Layne’s Chicken Fingers, the Soon to be Famous chicken franchise with 13 restaurants open and another 113 sold, is following an incredible growth trajectory. Now, part-owner Eric Reed is joining the team as Chief Development Officer, bringing decades of real estate experience and a deep love for the brand, to support the system’s ongoing growth.
“My ultimate, long-term goal is to get Layne’s to the point that all we have to do is put an Astro Chicken on the sign in front of the restaurant and people know who we are,” says Reed. “If we can get to that level of brand awareness, we’ve made it. That’s all we need to reach all of our future goals.”
As a principal with Main & Main Capital Group, a development group that works closely with Layne’s, and a College Station, Texas native, Reed knew and loved Layne’s long before he officially joined the leadership team. Stepping into the CDO role simply allowed him to be even more involved in an incredibly meaningful opportunity, working alongside his brother and CEO of Layne’s, Garrett Reed.
“I’ve known Garrett my whole life, and we’ve been close our entire lives. We were always looking for ways to make money during elementary school, and we’ve had our little entrepreneurial ventures,” says Reed. “We push each other and help each other, and he has been my biggest cheerleader. Even though I’ve been a part of successful companies in my past roles and have a huge passion for development, this is just better. It’s not just development, it’s developing a brand that my brother and I have built together and are building a legacy for our own kids. It’s so compelling and exciting.”
Prior to joining Layne’s full-time, Reed worked with Dutch Bros, Chili’s and Starbucks, driving development pushes through careful market analysis and real estate strategy.
“As I support franchisees in their growth with Layne’s, I’ll be pulling from my previous development experience,” explains Reed. “To drive development optimally, we need to analyze the markets we want to enter, identify key trade areas and find the best site possible within those trade areas. I’ll be bringing all of those skills to Layne’s so that when a franchisee approaches us and says, ‘I want to enter this market,’ I have the resources to support them in choosing a site that will be successful, help them meet their obligations and empower them to open as many successful restaurants as they can, as quickly as they can.”
“We’re excited for Eric to be joining us. As he’s started laying the foundation for growth, we’re already seeing a difference in our real estate and development processes,” says Samir Wattar, COO at Layne’s. “We’re seeing excitement among the franchisees, and with Eric on the team, our goal of 12 new restaurants opening next year is not far-fetched whatsoever. He brings more expertise to the real estate aspect of development than we’ve ever had by ourselves — there’s a science and expertise to it now.”
After an incredible growth surge in 2023, Layne’s continues to work toward awarding restaurants in key markets, including Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Reed will provide valuable support for franchisees during this development process, working with the team to make Layne’s — and the Astro Chicken — well-known nationwide.