July 05, 2012 // Franchising.com // Despite only one quarter of 2012 being on the books, Wing Zone has experienced a hot streak like no other in the brand’s 21-year history. Not only are U.S. comp sales seeing record increases, but Wing Zone’s international footprint continues to widen with a strong global presence.
In 2011, the restaurant franchise that offers flavor experiences for takeout and limited dine-in, opened three stores in Panama along with a location in Saudi Arabia and the Bahamas. On the docket for 2012 are new locations in Panama, Dominican Republic, Malaysia, Dubai and Russia.
“Our growth in 2012 will be two-fold, as we focus on both international and U.S. expansion. Our expansion is fueled by our flexibility in real estate with new footprint models and better build-out efficiency,” said Matt Friedman, CEO and Founder of Wing Zone. “Our new designs support franchisees who want to scale their business. Now, they can start with one model and advance to another. This provides more flexibility in design and real estate options.”
Wing Zone’s upgraded units come in two models, a traditional in-line, limited seating and takeout restaurant and a 1,200 square foot free standing drive thru footprint. The original design features a box between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet, typically reserved for inline retail “A” locations in Big Box National Retail Centers (Publix, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Target). The total Investment for this model is between $ 200K-300K. The newly upgraded ground-up model is located near National Big Box retailers like Publix or Lowes and costs $450K.
“We are flooded with inquires, as experienced international operators look to lock up top-tier territories and are impressed with the flexibility of our model,” Friedman said.
In 2011, Wing Zone also went full-force with new branding, during which the chain launched its new focus on flavor while identifying its restaurants as an experience, called Flavorholics Unite. Wing Zone’s 15 flavor names got an overhaul to position Wing Zone as the flavor masters in the wing category. Its Facebook fans had a hand in helping the company select its newest flavor names, renaming flavors Mild, Medium and Hot to Tame, Buffalo Bliss, and Hot Shot – all now proprietary to Wing Zone.
“We want a single idea to come to mind when people think of Wing Zone,” Friedman said. “And that’s flavor.”
Wing Zone was founded in 1991 at the University of Florida by Matt Friedman and Adam Scott, who were Flavorholics that loved great wings and amazing flavors. The Wing Zone franchise was born in their fraternity house kitchen and the concept started by delivering to fellow college students. After opening several Wing Zone locations around college markets, Scott and Friedman began offering franchises in 2000. Wing Zone now has nearly 100 locations open across the U.S, Panama, Bahamas, and Saudi Arabia, with Dominican Republic, Malaysia and Dubai all scheduled to open in 2012. For more information about Wing Zone visit www.wingzone.com.