Dallas-based AE Restaurant Group, led by Cary and Jackie Albert, have signed on to open 60 hoots wings locations in Texas, specifically targeting the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Austin. This is the first franchise agreement since the burgeoning wing concept and brother brand to Hooters launched its franchise opportunity in 2020.
The Alberts, through their company AE Restaurant Group, plan to open at least six hoots wings locations in 2021, and eight to 10 locations each year thereafter. They anticipate opening initial locations in northern Fort Worth and suburban Dallas. Cary Albert will handle real estate, development, and build-out, while Jackie Albert will be hands-on in every restaurant, handling operations, marketing, training and hiring.
“Hoots Wings is an attractive franchise option to Cary and I because we get to be on the ground floor of an emerging concept on the fast-track for growth, while benefiting from all the perks of having a national brand backing us,” says Jackie Albert. “The more we dug into hoots wings’ food and finances, the more appealing it was. The smaller prototype means we can build out fast and furious, and we are eager to start bringing the best-you’ve-ever-had breaded bone-in, naked bone-in, boneless, smoked and roasted wings to Texas.”
As Jackie notes, hoots wings goes above and beyond a traditional wing-focused concept, offering five different wing options and more than a dozen sauces and rubs and over 10,000 different combinations. Additionally, Texans will come to enjoy buffalo shrimp, signature customized chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.
The Alberts are no strangers to multi-unit franchise development; the duo has been franchise owners of dozens of Schlotzsky’s since 1994, and have an impressive real estate arm of the business as well. Today, Albert Enterprises and its 525 employees operate 30 Schlotzsky’s throughout Texas, and have more than 250,000 square feet of retail, office and restaurant space. Adding to his impressive resume, Cary also spent four years in the United States Air Force and founded and ultimately sold a successful electronics test and measurement company.
“Jackie and Cary are top shelf operators, and we are proud to call them our first franchisees,” says Mark Whittle, Chief Development Officer at HOA Brands, parent company to hoots wings and Hooters. “We are looking for experienced, sophisticated, multi-unit operators and the Alberts are top tier. When you look at how they run their restaurants and how they treat their staff and guests – that’s what we want the hoots wings experience to be. Having personally known Cary and Jackie for over 13 years, I have total confidence they will be outstanding stewards of the hoots wings brand as they buildout their markets.”
Franchisees who join the hoots wings brand will enjoy the benefits of hands-on training through the opening process, marketing support, site selection and construction assistance, access to a vast, existing supply chain, and a top-tier POS system. As a thank you for their service to the United States, military veterans like Cary Albert receive a 10 percent discount off the franchise fee.
“With only a few national competitors and an unmet demand, hoots wings is ready to become a dominant player in the wing industry, especially with excellent franchise operators like the Alberts,” says Sal Melilli, CEO of HOA Brands and creator of hoots wings. “We’ve built a strong model that is well suited for the trends of tomorrow and years to come, and that has resulted in impressive unit level economics for the brand.”