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America’s Obsession with Chicken Wings a Boom for Franchise Partners

The Big Game is a big day for football — and wings.

While many Americans celebrated their team winning the NFL championship game, Wing Zone franchise partners were celebrating their busiest day of the year.

This year, Wing Zone reported a 10% increase in year-over-year sales, making just under $235,000 and selling a whopping 190,000 wings on Sunday, February 7.

“This was a tremendous year for us,” said Brad Williford, Wing Zone franchise business consultant.

It’s no secret American’s love football and love football food even more. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the day of the NFL championship game is the second-largest eating holiday behind Thanksgiving.

This year, Americans were estimated to have eaten nearly 1.42 billion wings during the Big Game, according to the National Chicken Council’s annual wing report. That number is justified considering the USDA estimates that each viewer eats 22.4 wings.

“Wings and football go together,” Wing Zone International director of operations, Maithe Roman, said.

Gearing Up For Game Day

Ahead of the busiest day of the year, our wing franchise prepares for The Big Game as far as four to six weeks in advance.

“It’s a multi-week process to get all of our franchise partners prepared for the big day,” Brad said.

During the weeks leading up to the game, the corporate team reviews the previous year’s sales data to get an idea of how many wings to order.

“We have to talk to distribution early on to see what’s available and assure our franchise partners can access the number of wings they need,” Brad explained.

From there, the teams make slight adjustments to the menu to provide a streamlined order of service.

“We want to simplify the menu, so we don’t push our other products like wraps and burgers,” Brad added.

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At Wing Zone, the day of the Big Game is a required workday.

“We need all hands on deck, so it’s a required workday for all staff members,” Brad explained.

From cooks to delivery drivers, franchise partners must schedule every staff member to work and assign them a designated area to work.

Wing Zone utilizes both third-party and internal delivery drivers to run orders out.

“We calculate exactly how many drivers we need and how many efficient deliveries we can make in an hour,” Maithe added.

Between reviewing data and training franchise partners via Zoom, our corporate team does its due diligence to prepare for the largest sales day of the year.

“Our plan is efficient and simple: we want to provide a lot of quality product in a short time period,” Brad said.

Game Day Kick-Off

Come Sunday, the teams divide and conquer by working in assembly-line fashion, and each employee is assigned a specific job.

In line with our all-hands-on-deck mantra, corporate often visits the stores to support new franchise owners during the busy day.

“If this is the franchise partner’s first experience, members of our corporate team will come down to assist with phone calls, distribution, etc.,” Brad added.

This year, Brad and Maithe went to New York to help a new franchise partner who had just started one month before the Big Game. Thanks to the support offered at the corporate level, their first experience was a success.

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“It was a lot of work, but it was a good time,” Brad said, “They did a phenomenal job, and sales were amazing.”

During the championship game, each restaurant sells about 7,000 total chicken wings.

Phone orders are placed as early as the Monday before the Big Game, and as late as the half-time show on Sunday.

“About 90% of our total orders for the day are placed between 3 and 7 p.m.,” Maithe added.

Compared to 2020, our wing franchise saw an increase in numbers across the board, from total sales to orders placed.

“The Big Game provides us with a new opportunity to attract people who aren’t traditional Wing Zone customers,” Brad said, “Keeping the customer satisfied during such high volume is important to us.”

Invest in America’s Favorite Finger Food

Throughout the pandemic, wings have been a staple of many Americans’ quarantine diet. Wings have become one of the nation’s primary take-out choices simply because of their convenience; they travel well and hold up during delivery conditions.

Despite nationwide restaurant shutdowns and in-door dining restrictions, restaurants serving chicken wings saw a 7% growth in 2020 compared to 2019, according to data from market research firm NPD Group.

Last year, Wing Zone and Capriotti’s collectively made more than $100 million in system-wide sales. This year we have plans to grow, serving high-quality handmade subs and fresh, flavorful wings to more than 150 communities globally.

If you’re searching for a new wing franchise with support at the corporate level, now is the best time to join our team! If you’re interested in taking the next steps, you can give us a call at (702) 553-1329. You can review our current franchise opportunities and contact us online when you’re ready!