Fast-growing craft casual brand benefits from off-premise’s demand and launches keto and gluten-free menu in past year, prepares for growth in 2021
Because Wingers’ highly addictive wings and sticky fingers are easily transportable, the fast-growing craft casual brand began utilizing third-party delivery platforms well before they became a necessity. When the pandemic forced dining rooms to close, Wingers was already a popular option for guests when ordering off-premise, so the brand saw an increase of 56% in third-party delivery sales at company locations compared to the year prior. Currently, takeout, curbside pickup and delivery account for 40% of Wingers’ sales.
“Wingers has a lot of great things going for it,” said Wingers Chief Operating Officer Brandon Howard. “We are not a wing-only operation; we have the ability to evolve with the pandemic, as well as with financial setbacks in the marketplace. You never know when crazy things are going to happen, so you have to do what you can to prepare. Since I came on board three years ago, we started investing very heavily into technology, online training programs and third-party delivery. We got away from the old model of chasing down catering and trying to be everything to everybody, and it’s certainly proven to be the right decision. With tactical business strategies established, we’ve remained top-of-mind for guests.”
During the onset of the pandemic, Wingers’ leadership team acted fast, quickly putting a plan in place to streamline takeout and delivery strategies. Due to this immediate response, overall sales and traffic have remained flat to positive compared to the year prior in Wingers stores. Additionally, since the pandemic, Wingers has not laid off any of its management or implemented a reduction in pay.
In 2020, menu innovation remained key to Wingers as the brand launched a keto and gluten-free menu. Before, guests had to know where to look for keto and gluten-free items on Wingers’ menu. Now, the new exclusive menu makes the selection process seamless. The day that Winger’s keto and gluten-free menu launched on Instagram and Facebook, the brand saw a combined 1,200 likes in three hours.
On the development side, new Wingers stores in Bountiful, Utah as well as in Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming are in the pipeline. The brand’s goal for 2021 is to sign three franchisees to spur growth in new markets.
“There are three key components to thriving during a pandemic – the right menu, convenient access to food and great service,” said Wingers Founder and President Eric Slaymaker. “Wingers has always offered exceptional service in our restaurants, but in the last few months, as we’ve had so many takeout and delivery orders, we’ve learned that offering an insanely delicious menu and making the ordering process simple for our guests is key in having them come back. We take pride in hand-crafted food that tops any of our competitors. Now that our recipe for success is clear, I feel confident that 2021 will be a huge year for Wingers.”
Combining award-winning handmade wings, sticky fingers, burgers, salads, craft beers and great service, Wingers new Restaurant & Alehouse has perfected the art of giving guests the comfort of a classic diner with the liveliness of a local bar. Renowned for being a fun and energetic gathering place for friends and family, Wingers is an outstanding local spot to socialize, watch a sports game, eat some amazing American food and drink a cold beer. For a complete menu, locations and more information, visit wingerbros.com.
About Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse
Founded in 1993, Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse is a fast-growing craft casual brand focused on delivering chef-driven, handcrafted food, including its award-winning wings and signature “sticky” fingers, burgers, salads, tacos, craft beers and drinks, all served in a lively atmosphere. Recently named No. 22 on MSN.com’s “America’s Best Buffalo Wings” list, Wingers is well-known for its World Famous Original Amazing Sauce. The brand has 23 company and franchise locations in the Intermountain West with more in the pipeline to open in the Midwest. For more information, visit wingerbros.com or follow Wingers on Facebook or Instagram. To learn about Wingers’ franchising, visit wingersfranchising.com.