Kitchen Tour Shows PDQ Quality

By Eric Heubusch

When I was told the Osprey Observer staff was invited for a tour of PDQ in Riverview on Big Bend and 301, I was excited. I’d eaten at the location in Brandon on Gornto Lake Road and enjoyed it, and was excited to see the restaurant’s inner workings.

What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was what PDQ prides itself so much on that it dedicated its name to it: People Dedicated to Quality. They pride themselves on their freshness to the point that there is no freezer or microwave in any of their restaurants.

The Riverview location opened in August of 2014, and upon walking in, the Observer staff was greeted by the hospitality crew at PDQ, designated by their green shirts. We were then welcomed by Mickey Chard, the Operating Director at PDQ Riverview.

Chard gave us a brief history of PDQ: What started out as a shack selling chicken tenders and lemonade in North Carolina turned into a franchise with 44 locations in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and even Las Vegas. Outback Steakhouse cofounder Bob Bashman and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers CFO Nick Reader groomed PDQ into the chicken tender powerhouse it is today on a simple idea.

“They wanted to sell fresh food, fast,” Chard said.

He led us through rows of crates of Cheerwine, a favorite drink of the cofounders, and to the back, where employees wearing black shirts handled the food preparation. Among the highlights of our time in the kitchen was the walk-in fridge where many fresh ingredients were found. Shelves and shelves of french fries attested to its popularity at the restaurant: potatoes were constantly cut, prepared and taken to a midway point in the kitchen to be cooked and served to happy customers.

After meeting a manager recognized by his or her chef coat, the Observer staff ordered lunch. I went with four tenders with a side of Buffalo Bleu sauce, and by the time I got my Cherry Vanilla Coke from one of the two Coke Freestyle Machines at PDQ, my food was ready.

We sat in PDQ’s welcoming dining area and indulged, and everyone was impressed.

For more information about PDQ, visit www.eatpdq.com.