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PDQ founders going for WTF with new restaurant concept

PDQ founders going for WTF with new restaurant concept
Posted June 4th, 2014 @ 5:49am

( - The founders of the wildly popular “PDQ” chicken sandwich chain are starting a new line of restaurants with a name that might turn heads pretty darn quickly.

Officially, the new restaurant chain will be called “Wow! That’s Fresh. Burgers, Salads and Pizza,” though executives with the company give a wink and admit that many people will shorten all that to just the text message expletive “WTF.”

Whatever people end up calling it, construction on the first location begins this week at 1426 W. Brandon Blvd., with a planned opening about 120 days later, and then other locations soon afterward.

“Maybe we’ll have signs in front of the construction site that say things like ‘What’s The Fuss,’” said Nick Reader, who is starting the new restaurant group along with his PDQ co-founder, Bob Basham, who was also an original Outback Steakhouse founder. “We’re trying to have a little fun with it.”

Behind the scenes, the project is all business. For months, PDQ executives have been quietly testing new burgers, pizzas and salads at a location in the company’s Tampa headquarters that doubles as an employee cafeteria and restaurant for nearby office dwellers.

Customers of WTF will notice a slew of similarities with the fast-growing PDQ chain. The overall concept is “fast-casual,” meaning people will order up front at a cashier like a Panera Bread, then pick up their food and gather their own drinks — yet the food quality is aimed several pegs above “fast food.” Compared to PDQ, there will be a bit more variety.

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