Layne's Chicken Fingers INFO
Why Layne’s? / Why Now?
Founded in 1994 in College Station, Layne’s Chicken Fingers quickly became known for its friendly service, iconic chicken fingers and secret sauce. Now, the company is planning to bring Layne’s Soon to be Famous™ Chicken Fingers to the rest of the world by partnering with franchisees to open 100 new locations by 2021 alongside corporate development initiatives.
Already a legend in Texas with an army of brand fanatics who stayed loyal during the pandemic, the brand’s leadership plans to help franchisees leverage the current abundance of commercial real estate to replicate its success across the United States. Territories across the nation are wide open for development, and the brand has its sights set on further growth in its home state of Texas, along with Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.
“Our goal is to make Layne’s a household name, and we will help our franchisees bring our culture of delivering perfect food with outstanding service each and every order, guaranteeing return customers who can’t get enough,” said Garrett Reed, CEO of Layne’s. “We have the right brand at the right time to achieve major growth over the next four years. We’re looking for franchise partners with the drive and ambition to help us do that.”
Layne’s Chicken Fingers’ successful cult following began at its original location near Texas A&M University and has since grown from a tiny campus phenomenon to a Lone Star State icon, providing good times and delicious food at eight locations in Texas, including three in College Station, four in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and one in Houston. The brand is also planning to add two more locations in the Houston market over the next year and a half.
What Sets Layne’s Chicken Fingers Apart?
The brand’s simple-to-execute, long-time guest favorite menu is perfect for a franchise concept. Layne’s hand-battered chicken fingers are served with housemade dipping sauces like buttermilk ranch, honey mustard, BBQ and Layne’s — a tangy, zesty favorite that has gained loyalists for three decades.
In addition to its iconic chicken fingers, Layne’s demonstrated resilience during the pandemic with a proven model of success. Its six locations that were open during 2020 not only survived, but they thrived. In fact, the locations saw 40% year-over-year sales growth. Even with dining rooms closed, Layne’s Chicken Fingers hardly took a hit, as 70% of the brand’s traffic is drive-thru or delivery.
Based on that proven success, the brand is introducing a new model with smaller footprints that come at an easier point of entry for franchise prospects.
Layne’s initial expansion began in 2017, when Reed and fellow entrepreneur Matt O’Reilly approached Layne’s then-owner Mike Garratt about expanding the brand through franchising. With Reed’s real estate development experience and O’Reilly’s finance background, the team brought in operational and franchising expert Samir Wattar as COO. Wattar has created a smooth and efficient operating template, helping the brand thrive with multiple corporate-owned and soon-to-be franchised stores in Texas.
With experience in these crucial areas for franchise development and a proven track record behind it already, this dream team is now welcoming investors who are ready to bring the brand to more people in more places.
“I believe in franchising, but I don’t believe in simply selling franchises. I believe in opening successful restaurants,” Wattar said. “I and the rest of the leadership team want to open strong restaurants and help someone’s dream to own a business come true.”
Why a Quick Service Restaurant?
Although much of the restaurant industry suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, the quick service segment bucked the trend as customers demonstrated and continue to demonstrate a preference for takeout food as opposed to eating in a fine dining restaurant.
With many restaurants shuttered during COVID, Layne’s leadership team thinks now is the time to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities of appealing vacant commercial real estate created by the pandemic. It’s targeting second-generation restaurant spaces, which will allow stores to open as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
The leadership team believes these real estate opportunities provide a unique opportunity for the brand to drive forward with its culture of positivity, great service and Layne’s Soon to be Famous™ Chicken Fingers to the widest audience it can.
“We want our legacy to be that we helped make people’s lives better by helping them run successful franchises,” said Garrett. “We’re just starting to grow, and with our open territory availability, the sky's the limit to open Layne’s franchises in the best markets all over the United States.”
The brand is looking for franchise candidates with heart and passion who can help launch it to the next level, get involved in their communities and bring exceptional service and food to new markets.
“We don’t want people to just invest,” O’Reilly said. “We will make sure we treat our partnership with our franchisees like it’s our money — maybe even more valuable than our own. We will do everything in our power to make sure that a franchisee opens with a strong showing and continues to do what they need to have a successful restaurant.”
Why Franchisees Love the Brand
As the owner of five Halal Guys, Masroor Fatany is a well-established operator who wanted to diversify his expanding Houston fast-food empire. As the first franchisee of Layne’s Chicken Fingers, he is bringing the Aggie phenomenon to Katy, Texas. It will be the first of five locations Fatany has planned for the Houston metro area.
“Franchising always made sense to me because growing up I saw the struggle with starting out as a new brand,” he said. “With a franchise, you have the blueprint, the brand and the customer recognition. That just makes things a lot easier for a midsize franchisee like me.”
When he began researching a bit deeper, Fatany became impressed with not only the product and brand recognition, but the organization behind Layne’s. As the brand’s first franchisee, he didn’t do a traditional Discovery Day but spent time with Layne’s executive team one-on-one, asking them tough questions and really getting to know them as people.
“I’ve been looking for another concept for some time, but I wanted to find a brand that I really enjoyed,” Fatany said. “I didn’t want to open just another Popeye’s. Brands like that are very established, and I wanted to make my own impact as an operator.”
Fatany also liked Layne’s business fundamentals. “The menu was simple. That was important. And then there was the connection to my alma mater in College Station, so I knew Layne’s would have that built-in following,” Fatany said. “There was a customer who was already looking for this product.”
Franchise opportunities range from $656,000 to $1,280,500 with different buildout options available. The brand is looking to grow throughout the country and will concentrate on Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. Learn more about franchising here: https://www.layneschickenfingers.com/franchising/