Layne's Chicken Fingers
WHY I BOUGHT
Why this Halal Guys Franchisee (and Texas A&M Alum) is Introducing Layne’s Chicken Fingers to the Houston Area
The seasons franchisee who brought Halal Guys to Houston plans to open five locations of this College Station favorite, starting in Katy, Texas.
Texas A&M alum Masroor Fatany has an eye for a good franchise opportunity.
Soon after college, this Houston-born entrepreneur opened a Sears garage door franchise. In 2016, he traded garages for fast food, bringing the first Halal Guys to Houston, which caused a falafel frenzy, with four-hour lines down the block.
In June, Fatany achieved another milestone: 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.
A beloved Texas A&M campus institution, Layne’s Chicken Fingers has transformed into a booming chicken franchise with a plan to open 60 franchise locations across Texas in just three years.
The brand was an exciting opportunity for a former Aggie like Fatany. As a licensed CPA, he worked with Ernst & Young directly after Texas A&M but he couldn’t fight his entrepreneurial spirit. Inspired by his entrepreneurial father, who owned an HVAC service company, he knew he wanted to own his own business, and franchising was the way to go.
“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.”
As the owner of five Halal Guys, Fatany is a well-established operator who wanted to diversify his expanding Houston fast-food empire.
“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.”
Then he came across a familiar name: Layne’s Chicken Fingers. He knew the brand very well from College Station, where he completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees. “Everyone knows Layne’s. It's just good food at a great price. I mean, who doesn’t want that.”
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 wanted to know about their vision, the plans and how they work together, “ he said. “But first, you have to see if you’re compatible as franchisor and franchisee. But the corporate team at Layne’s is great. It's just awesome to see how passionate they are and how much they want to see a franchisee succeed.”
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.”
In fact, Fatany hears the buzz is already growing. “Since we announced the opening, we have former A&M students riding their bikes outside cheering us on,” he said. “There’s a pretty big Aggie community in Houston, and they're all pretty excited. They got the networks of other Aggies, so the excitement is really snowballing into something bigger than I ever imagined.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Masroor as the first Layne’s franchisee, and not just because he’s an Aggie,” said Garrett Reed, CEO of Layne’s. “He understands our vision, our values and is a skilled multi-unit operator. Best of all, he shares the same passion we have and believes the sky’s the limit for Layne’s.”
The brand is currently recruiting franchise partners in Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Corpus Christi among other large markets to effectively sell out all franchise territories in Texas, which is currently the fastest-growing state in America. The company is now speaking to individual and multi-unit operators interested in growing with the brand.
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.