WHY I BOUGHT
Atomic Wings’ First Franchisee Philip Monde Is Proud to Serve His New York Community
As a friend of CEO Zak Omar, Monde has close connections with the up-and-coming wing franchise.
After spending several years perfecting the process, recipe and art behind the perfect chicken wings, founder Adam Lippin opened the first Atomic Wings location in New York City in 1989. In 2016, Zak Omar, a successful multi-unit Dunkin’ franchisee, was inspired to expand his business portfolio by joining the brand. Omar had watched his father build a thriving food truck business from scratch in New York City and saw the same opportunity in Atomic Wings. Omar initially considered opening his own Atomic Wings franchise location, but Lippin, after meeting Omar and learning his story, offered to sell him the entire business. As the CEO, Omar is taking Atomic Wings to the next level and bringing the brand’s beloved offering to new communities across the country through franchising.
Philip Monde was the first Atomic Wings franchise owner to join the brand, signing on last year to open a location in Bellerose, New York. “I’ve known Zak for a while, long before he purchased the Atomic Wings brand,” said Monde. “My business partner Sy and I have known each other for years, and when Zak invested in Atomic Wings, we all decided to enter into franchising together.”
While Monde’s friendship with Omar was a major selling factor, it wasn’t the only reason he was excited for the opportunity. “The variety of the flavor in terms of the wings was something I had never seen before,” he said.
Since day one, Atomic Wings has been creating an avid customer base by serving up awesome flavors. Most wing shops will offer some range of heat levels and maybe two or three alternative flavors, but Atomic Wings offers 14. Each flavor was composed after months of research and development. Atomic Wings has always stayed one step ahead, innovating with new products to keep customers invested. For example, Atomic Wings recently set itself apart with its spiciest sauce to date — the Nuclear Sauce.
“As long as the product was great and it filled a niche, I knew Atomic Wings could succeed in Bellerose,” Monde said. “I had a local network of people that were able to bring a few different eyes into the company as well and analyze the competition in the area. I knew our product was better and had more variety. We were also able to acquire our beer and wine license.”
Monde was correct — since opening the Bellerose location in May of 2019, the neighborhood has proven to be perfect for the Atomic Wings brand. “I know a lot of people in the neighborhood through playing basketball,” said Monde. “Our location is on the border of Long Island and Queens, which is one of the most diverse boroughs in the city, and it has been great to appeal to so many different demographics. We also have one of the most diverse staffs I’ve ever seen, which enables us to appeal to the neighborhood through recommendations and friends. Still, we wouldn’t be able to do that if our product didn’t have such a broad appeal.”
In addition to a strong consumer offering, Monde notes that Atomic Wings offers exceptional franchisee support. “Throughout the entire development process, Zak has been super hands-on and has supported us 100 percent,” he said. “Even though he had just had an operation and was on crutches, Zak still made sure to show up to our soft opening. If I ever had any questions, Zak was only a phone call away.”
Everything about the Atomic Wings business model has been streamlined to make franchise owners more profitable. From the buildout to the service model, Atomic Wings has developed a system that allows owners to recoup their investments and grow faster. Opening a new Atomic Wings location requires minimal space and the brand has great adaptable systems in place that are easy to replicate. Atomic Wings deliberately kept the buildout costs low enough so that franchisees could recoup their investment in about three years, making them much more profitable more quickly.
Now, as the foodservice industry struggles through COVID-19, Atomic Wings is uniquely positioned to thrive. “When the pandemic started, we were nervous about how things were going to play out, but sales actually shot up 30% based on the fact that wings work so well through delivery,” he said. “Plus, less competition, third-party delivery partnerships and great food allowed us to fare tremendously well. We also made sure to support operations and staff with the proper PPE and safety procedures.”
Monde’s Atomic Wings location has also provided food for first responders, children and charities, which has helped him give back and support his community while also maintaining profitability.
While this is Monde’s only Atomic Wings location at the moment, he is hoping to expand soon. “In addition to the initial location in Bellarose, Zak showed us other sites he wanted us to look at for the future of multi-unit ownership,” said Monde. “There are proposals for locations all over the East Coast, which is a great sign for the brand. Zak also has personal connections with a vast network of celebrities and entrepreneurs, which provides a lot of avenues for growth.”
Atomic Wings’ strong consumer offering and winning business model has earned the brand recognition on national television, including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CNN Money, CBS News and more
Looking ahead, Monde couldn’t be more excited for the future. “I know that Zak wants Atomic Wings to be a household name, and I am all for it,” he said. “As the first franchisee and a close friend of Zak’s, I am able to give my input about future plans and my opinion is valued — I take pride in that.”
For more information about Atomic Wings, please visit https://www.atomicwings.com/franchising.