Thanks to the dedication of veteran franchisee Donnie Reeves, Wingstop is officially landing in Utah next year.

As a former owner-operator of multiple Wingstop locations in El Paso, Texas, and current owner of two in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, area, Reeves recently decided to forgo retirement in favor of signing a five-store development agreement to open the award-winning wing chain in Utah.

With more than 520 locations across the country, Reeves plans to open his first Wingstop in the Salt Lake City area this winter. He is currently exploring site options throughout the suburbs of West Jordan, South Jordan, and Sandy, and expects to sign a lease in the coming months.

"I'm excited to introduce Salt Lake City wing fans to this great concept," Reeves says. "Bringing Wingstop to the area gives me an opportunity to really make an impact and show the community what the wing experts are all about."

Reeves got his start with Wingstop in 2002, when a long-time friend convinced him to form a business partnership and take a chance on the only chicken chain with a sole focus on wings. Ten years and two $1 million-plus stores later, Reeves is glad he did.

"At first I wasn't sure about a restaurant that focused so much on wings, but after tasting the great product, I couldn't say no," he says. "The fresh, made-to-order concept was so simple, and with 10 signature wing flavors, there's somethign for everyone. That, together with my partner's expertise, convinced me that Wingstop was a concept that I wanted to run with."

Reeves helped to develop the El Paso market for almost a decade, in addition to opening two successful locations in the Dallas area. He decided to retire from his half of the El Paso partnership in 2010, but then just a year later, he knew he couldn't stay away.

"Wingstop is such a part of me and such an amazing concept that I decided leading the way into Utah and bringing an old friend in to help me would be more fun than retiring," he says.

Reeves hope to replicate Wingstop's success in Salt Lake City by sharing his experience and knowledge with his new partner, Linda Eadler, and plans to eventually hand over the market to her completely.

"One of these days, I'll officially decide to reitre. But until then, I'm really enjoying my continued time with Wingstop," he says. "We're going to hit the ground running in Salt Lake City, and I know Linda is the perfect person to help make this a success."

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Wingstop