Wingstop is Approaching 1,500 Locations Across the Globe

    The brand opened a net of 43 restaurants in Q3, it’s highest since 2016. 

    Fast Food | October 2020 | Ben Coley
    Wingstop wings in a basket.

    Wingstop

    As of September 26, Wingstop had 1,479 restaurants across the globe.

    Wingstop, seemingly unfazed by the COVID pandemic, reported preliminary U.S. same-store sales growth of 25.4 percent in Q3 and 43 net openings systemwide.

    The 25.4 percent bump is on top of a 12.3 percent uptick in the year-ago period. Year-to-date, the brand’s comps have increased 22.5 percent, meaning the restaurant is on pace to achieve its 17th straight year of same-store sales growth. Meanwhile, company-run same-store sales grew 15.2 percent in Q3 and systemwide sales lifted 32.8 percent to roughly $509.2 million. Digital sales increased 62 percent year-over-year.

    "The results during the third quarter continue to highlight the strength of our growth strategy,” CEO Charlie Morrison said in a statement. “… "I am thankful for the support of our team members and brand partners in achieving these extraordinary results during these difficult times. We remain focused on executing against our growth strategies and our vision of becoming a top 10 global restaurant brand.”

    Wingstop’s 43 net openings are the largest increase since Q4 2016 when the company opened a net of 49 locations, and it’s almost double what the brand accomplished in Q2 of this year.

    Here’s a look at how domestic same-store sales have trended:

    Domestic same-store sales

    • Q3 2020 (preliminary): 25.4 percent
    • Q2 2020: 31.9 percent
    • Q1 2020: 9.9 percent
    • Q4 2019: 12.2 percent
    • Q3 2019: 12.3 percent
    • Q2 2019: 12.8 percent
    • Q1 2019: 7.1 percent
    • Q4 2018: 6 percent
    • Q3 2018: 6.3 percent
    • Q2 2018: 4.3 percent
    • Q1 2018: 9.5 percent
    • Q4 2017: 5.2 percent
    • Q3 2017: 4.1 percent
    • Q2 2017: 2 percent
    • Q1 2017: –1.1 percent

     

    And here’s how Wingstop’s footprint has grown recently:

    Net restaurant openings

    • Q3 2020: 46
    • Q2 2020: 23
    • Q1 2020: 28
    • Q4 2019: 45
    • Q3 2019: 37
    • Q2 2019: 30
    • Q1 2019: 21
    • Q4 2018: 37
    • Q3 2018: 27
    • Q2 2018: 31
    • Q1 2018: 24
    • Q4 2017: 45
    • Q3 2017: 32
    • Q2 2017: 25
    • Q1 2017: 33
    • Q4 2016: 49
    • Q3 2016: 35
    • Q2 2016: 41
    • Q1 2016: 31

     

    As of September 26, Wingstop had 1,479 restaurants across the globe. Of that amount, 1,308 were in the U.S.—1,277 franchised and 31 corporate. The brand also has 171 international units across nine countries.

    Morrison said during Wingstop’s Q2 earnings call that he expects this rate of development to continue because of the pipeline.

    “We do not see any challenges of access to real estate right now,” Morrison said back in July. “If anything, given the nature of the type of real estate we like, which is other people’s B- and C+ real estate, that’s going to bode well for our traditional restaurant that we build. We have certainly recognized in this world where all occasions are off-premise that the concept of a ghost kitchen makes sense for our business.”