Wing Zone

Class is in Session

As back-to-school season gets underway, brands look to become part of students’ routines.
Chicken chain Wing Zone delivers menu items via electric golf cart.
To stand out in a crowded college foodservice market, Wing Zone is delivering its wings to students at Georgia Tech via an electric golf cart.

The back-to-school season signals a return to more regular meal routines for families, and quick-service and fast-casual restaurants are working hard to be a part of those routines. Many limited-service brands are entrenching themselves in and around elementary schools, high schools, and the lucrative university market as students across the U.S. head back to school.

Think Global, Eat Local

In a globalized world, many quick-serve restaurants look to emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia, and other regions for new growth ventures. While these retailers strive to maintain the cornerstones of their brand, international menus can’t be carbon copies of the American originals. Regional flavors, religious dietary restrictions, and different suppliers all play a part in shaping unique dishes for consumers abroad.

The New Face of R&D

There’s no way around the truth that social media is now a critical tool for limited-service restaurant brands.

It plays an influential role in marketing and building brand identity, and allows concepts to reach out to and interact with fans and followers to build deeper relationships.

But using social media is about more than just advertising products and promotions on Facebook and Twitter.

Today, many brands in the industry are taking it a step further, using social media and crowdsourcing to help create new products and flavors.

Wing Zone Gets Creative to Soften Blow of Climbing Costs

Skyrocketing demand has caused chicken-wing prices to rise 60 percent within the last few months, forcing brands like Wing Zone to get creative in keeping up profitability.

“I think that the demand has increased with more wing places opening up and the product gaining popularity,” says Wing Zone’s founder and CEO, Matt Friedman. “No one really wants a wing price increase or a menu price increase, but when wing prices have gone up 60 percent, it’s inevitable.”

Pizza and Wings Galore: Brands Prep for Super Bowl

Four million pizzas. More than 1.2 billion wings. A whopping 325.5 million gallons of beer. These are just a few of the staggering statistics predicted for U.S. consumption this Super Bowl Sunday.

And quick serves—especially wings and pizza joints, which carry two Super Bowl must-haves—are prepping for the storm.

Wing Zone Wants Women to Take a Skinny Dipper

With many diners across the country still trying to make good on their New Year’s resolutions to stick to a healthier diet, Wing Zone is trying to cash in on their hard-fought efforts.

Its newest chicken product, Skinny Dippers—unbreaded, 100 percent white chicken breast that’s fried and flavored-fused in one of the brand’s 17 flavors—plays up this health angle.

Winging It

It would seem strange these days to attend a Super Bowl party that didn’t have chicken wings available on the snack line. Wings are America’s “party food,” showing up at all manner of celebrations, from tailgating to graduation parties.

But now that party is extending to the quick-serve industry, with wings showing up on menus at concepts one might otherwise not expect to carry them. For example, Veggie Grill, a sandwich and burger concept, added wings in the spring of 2011. Taco John’s, a Mexican concept, did so in the fall of 2011.

Wing Zone Moves from Delivery to Drive Thru

Stepping away from the foundation of your business may be dangerous, but that’s just what Wing Zone did with the opening of its brand new flagship restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, Georgia.

The 1,600-square-foot location is not only the brand’s first drive-thru restaurant, but it’s also the brand’s first and only nondelivery store.

“We’ve been in business since 1993,” says CEO and cofounder Matt Friedman. “We’ve opened over 100 locations, with most of them, or really all of them, having a delivery focus. So this is big news for us.”

The Drive-Thru Fixer-Upper

On a recent visit to shop his competition, operator Thom Crosby saw disappointment after disappointment in the drive thru. Bad customer service while placing and paying for his order, poorly dressed employees, and backed-up cars plagued operation after operation.

But to Crosby, the experience was more than just a bad lunch. It epitomized all that can go wrong with a broken drive thru.

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