bannerFranchise News

Scaling a Newly Acquired Brand from Purchase to Profit

An emphasis on brand integrity and shared vision can drive a quick ramp from acquisition to profit.

Acquiring an existing brand can be a great way for a franchisor to scale a system. An existing brand, whether it’s local or spans across states, will often have some level of brand awareness. Being able to “skip over” this part of the brand development process saves time; a franchisor can jump right into building processes, streamlining operations and expanding the system. Layne’s Chicken Fingers*, is a prime example of this process; the quickly growing chicken finger franchise has been around since 1994, but was only acquired by the current leadership team a few years ago.

The Birth and (Local) Popularization of Layne’s

Layne’s started as a mom-and-pop chicken finger operation run by Mike Layne. The single-unit chicken finger restaurant had a simple proposition: great chicken and great service. In 1995, Mike Garratt scored a job at Layne’s through a good-faith gesture, and he climbed the ranks through the years. In 1999, Garratt graduated from Texas A&M and became the sole owner of Layne’s.

For the next 18 years, the magic surrounding Layne’s grew, and College Station locals came to love the brand even more. Former guests would return to the original locations when they came back for alumni events or Texas A&M football games, and Layne’s solidified its position as a College Station classic. 

Then, in 2017, Layne’s Chicken Fingers was acquired by its current leadership team — a group of Layne’s enthusiasts who had a vision to bring the brand, food and experience to guests nationwide.

Layne’s Journey To Franchising and Successful Expansion

“The game plan that we put together was that we would take the basis of the Layne’s business, which is the food and the service, and create programs around that to make it franchisable,” explained Garrett Reed, CEO. “Franchisees are buying something that they can repeat over and over again — they don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We came up with what we thought were the proper policies and procedures, and we opened up three restaurants, all about 90 days apart.”

Reed was previously an investor in the brand, and he knew he would need to call in franchise experts to scale a successful franchise company. That’s where Samir Wattar, now-COO, came in. 

“What Samir did was change the vision of the company to a service-oriented company,” added Reed. “We had to get out of the mindset that we were selling chicken fingers and begin selling support, help and service to our new franchise partners. That was the pivotal point.”

Wattar frequently says that Layne’s is an old brand but a new company, highlighting the value of a rich brand identity and a fresh, nimble leadership team.

“When you’re franchising, the way I see it is that you have two customers. You have the customers that are going into Layne’s and buying chicken, and you have the franchisee; that’s a completely different customer. They’re buying the brand,” said Wattar. “The first thing we did was identify our voice. What are we selling to the franchisee? Once we identified our voice, the next step was to streamline the business. From supply chains to operations, every step of the way has to be streamlined.”

Once these steps were completed, Layne’s began offering franchise opportunities, but the team wasn’t selling just to sell. This is another reason why the brand has been so successful. 

When scaling, it is important that the entire team has the same vision. While they might verbalize it differently, Wattar, Reed and the other members of the leadership team have always focused on creating a successful, nationwide chicken finger franchise. Even as they worked to scale from purchase to profit, they did not see “profit” as their end goal.

A Vision for the Future, and a Word To Other Franchisors

“We would have been able to build a brand and dispose of it, if you will, but our definition of success has always been to grow this business to become a giant business,” said Reed. “We want to have hundreds and hundreds of locations.”

Now, Layne’s has 14 restaurants open and another 113 sold, and its measured growth has helped it to partner with the right people, grow in the right markets and find the right sites. Through all of these developments, Wattar emphasizes two main priorities: protect the brand and protect the franchisee.

Through transparency, Layne’s has successfully built strong relationships with its franchisees and maintained a culture focused on the brand and original mission. 

“To advise potential franchisors: just be true to the brand. And don’t be thinking about cash all the time,” said Wattar. “I think we’re successful today because we said no in 2021 and 2022 to potential franchisees because we knew that they wouldn’t be the right fit. It was a big check, but we had the courage to say no. And even with existing franchisees right now — if it’s not right, we’re not going to let them do it. They might not like that, but they’ll thank us later.”

Find more information about Layne’s Chicken Fingers at

Find more information about scaling your business:

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