The PDQ Chicken ‘It factor’? Dedication to quality

To learn more about the 2017 Emerging Brands, download the full report here:


An Emerging Brands 2017 profile:

Torn between the desire for a high quality, delicious meal and the need to condense meal times to a matter of minutes? Want to feed the family a home-cooked meal, but craving the ease of drive thru takeout? Committed to farm-fresh ingredients free from steroids and hormones but watching your budget? PDQ understands – and they have made it their mission to simplify your dilemma. If you are local to a PDQ Chicken restaurant, you can have it all.

The acronym PDQ, is usually associated with speed – apropos for a QSR brand. True that food is served quickly at PDQ, but the name does double duty here – “People Dedicated to Quality” is the name of the business, and describes the brand’s underlying philosophy. From staff to customers, PDQ puts people first.

Fans of PDQ love their fresh food, made from ‘real’ ingredients, cooked onsite by friendly staff. The clean, cozy atmosphere – made to feel like home – draws consumers who are hungry not only for the chicken tenders featured here, but also for the relaxed, homey environment. Chicken is fresh, never frozen and is raised without added hormones or steroids. Their signature chicken tenders are hand-breaded in-house, and their sauces are made from scratch daily. Unique items like zucchini fries and blueberry coleslaw are crowd pleasers, not to mention the fresh baked cookies for dessert and hand-spun shakes made to order.

While these ‘homemade’ aspects are being seen more often in many restaurant segments, it is less commonly available in the QSR space – consumers know and appreciate this. In text analysis of reviews over the past 3 years, some of the most common descriptive words are “great,” “fresh,”, “fast,” “service” and “love”. Reviewers have no shortage of praise for PDQ.

Not only is this trend of ‘good fast good’ pleasing consumers, PDQ is doing it well. They are one of the most consistently highly rated brands in our Emerging Brands study in 2017 – quite an achievement for a small QSR chain. Of course, they don’t intend to be small for long…

PDQ focused on its first 55 locations over their initial 5 years in business – and they are ready to take their fast casual/casual crossover to the masses, with plans to double their size in 2017. Consumers lucky enough to have a nearby PDQ continue to provide high ratings. Consumers in other markets can wait and watch PDQ doing exactly what Fishbowl predicted this brand would do – emerge!

Founded in Tampa, FL by Nick Reader and Bob Basham (cofounder of Outback Steakhouse), PDQ has grown to 55 units in eight states (Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas) with plans to open stores in at least four new markets —estimating a total of 100 locations throughout the US this year.

This blog was written by Fishbowl’s Katharine Dalton, Analyst, Primary Data.