The lockout may have stalled the NBA season, but things are still heating up for Milwaukee Bucks forward Drew Gooden. Gooden has signed a multi-unit franchise agreement with national hot wing chain Wingstop to open four restaurants in Orlando, Florida, over the next few years.
Gooden and his operating partner, George Taylor III, have formed Zerocon Food Systems, LLC, and expect to open their first location in early 2012.
“With the lockout, a lot of us are thinking about our futures and looking for new business and investment opportunities,” Gooden says. “I’ve been a big fan of Wingstop for years, so this is a perfect fit for me.”
Before joining the NBA, Gooden attended the University of Kansas, where the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) named him Player of the Year in 2002. Throughout his almost 10-year NBA career, the power forward/center has played for teams including Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Clippers. He most recently joined the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010.
“Drew Gooden and Wingstop are a winning combination,” says Dave Vernon, vice president of franchise sales for the company. “Drew has shown great enthusiasm for the brand and a strong head for business throughout the franchise process. He also brought on a strong operational partner in George Taylor III, which will help ensure his success in Orlando.”
“I fell in love with the people and the city when I played for the Orlando Magic, so I decided to make Orlando home,” Gooden says. “There’s a huge market of wing eaters in Orlando and I just want to provide them with the best product out there, hands down.”
Drew Gooden is the latest of several professional athletes and entertainers that have joined the Wingstop brand. Recording artist Rick Ross opened his first Wingstop in Memphis last week, and company spokesman and Fox Sports analyst Troy Aikman sits on the Wingstop board of directors.