Time files! It seems like it was yesterday when I was checking out the PDQ on Okeechobee for the first time. Now I look back on that post and see that a full year has gone by. Yup, the Florida-based “Fresh Food Fast” PDQ is a year old!
Happy Birthday, PDQ!
Soon after I discovered PDQ I had the opportunity to interview PDQ founder and restaurateur extraordinaire Tim Gannon. In his interview we primarily discussed the food, the goals of PDQ, starting a business in Florida and, most importantly, my favorite item on the PDQ menu, the Buffalo Chicken Tender Sandwich.
To celebrate I took my two daughters on a tour of the PDQ kitchen given by none other than Chris Gannon, the son of the founder. We got to help make lunch and hand-spin a delicious milkshake.
Some interesting points about PDQ:
- PDQ does not have a freezer. They have a walk-in fridge where all the ingredients are stored.
- PDQ uses name brand ingredients and makes all the sauces in house
- PDQ has a unique process for creating their fries, which involves soaking, baking and chilling the fries before frying – this process cuts down the trans-fats significantly.
- The PDQ on Okeechobee is the #1 grossing PDQ in the country.
The tour started with the potatoes in the back – all nice Idaho potatoes straight out of the box.
Cutting the potatoes wasn’t as hard as I expected – each of us chopped up a couple good ones before moving on.
It was at this point where I stopped taking pictures and started asking questions about how everything was made. The staff and cooks who were working were very helpful and answered all our questions.
Everyone was in a jovial mood making it a very fun tour.
When placing their order, each guest gives their name and, when the food is ready (very quickly after the order was made), the expediter calls out the name and lets them know their order is ready to be picked up. We all took a turn on the mic calling out customer’s names.
The human touch was there and the interaction, both within the staff as well as with the customers, always makes trips to PDQ a pleasant experience.
After all that, finally sitting down to eat the fantastic chicken burgers was awesome. I don’t know why, but my favorite is always the iceberg lettuce slices. Yup, you read that right: instead of loose leaves, there’s a nicely cut slice of lettuce on on your sandwich. It makes sense, it’s just the right size!
It has been very interesting to get a first hand view of the birth and growth of a local chain. While, like any business, I am sure there will be challenges in the upcoming years, I’m happy to see this business thrive in it’s first year and wish them many more prosperous years like this one.
I want to end with some of the original interview that I did with PDQ founder Tim Gannon.
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!
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!!!