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Why Layne's Chicken Fingers’ Executive Team Is One of Its Biggest Assets

Garrett Reed, Matt O'Reilly and Samir Wattar offer their franchisees the combined wisdom of decades of experience and expertise in franchise real estate, operations and finance.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
SPONSOREDUpdated 11:11AM 09/27/21

If you were building a franchise fantasy league C-suite lineup, you could hardly draft a better team than the one at Layne’s Chicken Fingers, an up-and-coming franchise with plans to open 100 units by 2025.

Meet CEO Garrett Reed, business partner Matt O’Reilly and COO Samir Wattar. These three power players are positioning Layne’s Chicken Fingers as the next big thing in the world of franchising. 

“We each bring something different to the party,” said Reed. “I know restaurant real estate development better than anyone. Matt is a genius when it comes to making the numbers work. Samir’s track record of improving franchise operations is the kind of business background most franchises would kill to have in their corner.”

The one unifying thing they share: a laser-like focus on their franchisee’s success. “That is our number one priority, and our job is to make franchisees as successful and profitable as possible,” Reed said. 

Reed knows about successful franchises. After starting with Radio Shack, he moved to Starbucks’ in-house real estate department. In the early 2000s, as the coffee brand became increasingly ubiquitous, Reed helped the company analyze real estate opportunities, negotiated leases and helped set stores up for success. After a stint working with Corner Bakery, Reed opened his own restaurant development firm. He has helped open 200 to 250 units across 18 states. In total, his company has been responsible for approximately $400 million in restaurant developments. 

It’s no wonder he wanted to start his own brand. But Layne’s isn’t just his business; it’s a passion. Layne’s is a staple in College Station, Texas near the Texas A&M campus and where Reed grew up. A childhood friend had purchased the business, turning a hometown favorite into a household name.  

With a simple menu where the hand-cut tenders, crinkle-cut fries, Texas toast and potato salad are the stars, Reed knew this mom-and-pop chicken shack would gain fans outside of the sleepy college town. He purchased the brand in 2017 and began professionalizing the business, preparing it to grow. 

To do that, he needed the perfect partners. Enter Matt O’Reilly, the numbers guy. O’Reilly knew that Garrett knew Layne’s and he knew how the concept could scale with the right approach.

“To me, we’re not in the business of selling franchises,’ said O’Reilly. “We’re in the business of opening successful restaurants and helping franchise owners to achieve that success.”

Together they opened their first two corporate stores in the Dallas area to prove the concept, before recruiting Wattar, who had helped two other chains, Fuzzy’s Tacos and MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, figure out their franchise operations. Wattar would make sure that the restaurants stayed the course, managing all aspects of operations and supply chain. 

“I’m a strong believer in the power of franchising, and Layne’s is the type of brand that you can scale very quickly,” said Wattar. “But we’re not interested in seeing how many restaurants we can open. We’re interested in opening successful restaurants and helping people’s dream of entrepreneurship become a reality.”

With eight units open and more on the way, Reed, O’Reilly and Wattar may just be the dream team this plucky brand needs.  

Total franchise investments range from $737,000 to $1,217,500. Learn more about franchising here:

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