Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rather Quickly, PDQ is Returning to Augusta... in Walmart

Tampa-based PDQ is returning to Augusta after closing there late last year.  The new PDQ, considerably smaller than its earlier location and without a drive-thru, will open within an existing Walmart Supercenter at 260 Bobby Jones Expressway.  The previous PDQ, located in a newly constructed freestanding building at 2999 Washington Road, eventually opened in 2016 and closed this past December.  

The closure was likely caused by a number of factors, among them poor access to the restaurant and the fact that the center in which it was located was previously anchored by Whole Foods Market but the grocer closed its store last February

PDQ said at the time of the closure that they hoped “to find another site in the area where we may be able to relocate our restaurant.” 

The old PDQ was 3,309 square feet, whereas the new location will be 1,997 square feet.  The new PDQ is about four miles from the shuttered location.  The Walmart in which PDQ is opening is open 24 hours, but PDQ is not expected to do so themselves.  The Walmart was home to an in-store McDonald's for many years until the burger joint closed last year.    

Launched in Florida in 2011, PDQ's largest market is the Sunshine State with about 40 locations.  The chain also has a presence in ten other states, but their combined number elsewhere is less than their store count in Florida.  In Georgia, the chain currently operates just one other restaurant, in Evans, a suburb of Augusta. 

Interestingly, PDQ was originally meant to stand for "Pretty Darn Quick," a retail term made popular in Walmart stores as the early name for today’s Retail-Ready Packaging (RRP) or Shelf-Ready Packaging (SRP).  Today, PDQ promotes its restaurant's initials as standing for "People Dedicated to Quality." 

PDQ's menu is largely chicken-centric, with tenders, sandwiches, salads and more recently, bowls made primarily with fried chicken.  The restaurant also offers assorted milkshakes, soups and assorted sides like zucchini fries, roasted broccoli and feta tomato salad.  

This will reportedly be the first time PDQ has partnered with Walmart, but the restaurant does have other "non traditional" units, including one inside PNC Arena in Raleigh.

For its part, Walmart has historically partnered with fast food concepts like McDonald's, or in some locations, Subway or Checkers.  In recent years, the low cost retailer has tried to up their food game with partnerships with grown, a healthy quick-serve restaurant from Shannon Allen, wife of two-time NBA champion Ray Allen.  Grown opened within an existing Walmart Supercenter in Orlando last year.  

Given Chick-fil-A's and to a lesser degree, Zaxby's dominance in metro Atlanta, PDQ has thus far avoided entering the market, but perhaps they will consider doing so if their marriage with Walmart proves fruitful.

When asked about a timeline for opening and if the Augusta location is the first of more planned within Walmart stores, Jeffrey Kamis, Vice President, Media & Public Relations for PDQ, said that while he could confirm the restaurant was in talks with Walmart, he was unable at this time to confirm any other details.  

Have you ever been to a PDQ?  Are you excited for the return of PDQ to Augusta?  What is your favorite quick-serve chicken chain? 

Please share your thoughts below    


Anonymous said...

Huh....ate with my family more than a couple of times at that location before it closed. Very nice eat-in lobby, good fresh food, and the selection of fresh-made sauces was the best. Very good site-made lemonade, ice cream desserts, and cookies too. No, the fired tenders/nuggets were not flavor-comparable to Chick-Fil-A. But they were good, and it was a great pit stop for interstate travel on I-20.

INSIDE a Wal-Mart...I...don't get it. There were plenty of eateries in that shopping center that kept their leases just fine after Whole Foods...Menchie's, Jason's Deli. And from what I remember that strip has open mid-size retail space too. Shoving that concept inside a Wal-Mart just devalues it.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they are actually coming back....usually, the "we'll be back" is just a hollow promise used to slip out the back door. Even more curious is that it's going into a Walmart. Here in Mobile, Alabama, they purged out a lot of the McDonald's locations that were inside our Wal-Marts. One of which was converted into an area for online pickup storage.

Also, our PDQ in Mobile closed rather abruptly earlier this year. It became known that Cook Out was the buyer. Nothing has happened yet. It was rumored that Cook Out struck a deal with the owners and offered to sell to them. It seems to be their form of expansion...buying a lot of failing and closed fast food joints...

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