10 Chicken Wing Franchises for Food Entrepreneurs

Serving mouth-watering chicken wings is one business that perpetually flourishes in the United States, and the rise of the chicken wing franchise model is a testament to that. The enduring popularity of chicken wings among the American population has led many restaurant franchises to specialize in serving this popular menu item. The demand for the food, once reserved for football fans, has sent the prices for this fun favorite skyrocketing.

Is a Chicken Wing Franchise Profitable?

A chicken wing franchise can be profitable. According to starterstory.com, the gross margins for a take-out chicken and wings business hover around 40%. This significant margin facilitates easier cost management and business growth. Moreover, setting up your product in this industry is relatively fast, often taking around seven months.

Additionally, initiating a take-out chicken and wings business requires notably less capital compared to many other businesses, with start-up costs ranging from $1,817 to $27,209.

Here is a word from Vetted Biz about franchises that are hot prospects in 2023:

Our Methodology: The Top Chicken Wing Franchises

To guide potential franchisees in making informed decisions about investing in chicken wing franchises, we utilize a set of criteria that focus on key aspects of success and sustainability in this specific market. Each criterion is rated on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 indicates the least importance and 5 the highest importance:

  1. Brand Recognition and Reputation
    • Importance: 5
    • The franchise’s market presence, brand recognition, and reputation are critical. A well-known and respected brand can attract customers more easily.
  2. Quality and Diversity of Menu Offerings
    • Importance: 5
    • The quality of the chicken wings, variety of flavors, and additional menu items play a significant role in attracting and retaining customers.
  3. Initial Investment and Franchise Fees
    • Importance: 4
    • We evaluate the total initial investment required, including franchise fees, setup costs, and any additional start-up expenses.
  4. Operational Support and Training
    • Importance: 4
    • The level of operational support and training provided by the franchisor, which can include staff training, operational guidelines, and ongoing assistance, is essential for running the franchise smoothly.
  5. Market Demand and Competition Analysis
    • Importance: 4
    • Assessing the local market demand for chicken wings and understanding the competitive landscape are crucial for determining the potential success of the franchise.
  6. Supply Chain and Ingredient Sourcing
    • Importance: 4
    • Efficient supply chain management and reliable sourcing of high-quality ingredients are vital to ensure consistent product quality and service.
  7. Marketing and Promotional Support
    • Importance: 3
    • The franchisor’s support in marketing and promotions, including local advertising and brand campaigns, can greatly impact the franchise’s visibility and customer appeal.
  8. Location and Site Selection
    • Importance: 4
    • The location strategy and assistance in site selection by the franchisor can significantly affect foot traffic and overall sales.
  9. Profitability and Return on Investment
    • Importance: 5
    • The potential for profitability and the expected return on investment, considering factors like average sales, profit margins, and market trends, are key to financial success.
  10. Compliance and Health Standards
    • Importance: 5
    • Adherence to health and safety standards, food handling regulations, and compliance with local laws are essential for the legal and successful operation of the franchise.

By applying these criteria, we aim to guide potential franchisees towards chicken wing franchise opportunities that not only offer a viable business model but also align with market trends, customer preferences, and operational best practices.

Chicken Wing Franchises to Consider

If you’re interested in running your own chicken wing restaurant, take a look at this list of 10 of the best chicken wing franchises operating in the United States today.

1. The Wing Basket

chicken wing franchises - the wing basket

The award-winning Wing Basket franchise is currently focused in Nashville but has the potential to expand beyond Tennessee. The franchise keeps its menu simple by featuring just chicken wings and tenders along with an assortment of sides.  The franchise offers support and training, and has a total estimated start-up cost of between $150,000 and $250,000, which includes the necessary liquid capital.

2. Atomic Wings

Starting out in New York, the Atomic Wings franchise has kept expanding along the East Coast and even into Mexico with its proprietary sauces and entrees. In addition to the quality menu, the company offers training, support, and strong brand recognition. Franchise requirements include a $1 million net worth, $500,000 capital available to invest, and a minimum 3-unit commitment.

3. Wing Zone

With 108 units (and counting) around the United States, Wing Zone is fast becoming one of the most popular chicken wing franchises in the country. The franchise also undertook a design overhaul of its restaurants in 2017, as well as simplifying the menu which is famous for its jumbo-sized wings. A downloadable Wing Zone franchise kit is available from the company’s website.

4. Bonchon

Korean chicken wing specialist Bonchon has recently opened up another unit in Chicago and has another one coming soon to New York to add to their many other units around the United States and Southeast Asia. With secret sauces and unique frying methods, Bonchon is a very attractive franchise opportunity for price-conscious entrepreneurs with a start-up fee of $40,000 and an initial investment of between $400,000 and $700,000, dependent on a variety of factors such as restaurant size and location.

5. Church’s Chicken

Chicken Wing Franchise-Church's Chicken

With over 1,650 locations across 29 states, Church’s Chicken is one of the most popular fried chicken franchises. They feature a diverse menu that incorporates more than just boneless chicken wings, but they are particularly renowned for their special offer of bone-in wings which feature a tie-in with the Texas Pete Sauce brand. A Franchise Opportunity Guide can be downloaded from the Church’s Chicken website.

