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Supply Chain Success Propels Layne’s Chicken Fingers Toward Goal of 8–10 Openings in 2022

Samir Wattar, the franchise's COO, explains how the brand is navigating supply chain challenges to help franchisees grow.

By Sara Sybert1851 Franchise Staff Writer
SPONSOREDUpdated 6:06AM 01/21/22

Layne’s Chicken Fingers, eight-unit, fan-favorite chicken franchise out of Texas, is known for its crispy “soon to be famous” chicken fingers. However, behind the scenes are the sequence of processes involved in this iconic chicken franchise’s production and distribution — guaranteeing that the crispy, flavorful chicken fingers continue to stay available, along with all the other necessary materials, at all Layne’s locations. Samir Wattar, COO of Layne's Chicken Fingers, has worked in the restaurant industry for thirty years, including 15 years in roles overseeing supply chain, operations, training and franchise development. Wattar explained how Layne’s has been able to accommodate high demand even during supply shortages and lend support to franchisees amid uncertain times.

“Our goal is to open successful restaurants,” said Wattar. “We look for the franchisees that believe in the brand and believe in the culture of the brand because they’re entrusting us with their investment, and we're entrusting them with the brand — we’re looking for that match. Our goal is to protect the franchisee and protect the brand, and neither one of those two is more important.”

Wattar explained that for Layne’s, the supply chain isn’t a profit center. In fact, he considers the profit chain a substantial reason why franchisees want to invest with the brand. 

“We don't make a deal and then charge the franchisee money,” said Wattar. “We pass the savings to the franchisee because we consider the supply chain one of the main services the franchisee invested in when deciding to join Layne’s.”

Wattar, who believes in the quality of Layne’s food as well as its culture, joined Layne’s in February of 2021 and has secured a successful supply of everything needed within the franchise, overcoming even the toughest market conditions and even the pandemic. Wattar emphasized that supply chain is a “relationship business,” and that he has built solid relationships and connections with many different companies.

“For example, this year, we had a deal with a chicken processor, but because of the way the chicken market was, he broke the agreement with us with only two weeks' notice,” Wattar stated. “So, I reached out to my contacts, and within two weeks, I had a chicken agreement back in place with another person. This was possible because the people I work with know that I look for partnerships, not just transactions.”

While the person needing the supplies generally favors a discount and vendors wanting to make a profit, Wattar is of the mindset that a successful supply chain is one where “they can meet somewhere in the middle.”  

“I'm very loyal to my partners, so we can have that ongoing, beneficial relationship where we both profit from consistent business,” said Wattar.  

Layne’s has had to adjust some processes and pivot to meet the challenges this year, with an example being swapping materials for cups due to shortages. Despite dealing with material variations for packaging and drinks, the critical aspect — maintaining food quality and keeping food in stock — is where Layne’s has stayed consistent, and because of this, the brand has been able to maintain its chicken-loving customer base. 

The quality food and culture of Layne’s was enough for Wattar to see the potential of the brand long-term, and he knew he wanted to come in “and take the brand to the next level.”

“The goal when Layne’s bought the brand from the original founder in 2017 was to grow the company through operations and franchising,” said Wattar. “When I joined, there were six restaurants, and, now, we’ve opened two this year and are now on a path for even more. Since I’ve been with Layne’s we've sold about 45 franchises.”

Wattar pointed to the solid supply chain as a reason franchisees know they can invest in the brand — and succeed in their markets. 

With a steady, strong supply chain in place and franchisees realizing the stability of Layne’s as an investment, the brand has goals to open 8-10 in 2022, and this level of expansion is possible because “supply-chain challenges are mitigated daily,” as Wattar said.  

As COO of Layne’s for almost a year, Wattar has witnessed the brand’s impressive growth and resiliency even in the hardest of times — people are wanting to join the franchise and are even working their way up to higher roles. That’s the aspect he enjoys the most: “To me success is paying it forward. Whether it's an employee that works for a corporate store or a franchisee that comes in and invests in this brand and sees success — that’s why I do this on a daily basis. I've had mentors throughout my career that got me to where I am today. And I owe it to them and to my employees and to my franchise brand now to pay it forward.”

Layne’s has plans to reach 100 units in markets across the country within the next four years and is actively recruiting franchisees who want to join the growing brand. Top markets for development include Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico and Florida. 

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. Now, the company is planning to bring Layne’s Soon to be Famous™ Chicken Fingers to the rest of the world with plans to open 100 locations by the next four years.

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

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