As emerging franchise Layne’s Chicken Fingers expands into new markets across its home state of Texas and beyond, the “Soon To Be Famous” chicken brand is making some key additions to its executive team. Most notably, longtime brand mascot Astro Chicken was recently promoted to Chief Finger Officer. And while the promotion is necessarily more of an honorary recognition — sadly, the cartoon mascot will not be making actual executive decisions for the growing franchise — Astro Chicken’s prominent role in Layne’s growth strategy is very real, representing the brand’s core values to customers, franchisees, store-level employees and corporate team.
“The Astro Chicken represents everything that we and our employees live by at Layne’s,” says Samir Wattar, Layne’s Chief Operating Officer.
In some ways, the Astro Chicken offers a very literal representation of what Layne’s is all about, Wattar says. The “1994” patch on its helmet, for instance, refers to the year Layne’s was founded — a point of pride for a brand that refined its operations for decades before entering the franchise world.
“People often point to Raising Cane’s as our primary competitor, but the truth is we’ve been around longer than they have, they just jumped into franchising much earlier,” Wattar says. “The 1994 patch is a conversation starter. People don’t realize we’ve been around that long, and they tend to ask about it.”
In other ways, Astro Chicken’s representation of Layne’s values is more metaphorical. In fact, even the decision to make the mascot a chicken was not meant to represent the brand’s core menu offering. Rather, it was chosen to represent the playfulness the franchise encourages at every level of its operations.
“The chicken is kind of a ridiculous animal,” Watter says. “It’s carefree, it walks around in figure eights pecking at the ground. It even tries to fly even though it can’t. It’s hard not to smile or laugh when you watch a chicken. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously and that we should be having fun.”
But the Astro Chicken, who always sports his signature space helmet, also represents the brand’s more serious approach to foodservice.
“The space helmet is the other side of the equation,” Wattar says. “Yes, it’s still playful and silly to see a chicken in a space helmet, but if you think about what space travel represents, it’s science, precision and attention to detail. And that’s what our approach is: Don’t take yourself too seriously, but approach your service with a laser focus on care and precision.”
As Layne’s partners with new franchisees to introduce the brand to new customers in markets across the U.S., the Astro Chicken, now serving as Chief Finger Officer, will appear prominently in each and every store.
“We have cardboard cutouts of the Astro Chicken for every store, and he’s on our uniforms,” Wattar adds. “He’s fun, he’s welcoming and he gets people talking, so we’re keeping him front and center as we grow.”
Franchise opportunities range from $737,000 to $1,217,500.
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