Wild Wing Cafe Rocks With Restaurant Franchise Investors

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mix of Award-Winning Eats and Entertainment Create Captivating Venue; Brand's Newly Announced Growth Strategy Targets Seasoned Restaurateurs

Wild Wing Cafe is ready "rock out" with restaurant franchise investors.

Today, the brand that lives by the motto, "Where Great Food Rocks," announced an aggressive franchising strategy. Details on the planned growth come after 18 months of strategic preparation for this moment.

"The time is now for Wild Wing Cafe. We are in prime position to expand with seasoned restaurant owner/operator groups who want to incorporate a winning concept into their portfolios," said Bill Prather, who served as CEO of Hardee's and in executive roles with Burger King prior to being named CEO at Wild Wing Cafe last year. "Wild Wing Cafe already has tremendous loyalty from its raving fans. Now, the pieces are in place to bring the one and only Wild Wing Cafe experience to even more neighborhoods." Best known for blending its award-winning menu with extraordinary music entertainment in the liveliest neighborhood hangouts throughout the Southeastern United States, Wild Wing Cafe's well-crafted franchise plans include adding nearly 70 new restaurants during the next five years. The company projects reaching 100 units by 2018, with a focus on opening in select U.S. markets adjacent to current southeastern U.S. operations.

The growth strategy has the full support of Axum Capital Partners (Axum) and its leadership team, which, among others, includes former NFL-star Mushin Muhammad and Edna Morris, a 30-year restaurant industry veteran who held top posts at Red Lobster and Quincy's Family Steakhouse. Axum acquired Wild Wing Cafe in early-2012, quickly naming Prather CEO and assembling the talented group that now surrounds him at the brand's home office.

"Wild Wing Cafe hits on the points that mean most to restaurateurs," added David Leonardo, chief development officer for Wild Wing Cafe and a former development executive at Wendy's, Arby's and Burger King. "Our food and drinks surpass others in our segment, we have a proven brand with more than 20 years of building a phenomenal fan base, the environment is unlike any other, and, most importantly, the performance of our restaurants has been exceptional." These unique differentiators are combined with attractive operational highlights, including consistent customer flow throughout the day, beginning with lunch, continuing through dinner and late into the evening, when the bar and music scene kick into high gear. Wild Wing Cafe's average unit volume at franchise restaurants is $2.8 million, with a $2 million ground-up build out (conversion of an existing structure is $1.3 million and conversion of a restaurant is $500,000 to $1 million), creating a solid sales-to-investment ratio that can compete with the segment's largest brands.

"The brand began from humble beginnings and remained low key for a long time. We cherish our history, and that can be seen in our laid-back environment and on our menu -- the vast majority of which comes from our founder's kitchen. But, there's no denying that Wild Wing Cafe has earned the respect and attention of serious players in the restaurant industry who want be part building something special with us. The brand's performance speaks for itself," added Prather. "We"´┐Żll grow our unit count by nearly 15 percent in 2013, and 2014 stands to be an even larger growth phase." Five new units are slated to open in the second half of 2013 in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Additionally, Wild Wing Cafe is nearly finished completing a new restaurant prototype, which will serve as the model for all future locations.

"As we grow and evolve, the vibe and food quality will never change," said Leonardo. "The feeling you get when you walk through the door of a Wild Wing Cafe is unmistakable and we will not let that get away from us." Fresh, made-from-scratch wings and homemade sauces are at the heart of Wild Wing Cafe's menu. However, it's the menu's variety, which includes specialties such as half-pound Angus Steakhouse Burgers, salads and Wild Wraps, that keeps customers coming back. And, the Wild Wing Cafe music scene bolsters the brand's connection to the communities it serves with events such as "Last Band Standing," "WingStock" and "The Wild Wing Voice Off," among others.

About Wild Wing Cafe Founded in 1990 in Hilton Head, S.C., Wild Wing Cafe began as a single restaurant that featured the homemade wild wing recipes of its two founders Cecil and Dianne Crowley. As the good times and great food grew in popularity within the Hilton Head community, the Crowleys expanded the brand, eventually offering franchise opportunities. In 2012, Axum Capital Partners, purchased the then 32-unit chain (34 currently), and has implemented an enhanced growth strategy for select U.S. markets.

Today, Wild Wing Cafe operates in seven southeastern states and is an unquestioned leader within its category in food quality, drinks (an extensive beer list) and its electrifying ambiance. Music is at the core of the brand's personality, with nightly performances and regular band competitions.

To learn more about Wild Wing Cafe, visit wildwingcafe.com. For information on available franchise opportunities, visit franchise.wildwingcafe.com, call (843) 730-5702 or email David Leonardo at [email protected].

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Wings Over America
205 Regency Executive Park Drive
Suite 204
Charlotte, NC

Phone: (843) 215-7601
Toll Free: (866) 527-WING (9464)
Fax: (843) 216-7602

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