EAST MANATEE -- A relatively new and growing casual restaurant chain with Tampa origins will soon be coming to Manatee County, bringing with it lots of jobs.
PDQ is bringing its fresh chicken sandwiches, tenders and salads to East Manatee by mid- to late September, according to company officials. PDQ, an acronym for People Dedicated to Quality, has opened 18 locations in Florida, Alabama and North Carolina since debuting in Tampa Bay in 2011. The restaurant is developed by MVP Restaurant Partners, which includes former Outback Steakhouse co-founder Bob Basham and Nick Reader, a former chief financial officer with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
The popular chicken chain, which prides itself on homemade fast food made fresh daily, opened last September in south Sarasota. In mid-July, the company plans to hire about 70 people to help open and operate a restaurant on Lena Road, directly off State Road 70, near the entrance to Interstate 75, where construction of the restaurant is on schedule. Owners are predicting a strong opening, since the location is near growing Lakewood Ranch, three large apartment complexes now under development, and several public schools and colleges.
Operating Director Mark Dennis, who currently manages the south Sarasota location, says a hiring site will be established in Manatee County where applicants can interview in person once they've applied online and passed a screening process.
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Dennis says restaurant
experience is great, especially experience cooking in a kitchen, but personality is essential.
"The restaurant business is all about people. What you can't teach is personality, hospitality and niceness. We want people who have good personalities, are good communicators and can interact with guests and their fellow workers as a team."
Dennis attributes the success of the south Sarasota location to several factors that set PDQ apart from other fast food restaurants in the area. The chain prides itself on making fresh food to order every day on the premises, which customers can clearly see by the open kitchen. Along with that, the restaurant, which also offers a drive-through for quick pickups and catering service for the community, is designed for comfort and casual dining.
"A lot of fast food restaurants are designed for speed. They're not comfortable and homey likes ours. The idea here is to welcome people and make them enjoy the experience," said Dennis, who is relocating to the Lakewood Ranch area.
As part of that comfort experience, all PDQ restaurants are designed with natural stone, real wood floors and ceilings, softly-painted interiors and low-voltage, LED lights that brighten and dim in response to the amount of light in the restaurant at any given time.
"The lighting is a natural fit for PDQ because we're able to create a comfortable and inviting ambiance for the diners, and it's very energy-efficient," said Kelly Bousman, spokesperson for St. Petersburg-based LumaStream, manufacturers of the lighting system.
For Sarasota PDQ patron Loran Smith, the taste is what counts.
"I come here at least once a week, and sometimes more because it's really good, and I like eating actual chicken."
Hiring information for the new PDQ in East Manatee will be available online at eatpdq.com.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.