Wing It On!, the New England based and fan-favorite wing joint known for its fresh, never-frozen, all-natural wings ’n wiches, announced a new signed agreement with Dwayne Heard, Clinton Barrow and Nyerere Ellis to bring a minimum five locations to Atlanta.
The new stores will be the next Wing It On! locations in the Atlanta market after the recently-opened Sandy Spring store opened its doors in November 2020. The newly signed multi-unit development agreement (WIO!’s largest so far) represents a big step closer to the brand’s larger growth strategy to lock in 25 to 30 additional units by the end of year in target markets like Atlanta.
“Our team was very intrigued by the Wing It On! Franchise opportunity. What stood out to us was how quickly a location can get up and running, as well as the sales to capital ratio,” says Heard. “We are confident Wing It On! will be a major player in the industry segment, and certainly the Atlanta DMA, which has extraordinary growth potential, and as such we are excited for what the future holds.”
Heard, Barrow and Ellis bring a wealth of restaurant and business experience to Wing It On!. Previously, Heard and Ellis developed and operated over 28 Checkers restaurants in Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia. Heard followed that with, what was then, the largest “start up” acquisition in the history of the restaurant industry, when he purchased 100 Church’s Chicken franchises in six different states, with Barrow facilitating financing. Heard has been president of Master Concession Air-Atl since 2010, operating over 40 retail and food & beverage concessions in several airports around the country, in partnerships with industry leaders, HMS Host, The Hudson Group and MASTER CONCESSION AIR. Ellis brings over 30 years of corporate and franchise restaurant operations experience as well as consulting services. Barrow has an extensive background in franchise finance and is currently a consultant for franchisees seeking financing. He will serve as CFO for the franchisee group operating Wing It On! in Atlanta.
Wing It On! has earned a loyal fan following redefining the standards for fresh and crispy wings. With a simplified, innovative menu, fans of the brand have experienced the true Buffalo-quality wing cooked then sauced or seasoned to perfection with their proprietary blend. In addition to its famous wings and boneless tenders, Wing It On! also serves a full-line up of hand-crafted crispy gourmet chicken sandwiches, freshly prepared salads, sides and irresistible customizable seasoned fries.
“Dwayne, Clinton and Nyerere are the exact type of operators we want to partner with as we grow Wing It On!,” says Matt Ensero, CEO and founder of Wing It On!. “Their extensive experience in the industry will be key as we enter the Atlanta market.”
Creating the best wing experience around goes back to the early 2000s when Ensero and his friends would argue every football Sunday about who was driving 30-plus minutes to pick up wings from some of their favorite spots in nearby towns. However, the distance and low-quality product would always result in soggy and cold wings once they got home. Ensero had enough, hence, Wing It On! was born. He opened the first Wing It On! in his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut, serving only the crispiest of wings that all true wing nuts crave.
The attractiveness of the franchise model is only enhanced with its flexible design footprint. Takeout and delivery drive nearly 90 percent of store revenues, meaning overhead is kept low with just a small portion of the restaurant reserved for dine-in. Locations can range from less than 1,200 square feet up to 1,400 square feet. With real estate flexibility on its side and consumer demand high, Wing It On! plans to grow by targeting single-unit and multi-unit deals in key growth markets including Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta and the Triangle of North Carolina, and areas of South Carolina.
Offering a built-in digital experience that franchisees can leverage for online ordering, a mobile app and third-party delivery integration software, the Wing It On! digital operating model fosters a low initial investment and higher sales per square foot. Wing It On! also offers a food truck franchise option to drive additional revenues.
As the brand continues to expand into key markets, Wing It On! is actively seeking qualified single-unit and multi-unit owners looking to invest with an emerging brand in the fast-growing chicken segment that keeps operations simple. Ideal franchisees should have business or operations experience and a passion for the restaurant industry – if you’re a wing nut, even better. Franchisees must have a minimum net worth of $300,000 and meet the minimum liquid assets requirement of $70,000.