Mrs. Winner’s Chicken & Biscuits, the beloved Southeastern quick-service brand, has partnered with restaurant and franchise industry veteran Mike Reynolds to help grow the company and attract new multiunit franchisees. The move comes on the heels of the legacy Southern fried chicken brand signing new franchise agreements in Atlanta, which signal a new wave of growth for the once-bankrupt restaurant company.
Reynolds most recently served as president and CEO of casual dining concept Rock and Brews, where he was responsible for doubling the chain’s valuation in just 14 months and signing new multiunit development agreements throughout the country, among other accomplishments as the brand’s first CEO. With a long history in franchise development, Reynolds has sold more than 1,000 franchises domestically and internationally during his 25-plus-year career in the industry. At Mrs. Winner’s, Reynolds will serve as chief development officer in an advisory position and is charged with brand strategy and franchise development.
Before Rock and Brews, Reynolds was chief development officer for smoothie brand Robeks, where he is credited with selling 80 franchise and multiunit development agreements as part of the overhaul of the development team, in addition to increasing overall store revenue and implementing a cobranding partnership with Subway. Reynolds was also cofounder and general manager of national brand Big City Bagels. He additionally held senior level development positions at Arby’s and Grand Met, the parent corporation for Burger King and Häagen-Dazs.
“Mrs. Winner’s in in a pivotal place right now where the brand can come out of near extinction to rival others in the quick-service fried chicken segment. Our product is second-to-none and I believe there is strong, untapped growth potential for this brand,” Reynolds says.
Founded in 1979, Mrs. Winner’s was once a staple in the quick-service fried chicken and biscuits market. During the early years, the company surged to 184 restaurants throughout the Southeast. After struggling through multiple ownership transactions and financial missteps, Mrs. Winner’s closed all of its company-owned stores and filed for bankruptcy in 2010, leaving only a handful of restaurants open. In 2012, current CEO John Buttolph acquired the rights to the company.
“The demand for Mrs. Winner’s is unquestionable and our revamped business model and infrastructure is strong enough to support new growth,” Buttolph says. “We are excited for Mike’s vast experience in restaurants to help identify expansion opportunities.”
There are currently 12 Mrs. Winner’s locations throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Within the next five years, the company expects to add 100 new restaurants throughout Mrs. Winner’s Southeastern core markets and is actively seeking qualified franchise partners in metropolitan Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Birmingham, Chattanooga, and other territories throughout Northern Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia.