Although Wing Snob received many inquiries in 2021, Shunia says the brand slowed expansion efforts last year and took time to rebuild infrastructure. That includes constructing a new franchise portal, digitizing brand manuals, and standing up sophisticated training system Wing Snob University.
Shunia expects the chain's foot to hit the accelerator this summer when it starts actively promoting its franchise offer. Previously, the company's leads came without marketing support.
As for customers, a new website launched in January, marking the brand’s third refresh. In the past three years, Wing Snob has examined visited pages and explored what type of advertising makes the most sense. The biggest learning is that customers are there to order food and move on, Mashini says.
Ninety percent of Wing Snob’s business is carryout and delivery and 60 percent comes from the online ordering platform. Digital sales will be amplified even further this summer with the rollout of a new mobile app.
“So we're revamping our website constantly, adding additional information that we see from analytics that are relevant to our customer base,” Mashini says. “At the end of the day, they want to see something user-friendly and easy on the eyes and I think we accomplished it so far with this latest roll out. But it's never really done. It's forever evolving.”
Because the chain is mostly off-premises, locations average roughly 1,500 square feet and are usually inline beside national brands that attract foot traffic. The first restaurant in Houston has a pickup window and another drive-thru model will be tested in Mission, Texas, which is close to the Mexican border.
Mashini says it’s a matter of sampling different techniques and ensuring Wing Snob can deliver the same fresh, never frozen product.
“It's definitely a different animal when you go into the drive-thru model,” Mashini says. “It's something that I think we're utilizing our strongest teams to make sure it works successfully. I think at the very least we're definitely looking at the pick-up window model to help with third-party delivery pickups. To have a customer be able to pull in, grab your food and drive out, makes their life easier, makes our staff’s lives easier. It’s definitely the future for sure.”
Wing Snob is part of a food category that accelerated during COVID because of its portability. A number of chains launched virtual restaurants centered around wings, including Chili’s with It’s Just Wings and Applebee’s with Cosmic Wings. For Wing Snob specifically, delivery increased as much as 5x-6x.
Although the segment is saturating, Mashini doesn’t view the competition as a threat, and that comes from his confidence in what Wing Snob is building across the U.S.
“We're the new cool guys in town, and I think the customers that we’re attracting and the franchises around the country, it's something cool new and exciting,” he says. “Everyone wants to get on board with that. There's a lot of players, but not a lot of major players in the chicken wing space. So we're really trying to, become that major player and attract the masses.”