East Coast Wings & Grill, a North Carolina–based restaurant concept known for its 75 flavors of award-winning buffalo-style wings, is planning to expand into San Antonio with at least 12 new locations during the next six years.

The company’s plan stems from a franchise development agreement that has already been signed with brothers Nimesh and Dharmesh Patel to open six stores in the western half of San Antonio. The area’s first restaurant is expected to open in Pleasanton, Texas, in October 2012. 

“We have developed patiently over the last eight years,” says Sam Ballas, CEO of East Coast Wings & Grill, noting the company’s dedication to finding quality franchisees. “We are a brand focused on strategic growth and are confident that San Antonio will be yet another successful market for us. We are simply thrilled about the partnership with Nimesh and Dharmesh, and even more ecstatic on what is to come.”

Nimesh Patel, a practicing physician and entrepreneur with three urgent care centers in San Antonio, and Dharmesh Patel, a lifelong hospitality professional, had been looking to develop a restaurant concept together.

Being from New Orleans, they were very critical of taste and, after looking at many different options, they determined that East Coast Wings & Grill offered the best opportunity for them to implement their style of running a business with hard work and excellent customer service, with the great food taste and quality they demanded.

“We were both very wary of getting involved with a franchise restaurant because we noticed the demands of many franchisors at times made no business or real world sense,” Nimesh Patel says.

“East Coast Wings & Grill eliminated that concern,” he continues. “They operate their own corporate restaurants and focus on the bottom line just like we do. We couldn’t be more excited about the new partnership and look forward to enhancing a franchise network that is poised for aggressive growth. When you put great people and great products together, great things happen.”

Proving the concept is successful in any economic climate with 34 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases, East Coast Wings & Grill is far different from the norm in the chicken wing segment. With a focus on great-tasting, freshly prepared food for families—rather than alcohol (alcohol sales attribute less than 11 percent of total sales)—the burgeoning brand creates a warm and inviting décor that leaves customers feeling a sense of community.

And while its 75 flavors of buffalo style wings, offered in 675 combinations depending on heat intensity, remain a staple of the concept, East Coast Wings & Grill’s six-page menu also includes such casual-dining fare as burgers, salads, sandwiches, and more.

To augment the market’s growth, East Coast Wings & Grill is seeking additional single- and multiunit franchisees to further develop the company’s network of restaurants, including a university model store, throughout the greater San Antonio area, specifically the city’s eastern half.

The average cost to open an East Coast Wings & Grill is between $333,000–$655,000, with a franchise fee of $30,000. 

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, East Coast Wings & Grill