said. “What we do is provide the guidance and support they need when their broker presents sites. We can see and evaluate the sites and guide the franchisee on how to negotiate with the broker.”

In many cases, real estate is not the franchisee’s everyday job, and having additional insight can be very helpful. With Main & Main by their side, franchisees are able to better evaluate and negotiate sites, and Layne’s versatile build-out options create additional flexibility.

“The biggest driving force for the real estate models, and the first question we always have to answer before we go any further, is, ‘Is the franchisee going to be successful?’” Wattar explained. “If that answer is positive, then we will proceed and work to make it happen with the site selection and prototype that makes the most sense.”

Franchise opportunities range from $656,000 - $1,280,500 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.