6. Wingstop

With over 12 years of same-store sales growth and over 900 locations worldwide, wing-only specialists Wingstop is another option for a food entrepreneur considering entering the chicken wing business thanks to its strong brand recognition and franchisee support. To open a Wingstop location, a minimum net worth of $1.2 million is required, with half of that needing to be liquid.

7. Buffalo Wild Wings

The menu of Buffalo Wild Wings features a wide selection of flavored and sauced wings to choose from, and the brand has proven to be very popular around the world. Current franchise opportunities within the United States are limited to specific, high-quality locations, but the situation is in flux, and usually, a minimum of $1 million in liquid assets would be required per restaurant.

8. Wings Over

chicken wing franchises - wings over

The people behind the Wings Over franchise make no apologies for their desire to eat chicken wings like a ‘caveman pulling the meat off of the bone.’ They offer sweet or spicy options for their food and franchising opportunities for entrepreneurs who are a good fit for their brand. Interested entrepreneurs should contact Wings Over via their website to arrange a meeting.

9. Brewster’s Chicken

This is another profitable chicken franchise that features a wider menu than just wings, but the brand is particularly famous for offering fifteen different chicken wing options, including unique flavorings such as Bourbon Molasses, Honey Mustard and Mango Habanero. Franchise opportunities require a minimum of $75,000 in cash or liquid assets plus a minimum net worth of $300,000. Franchise applications can be made via the Brewster’s Chicken website.

10. Wings to Go

chicken wing franchises - wings to go

Starting out in 1985 and franchising just four years later, Wings to Go is one of the longest-running chicken wing franchises in the world. The company originally specialized in five different wing sauces with varying degrees of hotness but has since added the super hot Homicide sauce option, which promises to make even the bravest hot wing eater cry. Contact Wings to Go via the company website for more franchise information.

Considering Owning a Chicken Wing Franchise?

chicken wing franchise - grilled wings

For those intrigued by the prospect of franchising, below is a step-by-step breakdown that most chicken wing franchises commonly employ to streamline the process:

  1. Online Form Submission: The journey begins with a straightforward online form. Prospective franchisees need to provide preliminary information, which gives the franchisor an initial understanding of your interest and qualifications.
  2. Introductory Call: Once the form is reviewed, you will be scheduled for an introductory call. This is an opportunity for both sides to gauge fit and for you to ask any preliminary questions about the franchising process.
  3. Franchise Disclosure Agreement (FDD) Review: You will be provided with the Franchise Disclosure Agreement, a crucial document outlining the responsibilities and expectations of both parties. It’s essential to thoroughly review this and then formally acknowledge its receipt.
  4. Application & Financial Evaluation: Following the FDD review, you’ll be required to complete a more detailed franchise application. This stage also involves providing personal financial details, which the franchisor will assess to ensure you have the necessary capital and financial stability to run the franchise successfully.
  5. Follow-up Discussion: After the evaluation of your application and financials, there will be another discussion. This serves to address any additional queries and to discuss the next steps.
  6. Discovery Day: This is an immersive experience where potential franchisees get to meet the executive team, often at one of their locations. It’s an opportunity to gain a firsthand look at the operations, culture, and values of the company.
  7. Franchise Agreement Signature: Once all the previous steps are completed and both parties are in agreement, the final step is signing the Franchise Agreement. This binding document finalizes the partnership, setting you on the path as a new franchisee.

This table presents a summarized overview of the steps an aspiring franchisee would undertake when acquiring a chicken wing franchise.

Step Process Description
1 Online Form Submission This initial step involves filling out a basic online form where prospective franchisees provide preliminary details, giving the franchisor an insight into the applicant’s interest and qualifications.
2 Introductory Call After reviewing the form, candidates are scheduled for an introductory call. This serves as a mutual assessment phase and offers a platform for any initial questions about the franchising process.
3 Franchise Disclosure Agreement (FDD) Review In this step, aspirants are provided with the Franchise Disclosure Agreement. This key document delineates the mutual obligations and expectations. It’s essential to go through it thoroughly and acknowledge its receipt.
4 Application & Financial Evaluation Following the FDD review, applicants need to complete a detailed franchise application. This also entails sharing personal financial details to allow the franchisor to evaluate the candidate’s fiscal suitability and stability.
5 Follow-up Discussion This involves another conversation after the assessment of the application and finances, aiming to address any lingering queries and outline the next steps in the process.
6 Discovery Day An immersive event where potential franchisees get a firsthand experience of the brand’s operations. It typically includes meetings with key team members and insights into the brand’s culture and values.
7 Franchise Agreement Signature The concluding step, once all the previous stages are complete and both parties are in accord, is to sign the Franchise Agreement. This formalizes the collaboration, setting the stage for the franchisee’s business journey.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Chicken Wing Franchises for Restaurant Entrepreneurs” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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