“Serve a quality product and never, ever compromise” an Interview with Tim Gannon founder of PDQ

We heard about PDQ (stands for Pretty Darn Quick or People Dedicated to Quality) from one of our neighbors who had visited it and enjoyed it. We had just finished one of the kids afternoon soccer games and since we (Stella) weren’t looking forward to cooking we decided to swing by and check out the new chicken place on Okeechobee.

We were pleasantly surprised and it quickly took the place of that “other chicken place” on Palm Beach Lakes as our favorite casual place to get a delicious chicken sandwich!

PDQ brands themselves as a  friendly chicken-serving fast food casual restaurant. So far, PDQs has most of their  restaurants in Florida, with 3 locations in North Carolina. The  first PDQ restaurant officially opened on Sunday, October 30, 2011 across from Plant High School in Tampa, Florida.

Friendly Southern Look & Feel

PDQ is different right when you walk in. Big bright spaces, friendly staff, REALLY quick service, open kitchen and most importantly good food. Instead of focusing on just getting the food out quick, they have seperated themselves by a company-wide push on quality, cleanliness and service. One of the unique elements is their original “hand washing station” which is a big hit with the kids.

PDQ Hand Washing Station
PDQ Hand Washing Station

The founder of PDQ, seasoned restaurateur, Tim Gannon, also founded Outback and is the creator of the Blooming Onion, so when I got the chance to do an interview with him I jumped.

Here you go!

At what point did you know you had a hit on your hands?

I knew PDQ was a hit when I had done extensive research and the product and hospitality was consistently excellent. PDQ has hit a niche’ in its price point, food quality, hospitality and excellent ambiance. We have really taken the qualities of upscale dining and execute them in a fast casual atmosphere. PDQ is positioned to expand in the south Florida market as evidenced by the commitment of all of our team members! The excitement of PDQ is contagious within our organization and in our communities.

What is the story behind the Spicy Buffalo Tender sandwich?

Having developed the menu at Outback Steakhouse I am always looking for innovative ways to improve our menu. The “buffalo” flavor is very popular with our guest base so we decided to develop a unique recipe and combine it with our homemade Blue Cheese dressing. That is what is great about our menu…everything is homemade! Shortly after its introduction the Spicy Buffalo sandwich quickly catapulted up to practically match our most popular sandwich, the Crispy Chicken. What is also somewhat surprising is the female fan base we have created with this sandwich!

Are there any items that did not make the cut? Are there plans to expand the menu further?

We are constantly trying menu items but rest assured that we will always stay true to our founding principle of serving fresh food fast!! As with all successful organizations we will continue to challenge ourselves to make us better for each and every guest that comes through our doors. At this time there are no plans to expand the menu but there may be “specials” from time to time…we’ll keep you posted!!

What is unique about doing business in Florida, and is there any advice you would give to people who are starting up here?

The south Florida market is very unique in that people come here from all over the world and there is a large part of our population that is very health conscious. This forces us to be smart about our menu selections but at the same time allows us to be creative with our ingredient and recipe selections! That is what makes PDQ so fun and exciting!

As far as advice to anyone starting in this business, it would be to surround yourself with people who are passionate about not only great food but who understand genuine hospitality on a day-to-day basis. We are blessed to have, at all levels of our organization, folks who truly love what they do! When I walk into my restaurants I see the smiles and the energy and it’s contagious, believe me! I love to see people having fun at what they do.

You also have to serve a quality product and never, ever compromise on that quality to your guests… ever!!!

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Take some time to try out PDQ, if you really like it you can try to win FREE PDQ for 1 YEAR!!! You have to eat at PDQ 10 different times in the next 6 days (before the end of JULY 2013), but there’s still plenty of time! Go for it!