Wingstop

8 Simple Rules for Renovation

Remodeling restaurants in a franchised system is a tough sell and even tougher to execute, but the challenges are minimized for those who follow these guidelines.

Cinnabon revamped its store model to modernize its business offering.
Cinnabon revamped its store model to modernize its business offering. Cinnabon

In many respects, Cinnabon isn’t the brand it was just one decade ago. From the company’s growing beverage line to menu introductions like Center of the Roll and Cinnabon Stix, life within a Cinnabon’s four walls has shifted in the 21st century.

But executives realized a few years ago that the look of Cinnabon’s stores hadn’t similarly changed with the times. The brand’s so-called “heritage” look—a tile-dominated space outlined in blonde wood—had become dated and uninspired, lacking pop and contemporary charisma.

Franchise Vet Ends Retirement, Opens Wingstop Stores

Thanks to the dedication of veteran franchisee Donnie Reeves, Wingstop is officially landing in Utah next year.

As a former owner-operator of multiple Wingstop locations in El Paso, Texas, and current owner of two in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, area, Reeves recently decided to forgo retirement in favor of signing a five-store development agreement to open the award-winning wing chain in Utah.

Wingstop Takes Flight in Bellevue, Washington

Wingstop, the award-winning wing chain with more than 520 restaurants, opened its first Seattle-area location in Bellevue, Washington.

“We’re excited to introduce Seattle to the Wingstop experience,” says general manager Greg Southern. “As the wing experts, we’re committed to serving fresh, made-to-order chicken wings, and Bellevue is the perfect spot for fans to get the first taste of our signature flavors and sides.”

As the first Wingstop in Seattle-Tacoma, the Bellevue location is the first of several Wingstop restaurants planned over the next few years.

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.

Cracking the NFL

The league’s signage rules are strict, leading brands to take advantage of TV broadcasts.

Wendy's tops list of restaurant brands fighting for broadcast exposure in 2011.
Wendy's topped list of restaurant brands fighting for broadcast exposure in 2011.

Now that football teams across the country are facing off in the NFL’s 2012 season, which kicked off last week, many quick serves are beginning a gridiron contest of their own.

Marketing and advertising efforts designed around the NFL are an increasingly hot commodity in the industry. But in the NFL, which has strict rules on branded stadium signage, getting in front of viewer eyeballs without buying commercial airtime is a tricky proposition. This has led several brands to develop broadcast partnerships as part of their NFL strategy.

Wingstop Takes Flight

Wingstop’s executive chairman of the board, Jim Flynn, isn’t shy about comparing his brand to McDonald’s.

“I want to say we’re going to be the McDonald’s of the wing industry, and basically, we are at this point,” he says. “Because there’s nobody else this big.”

“They’re one of the best-kept secrets in [quick service],” says Gary Stibel, who has consulted for companies from McDonald’s to Yum! and is now CEO of the New England Consulting Group. “In new markets, they can define the way the game is played.”

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