Wingstop announced the company has signed a development agreement that will result in eight new restaurants in the Philadelphia area.
Philadelphia native Richard Johnson of Jomartt Enterprises, L.P., has signed a multi-unit development agreement and expects to open his first location this winter. Johnson, a former McDonald’s franchisee, was drawn to Wingstop’s ease of operations and focus on cooked-to-order wings.
“I was attracted to the idea of a wing place that would be a local, neighborhood spot, where people can get really good wings,” Johnson says. “I started doing my research and was impressed with how the Wingstop brand works. We tried the food and kept going back for more.”
Johnson first heard about Wingstop on the radio while driving around Philadelphia with his youngest son, Tristan.
“My son and I were in the car, listening to the radio, and we heard a DJ talking about Rick Ross opening a Wingstop franchise in Memphis,” he says. “My son said, ‘Dad, if Rick Ross has a Wingstop, you need one, too.’”
Johnson, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, attended the University of Michigan and always knew his calling was the restaurant industry. His uncle, Bob Wright, a McDonald’s owner/operator, introduced him to foodservice and he quickly developed a passion for the business.
“I learned early on how to run a restaurant from my uncle,” Johnson says. “I worked my way up, from mopping the floors to cooking to managing, and eventually took over my own store in north Philadelphia with the financial help from my mom, Percenia Johnson. I purchased a second McDonald’s location in 2000 and ran that for eight years.”
Near the end of his 20-year franchise agreement with McDonald’s, Johnson began searching for his next great restaurant adventure.
“I wanted to find a company that I could partner with, take pride in what I was selling, and grow the brand in Philly,” he says. “Plus, I like that it’s still a fairly new company that’s expanding. Wingstop is really just starting out in the Northeast and I wanted to be involved in a concept I can help promote and grow.”
During his time with McDonald’s, Johnson received numerous awards for his community involvement with local churches and schools and plans to create the same outreach with his Wingstop locations.
Johnson’s development agreement includes Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. He’s already searching for his first three sites, which will likely open in the Roxborough area; Wyncote, Pennsylvania; and northeast Philadelphia.
“Things are moving really fast,” he says. “I’m ready to roll and expect to open in November or December. My goal is to be selling wings by the time high school football and the NFL playoffs rev up.”