10 Chicken Wing Franchises for Restaurant Entrepreneurs

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.

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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

Choosing the top chicken wing franchises involves a savory blend of business acumen and understanding consumer tastes. Here’s how we break down the essential criteria for small business owners and entrepreneurs to consider when selecting the best chicken wing franchise to invest in:

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Brand Recognition (Rating: 5/5)

A well-known brand can attract customers before the doors even open. We rate franchises with strong brand recognition higher as they can have a significant impact on a franchise’s success.

Menu Diversity and Quality (Rating: 5/5)

The variety and quality of the wings, including flavors and cooking methods, are pivotal. We look for franchises that offer a range of high-quality, flavorful options to appeal to a broad customer base.

Cost of Entry and Royalties (Rating: 5/5)

We evaluate the initial investment required, including franchise fees, setup costs, and ongoing royalty fees, to ensure they’re in line with the expected profitability.

Training and Support (Rating: 5/5)

Comprehensive training and support systems are essential for running a franchise successfully. We favor franchises that offer extensive training in operations, marketing, and staff management.

Supply Chain Reliability (Rating: 4/5)

A reliable supply chain for high-quality chicken and other ingredients is crucial. We assess the franchise’s supply chain management and its resilience in the face of market fluctuations.

Marketing and Promotional Support (Rating: 4/5)

Effective marketing drives customers to the store. We look for franchises that provide strong marketing programs and materials to support local franchisee promotional efforts.

Customer Experience and Satisfaction (Rating: 4/5)

A franchise that delivers a great customer experience, from order to consumption, is key. We consider franchises that have systems in place to ensure consistent customer satisfaction.

Innovation and Adaptability (Rating: 3/5)

The ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and market conditions is important. We rate franchises that show an ability to innovate with new flavors, products, and services higher.

Financial Health and Performance (Rating: 5/5)

The overall financial stability of the franchise and the performance history of existing franchise units are critical. We look for franchises with a proven track record of profitability.

By marinating our analysis in these criteria, we aim to recommend chicken wing franchises that not only tantalize the taste buds but also offer robust business models, comprehensive support, and strong growth potential.

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. 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 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. 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, 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 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.

1Online Form SubmissionThis 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.
2Introductory CallAfter 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.
3Franchise Disclosure Agreement (FDD) ReviewIn 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.
4Application & Financial EvaluationFollowing 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.
5Follow-up DiscussionThis 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.
6Discovery DayAn 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.
7Franchise Agreement SignatureThe 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

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

2 Reactions
  1. The picture itself is making me hungry. The trend towards chicken boxes and packages is really popular. And now there is an abundance of flavors.

  2. I had no clue that there were so many different place that sold hot wings, and only wings. It must be a pretty lucrative business if there are so many different options. I winder how hard it would be to open up a franchise of one of these businesses.

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