Wingstop the award-winning wing concept with more than 1,500 locations worldwide, today announced a minority investment in the UK business, which is operated by its UK franchisee, Lemon Pepper Holdings Ltd. (LPH). This investment follows strong performance in the UK and underscores the brand's confidence in the market as a key growth lever for global expansion.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Lemon Pepper team as they grow their brand presence in the UK, a market with tremendous long-term potential," says Wingstop CFO Michael Skipworth. "We believe this strategic use of our capital will strengthen the development pipeline in that market and I am excited to join the Lemon Pepper Holdings Board of Directors and play a role in helping achieve the potential for the Wingstop brand in the UK."
Wingstop entered into a 100-restaurant agreement with LPH in 2017 as the sole franchisee for the UK market. LPH successfully opened Wingstop's first restaurant in the heart of central London and its portfolio now has a mix of high street, shopping mall and ghost kitchen locations. LPH was founded by Saul Lewin, Tom Grogan, Herman Sahota and Paddy Bamford.
The UK saw its highest sales growth in 2020 and continued to open seven new locations despite successive national lockdowns. This investment follows the opening of a new Wingstop restaurant in Reading last month – the first outside of London and one of several planned new openings this year, which will include Manchester, Kingston-upon-Thames, Birmingham Bullring and Bristol.
"Since launching in the UK market in 2017, Wingstop has brought its flavoursome chicken wings to thousands of hungry guests across several high-profile locations," says Grogan, director of LPH. "We've been delighted by the overwhelming response from guests and look forward to bringing our brand to more regions of the UK in coming years."
In pursuit of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, Wingstop continues exploring expansion opportunities in Europe as well as in key markets around the world including China and Canada, where its first restaurant is planned to open by 2022.
Dow Schofield Watts and Baker McKenzie served as advisors to Wingstop for this transaction.