Neil Frank is saying goodbye to corporate America, and hello to wings.
Frank, a former strategic marketing manager/software engineer, has decided to trade in his corporate badge and become his own boss, with plans to open three Wingstop locations in Virginia. He hopes to open his first Wingstop in Fairfax County this fall.
Frank recently signed a three-store development agreement with Wingstop, the rapidly expanding wing chain with 515 locations, after moving to Ashburn, Virginia, from San Jose, California.
He is scouting sites throughout Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Northern Virginia and expects to sign a lease in the coming months.
“Wingstop is still pretty new on the East Coast, and Fairfax and Loudoun Counties are open areas for development,” Frank says. “That gives me an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and develop this great concept.”
Formerly a strategic marketing manager and software engineer, Frank says the independent contracting business was moving at the same pace as the national economy, so he decided leave the corporate world and open his own business. Plus, he loves the wings.
“I had never heard of Wingstop until some friends announced they were opening one in San Jose,” he says. “So I tried the wings and loved them. They’re fresh, made-to-order, and everyone loved them back in Northern California. And I like the simplicity of the concept and how you can order wings with some heat, but they have other options, too. And the fries are excellent!”
Frank says he’s tried other wing concepts, but Wingstop’s sole focus on wings was the deciding factor.
“Wingstop is the only concept I know of that’s wing-specific,” Frank says. “We aren’t a bar. We just focus on chicken wings, because we’re the wing experts.”
He says it’s this model that will appeal to the commuter-centric residents of Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
“Because we have a focused carryout approach, people can call ahead, order on their phone, or online, so it’s ready when you are,” he says. “You can dine in or take it to go. A lot of people in the Northern Virginia area work in D.C. and typically live a commuter lifestyle. So to get home to a home-cooked meal can be difficult. That’s why Wingstop is perfect.”
Frank’s three-store development agreement will bring a total of four Wingstop locations to Virginia. There is already a location in Alexandria.