BY MARIAN MCPHERSON
RE/MAX founder Dave Liniger is taking his franchising expertise to the fast-food world, with the purchase of 20 Daddy’s Chicken Shack locations across Phoenix and Denver. The four-year-old franchise has been gained popularity in Los Angeles, where it quickly became the crème de la cluck thanks to founders Pace Webb and Chris Georgalas’ Japanese-inspired flavors and cooking techniques.
The soon-to-be chief chicken officer will be Daddy’s Chicken Shacks’ first franchisor and has been on the company’s board of directors along with his wife, Gail, since 2021. Liniger has mentored Webb and Georgalas for several years and said he’s impressed by the duo’s business model that leverages tech to create a seamless customer experience with online ordering, app engagement, exclusive pick-up areas and third-party delivery partnerships.
“The upside for Daddy’s Chicken Shack is limitless when you consider the level of differentiation it has achieved and that it will sustain in the years to come,” Liniger said in a statement last week. “This is a concept designed to thrive today where high-quality menu items must pair perfectly with convenience and value.”
The franchises will be owned and operated by Area 15 Franchising, the newly-minted segment of Liniger’s Area 15 Ventures private equity investment portfolio group, according to fast-foodtrade magazine Fast Casual. RE/MAX, Motto Mortgage, Sanctuary Golf Course, Maroon Fire Arabians, Mile High Harley Davidson Parker and Aurora, Grand Prix Motorsports, Foothills BMW and Triumph, Lifespot and DNA Vibe are also part of Liniger’s Area 15 Ventures portfolio.
Daddy’s co-founder Pace Webb said Liniger’s involvement in the company will help them spread their footprint past the West Coast, and earn their place as one of the United States’ best chicken chains.
“Chris and I have been working tirelessly since founding the brand to maximize its potential, and Dave has been an incredible sounding board. I can’t think of better validation for the brand than to have Dave sign a regional developer deal, and open restaurants that he plans to own and operate in the markets,” she said in a statement. “Dave and Daddy’s Chicken Shack together position the brand to become an immediate force. The ripples from this will be felt, strategically setting us up for exponential expansion.”
Several Phoenix-area publications have begun hyping Liniger’s entrance into the fast-food space, as he plans to build several locations throughout area including Scottsdale where Liniger lives part of the year. Local food publication What Now said Liniger is already on the hunt for employees, as he’ll be advertising the company’s Arizona debut at the West Coast Franchise Expo in Phoenix on March 18 and 19.
“I don’t take any investment lightly, and I’ve done endless due diligence on Daddy’s Chicken Shack,” Liniger said of the decision to invest in the burgeoning fast-food giant. “This is a rock-solid brand with a remarkable foundation for expansion.”
As Liniger is turning up the heat on his latest venture, he’s still making time to tend to his first franchise love of 49 years, RE/MAX. Liniger and his wife, Gail, have been credited with pioneering the franchise and team model that transformed the Denver-based brokerage into one of North America’s largest franchisors.
Liniger made a brief appearance at RE/MAX’s R4 Conference on Monday and is still an important part of the company’s leadership team as RE/MAX Holdings Board of Directors chairman.