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Who Owns Wingstop? How It Started

by / ⠀Blog Entrepreneurship / November 25, 2022
wingstop and how it started

When you think of wings what do you think of? Buffalo Wild Wings? How about Wingstop? Wingstop has been around for many years, but not very many know about its history, let alone who owns Wingstop. So, sit down because it is time for a history lesson. Instead of pulling up some popcorn to read about this, how about some wings?

The Beginning of Wingstop

The chicken fast food chain started twenty-eight years ago in Garland, Texas by one Antonio Swad. In just three years, they had their first franchised store. By 2002, Wingstop stated that they were serving up to 2 million wings.

Another three years fly by and Wingstop decides that they will be open for lunch. Then, (there seems to be a pattern here) another three years fly by and in 2009, they began to serve their first-ever boneless wings.

Their success was proven and the next year, 2010, Wingstop had their first ever international location down in the south of Mexico. As of 2022, Wingstop is located in just nine countries. So, to all the wing lovers out there, if you really crave Wingstop, head to one of these countries:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Spain
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • United Arab Emirates

Growth and Success

Wingstop proved to be a successful chain. They were rolling out their millions of wings every year and internationally on three continents. Research from restaurant statistic groups such as the Nation’s Restaurant News proved the growth and success that Wingstop was experiencing. In the mid-2010s, Wingstop was the number three fasted-growing restaurant in the country according to revenue and growth.

Who Owns Wingstop?

However, this growth was due to the thanks of Gemini Investors who bought the company back in 2003. Seven years later, Gemini Investors would sell it to Roark Capital Group. If that name is familiar to you that is because they have stock in other businesses such as Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, Jimmy John’s, and Dunkin’.

What really got the ball rolling was that in 2015, Wingstop went public with an IPO (initial public offering) of just $19 a share. Because of this, investors got over 600% in just 5 years and made double its profits. It even proved to be more popular than the preferred stocks of Wall Street such as Starbucks and Chipotle.

So, who owns Wingstop now? To this day, Wingstop is still under the Roark Capital Group. As of 2021, Wingstop makes a net income of about $42 million a year. Their total assets, however, are around $250 million.

Wingstop is still a successful business because of its reliance on digital like in the past. In 2019, Wingstop celebrated a quarter of a century by teaming up with the food delivery company DoorDash for national delivery.

Wingstop Today

Wingstop is still one of the most popular chicken restaurants in the country. But, how do they do it? Their restaurant is not limited to just chicken wings. They also serve chicken sandwiches as well as chicken strips. Of course, all of these have a variety of dippings and sauces for the chicken. The chicken sandwich was just introduced in August 2022. These sandwiches come in the same dozen flavors that the wings do.

The flavors are:

  • Plain
  • Garlic Parmesan
  • Hawaii
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Bayou BBQ
  • Mild
  • Original Hot
  • Hickory Smoke BBQ
  • Atomic
  • Mango Habanero
  • Cajun
  • Lousiana Rub

While they are known for these flavors, Wingstop also provided limited-time sauces as well. They even combined the sauces together into a new hybrid. In 2019, the restaurant launched a 25 Days of Flavor event and had a different combo each day. Some of these would return for a limited time a couple of years later.

Wingstop also is a charitable organization by providing relief to youth in areas such as sports and schooling. They also have a foundation funded by employees to help workers that are in financial need.

In June 2021, Wingstop launched a sister store called ThighStop. ThighStop is only online and provides only chicken thighs rather than wings. According to the business, they wanted to cut costs by opening the restaurant.

Conclusion

Wingstop has been growing for nearly 30 years and it seems that it has no end in sight. For entrepreneurs, especially those interested in the culinary industry to take heed of what Wingstop has accomplished. This kind of restaurant is built upon passion and drive that also gives back to not just the customers through their donations, but through their worker foundation as well.

The food industry is just as cutthroat as the others, but Wingstop does its own thing and backs up its worth and growth through action. Now that you know who owns Wingstop, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the original owner, Antonio Swad had been in the restaurant business since he was a teenager washing dishes. That work inspired him to not only create Wingstop but also Pizza Patron, a Latin-inspired pizza restaurant.

Next time you have Wingstop, think about the hard work it took to get there with every delicious bite.

About The Author

Tristan Anderson

Hello! My name is Tristan Anderson and I live in Manhattan, Kansas. I enjoy being in nature and animals. I am also a huge geek who loves Star Wars and has a growing collection.

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