Layne’s in Cinco Ranch gets a new neighbor, Halal Guys!

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today, we’re back in the Cinco Ranch area, visiting the former PDQ once again. For those who don’t remember, PDQ was a purveyor of all things Chicken. The company, which expanded out of Florida, was similar to Chick-Fil-A but a bit more ‘homemade.’ The large multitude of sauces were all prepared on-site and delivered in hand-sealed plastic containers, the chicken was very lightly breaded, and you could also get Cheerwine. Houston received our locations, a combo of franchised and corporate-owned stores, in 2015. The expansion into Texas consisted of six stores, four in the Houston area and two near Austin. PDQ would hold off on further Texas locations, instead aiming for areas where they faced less chicken competition along the East Coast. Presumably, finding their Texas and Oklahoma stores ineffective, PDQ would close all their locations here in late 2019. This building would sit vacant throughout 2020 until a new Layne’s franchise was announced for Houston. The store would be Layne’s second franchisee and third location overall. The contract would be picked up by AYG Food Services, the original Houston franchisee for Halal Guys, so it’s no surprise how this deal was worked out. The new restaurant, located at 23703 Cinco Ranch Blvd, Katy, TX 77494, held a grand opening about a week ago.

This reused fast food outlet paints an interesting picture. It speaks mainly to the diminishing floorspace of fast-casual restaurants. Even back in 2015, the dining room size utilized by PDQ was pretty standard, if not a bit on the small side. However, in the same amount of space, two new concepts are able to fit side by side. Layne’s uses far more of the original fixtures, going so far as to reuse the drive-thru. However, both accomplish their purpose, providing quick service options with limited seating. These restaurants aren’t meant to be glamorous, just fast. A somewhat sad departure from the fast food of the past, which while not fine dining, did try to cater to the customer somewhat. That being said, if you haven’t tried out Halal Guys yet, give it a go. They’ve got a good product, really well-seasoned chicken and rice, and way better sauce than Layne’s…