Industry News | April 29, 2013

WOW Café Expands its 'Wings' and Rebrands as American Grill

New Orleans’ favorite wing joint WOW Café has gotten a facelift and will roll out a new trade dress among locations across New Orleans and the U.S. 

The new look is part of a larger rebrand strategy for the 11-year old company, with a major focus on expanding its menu offerings beyond wings and tenders to healthier options and variety appealing to all audiences. The transition from “World of Wings” to WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery has evolved over the last year as the menu has expanded extensively and culminates with the launch of the restaurant’s new look and interiors.  The casual grill expects to roll out the new design in 20 restaurants over the next year.
 
“We want to stress to the communities where we operate that we’re not just wings anymore,” says Paul Ballard, founder of WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery. “A big emphasis of ours is offering All-American fare focusing on healthy dishes made daily with fresh ingredients.”
 
WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery’s menu boasts an array of healthier options, including seven entrée salads, fresh wraps, grilled options, lettuce wraps, and lighter side items like fresh fruit. 
 
Customers will also notice a distinctive difference when they walk into the New Orleans-inspired restaurant chain that goes beyond the menu. The company is conducting an overhaul of its trade dress. Patrons will see a more sophisticated, cleaner look of the interiors – a direct result of heightening the quality and craftsmanship of the materials used. While the company is steering away from the sports-theme trade dress, locations will still feature TVs strategically placed throughout the restaurant to maximize view ability.
 
“While we’ll always be a destination for viewing major sporting events, our goal is to be known for quality, flavorful menu options featuring fresh, cooked to order food,” says Ryan Stansbury, WOW’s franchise development director. “We want to appeal to a broad audience from families to college students. We believe we will do this with our diverse menu and exciting environment.”
 
The fast casual grill has not forgotten its origins. All locations will encompass that New Orleans flair through images and accessories, while also incorporating elements of the specific neighborhood in which it operates.
     
WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery falls under the restaurant portfolio of Ballard Brands, which is co-owned by three brothers Paul, Scott, and Steve Ballard.
 
Over the last year, WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery has seen extensive growth in the non-traditional market, expanding in universities across the country from California to Florida to New Jersey, as well as airports, hotels, malls, hospitals, and most recently, its first military base location at Camp Pendleton in California.
 
Says Stansbury,  “WOW works well for non-traditional locations because our operating model is flexible, adaptable, and scalable. We have a great understanding of how non-traditional locations operate most efficiently – the number one challenge in non-traditional locations.”
 
There are 70 WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery restaurants located nationwide. The company expects to open approximately 20 locations in 2013.