Wingstop Restaurants Inc., the award-winning wing concept with 1,031 locations worldwide, announced that it is extending its global reach by expanding into the European market. The company entered into an international agreement with Lemon Pepper Holdings Ltd. (LPH), which is set to open 100 locations in the United Kingdom over the next 12 years with the first restaurant set to open by year’s end.

Rita Sharma OBE, founder and CEO of luxury travel empire, will back the newly established LPH. Other partners involved on the board include Saul Lewin and Boris Kofman of V2 Leisure, which was involved in launching Novikov in the United Kingdom in 2011 and brokered many of London’s high profile restaurant openings, including Sumosan Twiga, Park Chinois, and most recently opened MNKY HSE in Mayfair; as well as Tom Grogan, co-founder of Lutti London, a privately owned real estate investment group.

“My family and I are very excited to bring Wingstop to the United Kingdom,” says Sharma. “We have been assessing an investment into the food and beverage sector for some time and believe Wingstop is the right opportunity with the right team involved. Wingstop brings a new and exciting option to an underserved chicken category within the overall U.K. food sector.”

Wingstop will be the first fast casual restaurant for the newly established group; the founders have created a very strong operational team, advisory council and support structure with U.K. experience in brands such as Shake Shack, Five Guys, Pret a Manger, Cote Brasserie and Jamie Oliver’s Italian.

“The European market represents a significant international growth opportunity for Wingstop and a meaningful next step on our path to becoming a top 10 restaurant brand, meeting both franchisee interest and consumer demand,” says Larry Kruguer, president of International at Wingstop. “Lemon Pepper Holdings Ltd. has shown that they are very in tune to the type of brand experience the U.K. consumer is looking for, and we are thrilled to have them join the Wingstop family. Rita Sharma is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in Britain and has built a highly successful company from the ground up. We look forward to working with LPH as we serve Europe—and the world—flavor.”

LPH will focus its efforts on adapting Wingstop to the United Kingdom, paying close attention to customer experience, branding and fit out, including a number of exciting architectural design adaptations that should have positive effects for the rest of Europe.

Wingstop is a U.S. based restaurant brand with a sole focus on freshly prepared, cooked-to-order, hand-sauced and tossed chicken wings and side dishes. The United Kingdom will mark the 10th international market outside of the U.S., but the company’s first foray into Europe.

Fast Casual, Franchising, Growth, News, Wingstop