In a surprising announcement, two area PDQ chicken restaurant locations have abruptly closed; Sicklerville (Cross keys Road) and Cherry Hill (Haddonfield Rd). The Marlton location remains open.
The news of the closing was shared in an email to registered PDQ customers, and was then published at popular Facebook page A View From Evesham (Facebook Post)
No explanation was provided other than:
We are sad to announce that we have made the very difficult decision to close our Sicklerville and Cherry Hill PDQ locations. Our team has become deeply connected to the community and will miss seeing you, our loyal guests, every dayPDQ Chicken Restaurants
The e-mail very clearly states that the Marlton NJ location will remain open.
Update: Commenters at my 42Freeway Facebook page are saying that trucks are already at the Sicklerville/Cross Keys location removing the contents
If you are unfamiliar with PDQ, they first opened in South Jersey in 2015 with the opening of their Sicklerville location At the time they had 38 locations. Today they have about 60 locations with most of them in Florida, centered in areas around Tampa and Orlando.
PDQ is a fast food casual chicken restaurant chain focused on delicious chicken sandwiches… right in the same category as Chick-fil-A.
I have visited PDQ a few times over the years and haven’t paid too much attention to the changes in their menu, but when I wrote about them eight years ago they featured a variety of chicken sandwiches and tenders, milkshakes and even Turkey sandwiches.
PDQ also targeted a fresh food dining experience where the chicken was never frozen, and French Fries were a natural cut and not coated.
What the Cluck is going on?
As I mentioned, the Sicklerville location opened in 2015… And since that time the fast food chicken market has greatly expanded in the United states.
I give a lot of that credit to the 2019 introduction of the Popeye’s chicken sandwich.
Sure, prior to 2015 we had Chick-fil-A and a variety of chicken sandwich options at the traditional burger based fast food joints… But that 2019 introduction of the Popeye’s chicken sandwich completely shook up the fast food industry!
In my opinion the only thing that rocked the industry more was when McDonald’s first introduced the Egg Mcmuffin, which created the fast-food breakfast category probably 50 years ago.
But honestly the Popeye’s chicken sandwich was still unique… in that when it was announced it was like an earthquake shook up the entire industry.
Popeye’s immediately experienced a 42% increase in sales at their restaurants in the next three month quarter….totaling 100s of millions of dollars! That is an unheard of new product introduction, in any business category!
From what I remember even at that time the iconic chicken restaurant KFC wasn’t even really offering a chicken sandwich… but soon they were.
In fact, soon everyone jumped on the chicken sandwich bandwagon, including the “burger joints”.
It seems everyone in the industry missed that the public was craving a new and delicious chicken sandwich offering… Popeye’s tapped into it… and all of the fast food chains wanted a piece of that action.
Soon everyone was introducing new or updated versions of their sandwiches, as well as new players started coming into the marketplace… including for South Jersey the upcoming Raising Cane’s Chicken Tender restaurant which is building several locations in the South Jersey marketplace.
While the Sicklerville location is located in Camden County, there are three Raising Cane’s locations being developed in Gloucester County which are just a few miles away from Cross Keys Rd. (Washington Township, Glassboro, Deptford)
I’ve covered Raising Cane’s significantly this year as they are building out six or seven locations.… and each time I’ve noted that the Raising Cane’s brand has a huge and loyal following who call themselves “Caniacs”
And of course Chick-Fil-A is the king in the local chicken sandwich category.
But yet even Chick-fil-A is bracing itself for further battles (Raising Cane’s) as they are in the middle of an expensive process to remodel and expand existing locations with a big focus on improving the throughput of the drive-thru…
So again it’s not clear exactly why these two PDQ locations have closed, but when you factor in the increased competition in the chicken sandwich category in the area, as well as the new introductions of Raising Cane’s… but good ol’ American competition is likely a big part of the reason.
Links and Locations
PDQ Chicken Restaurants