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How the Wing Zone Leadership Team Supports Franchisees from the Point of Inquiry to Opening Day and Beyond

The wing-themed delivery and takeout restaurant makes sure franchisees are just as satisfied as their consumers through exceptional onboarding, detailed training and hands on marketing support.

Originally developed by fraternity brothers Matt Friedman and Adam Scott while attending college in Gainesville, Florida, the first Wing Zone concept was tested in the entrepreneurial pair’s frat house kitchen in 1992. This passion for creating authentic buffalo wings in Gainesville soon grew into the brand’s flagship location in 1993. Only six years later, Friedman and Scott began franchising the concept with store No. 7 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1999.

Since then, Wing Zone has set itself apart thanks to low start-up costs, a strong consumer value proposition, menu and delivery innovations, digital marketing campaigns and, last but not least, an exceptional franchisee support infrastructure.  

With an all-in investment of approximately $250,000 including equipment, build out, signage and POS, Wing Zone’s total cost of entry is one of the lowest in food franchises, said the brand’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Friedman. “This can open the brand’s franchising opportunity to more prospective franchisees who might be a good fit,” Friedman said. “We partner with passionate people that follow our core values. It’s truly about finding the right franchisee in the right market and doing everything we can to help them be successful.”

Once a franchisee candidate finds us, the Wing Zone leadership team offers incomparable franchisee support that starts with discovery and extends far beyond a store’s grand opening.

Wing Zone prides itself on doing a phenomenal job when it comes to prospective and new franchisee support,” Friedman said. “We guide franchisees through the entire discovery process, from the first call to the application process to participating in our 21-day training program, Wing Zone University. We only meet with prospects one-on-one instead of group franchise days. We want to get a feel for them.”

Once a franchisee officially signs on with Wing Zone, the brand provides real estate site selection support to help them work with a realtor and find the best location. The team’s build out support includes a complete restaurant design layout, architectural and construction plan consulting, equipment contracts and more. Whether its multi-unit entrepreneurs looking to dominate a smaller market or local franchisees who are looking to open one or two locations with a full-time focus, Wing Zone offers various layout options to make the investment more attractive.

During the actual grand opening, leadership is present to help train staff, organize mock rushes, plan special events and develop a local store marketing plan. “We are onsite for 12 days—five days prior to opening and seven days after opening—to provide training, marketing and onboarding support,” Friedman said. “Franchisees also have access to Wing Zone’s national, integrated marketing program that includes digital, social, direct mail, point of sale and reputation management for social media reviews.” 

For ongoing franchisee support, Wing Zone has revamped its digital marketing efforts with the goal of improving the guest experience. This includes the launch of a 360-degree digital marketing campaign to get an all-encompassing view of the consumer journey. The goal is to engage with consumers and provide a unique guest experience, focusing on everything from text messaging to email blasts. As the brand has several restaurants located close to major universities, this local marketing includes doing a Basketball Bracket Challenge and taking advantage of other big moments during the college and professional sports seasons. 

“From a systemwide marketing perspective, we’re constantly looking at menu innovation, creative promotions and new flavors,” said Friedman. “We also just rolled out text marketing for all of our restaurants.”

The brand is utilizing the services of digital marketing agency Scorpion, which is providing Wing Zone with “a bevy of digital marketing” tools, according to Kristy O’Connor, Brand Marketing Manager, including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), digital advertising and online review management.

Lastly, when it comes to e-learning, onboarding and labor, Wing Zone is continuing to invest in better technology, as well as a simpler way to attract team members, hire and train them. This is a huge key to success for the brand’s franchisees, and Wing Zone is constantly innovating in the technology space.

Whether it be through marketing, real estate or training support, Wing Zone’s leadership team ensures that all franchisees are positioned for continued success long after opening.

The overall investment for a Wing Zone franchise is around $250,000 with a $25,000 franchise fee. Prospective franchisees can get into a proven franchise model for as little as $75,000 down. With average restaurant sales of $800,000+, the ratio of sales to investment leaves Wing Zone franchisees as satisfied as their Flavorholic consumers. For more information, please visit https://wingzonefranchise.com.

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