Not Your Momma’s Chicken Tenders

Last month, the LWPR crew was given a behind-the-scenes tour of People Dedicated to Quality – PDQ – a new Lakeland restaurant.

In February, PDQ made a bold PR move by inviting Lakeland businesses, via their Facebook page, to learn more about their brand while enjoying a free lunch and behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant. Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity (I mean, who doesn’t love free food).

“Offering these tours was a brilliant public relations move because we talked up our visit to friends and family members,” said Lorrie Walker. “We took pictures at PDQ and shared them on social media. And now we’re writing a blog post about them. I like to think that’s good for their business.”

Located on south Florida Avenue, the restaurant is hard to miss with its array of vibrant colors. Our initial thoughts were the restaurant appeared to be two stories, but that was not the case. The restaurant had an open-concept from front entrance to back entrance, with mason jar light fixtures.

The tour began at the front of the restaurant. We could see an employee juicing lemons for the lemonade and other employees breading the chicken (which is refreshing, because you know it’s not processed). Jeremy Brumley, the operating director, explained that PDQ’s product is made-to-order, meaning every time a customer orders a meal it’s made on the spot; no microwaves necessary.

The open-concept kitchen, located in the front of the restaurant.

The open-concept kitchen, located in the front of the restaurant.

From there, we moved to what I like to call the “Potato Room.” In this section of the restaurant, Jeremy explained that PDQ doesn’t process their fries or purchase them precut, like some who shall not be named…McDonald’s (cough, cough). Here, the employees use a tool to measure the starch levels in the potato, sort of like what a diabetic uses. Once that is complete, the employee will hand-cut the potato using an actual French fry cutter.

Before coming to our final destination, Jeremy explained to us the heavenly goodness that is blueberry coleslaw. Freshly picked blueberries are mixed into the concoction with just the right amount of acidity. It’s definitely not your grandma’s coleslaw. Finally we made our way to the freezer, where all of the sauces and chicken are housed before making their way to the front of the kitchen. Interestingly, PDQ only has one freezer and it only contains food that needs to be refrigerated.

After the tour we were FINALLY able to taste the food we had been drooling over the entire time. But let me tell you…the apple slices with toffee dip will literally change your life. The tenders were moist and fresh, the fries weren’t unusually crisp and the different milkshakes were out of this world.

PDQ chicken tenders and fries.

PDQ chicken tenders and fries.

“The tour taught us about the restaurant’s philosophy, and their desire to serve quality, fresh food quickly,” Lorrie said. “I imagine there are hundreds of restaurants in this county that don’t want to show off their kitchens because people wouldn’t want to eat in that restaurant if they saw what went on behind the scenes.”

What’s our review? 10 out of 10. PDQ executed a great public relations move, which is obviously giving them more publicity (we’re writing about them) and we left there being happy with our meal, and sold on their concept.

For more information, check out their website eatpdq.com.