Many investors are on the hunt to invest in a business with a proven track record of success. With so many options available, choosing the right franchise can be overwhelming. However, a few franchises stand out from the crowd, due to their excellent reputation, unique concept and strong support system for franchisees. One of these franchises is Wings and Rings, led by Nader Masadeh, the brand’s President and CEO (and co-owner).
With its global reach, emphasis on superior service and commitment to providing a fun and welcoming atmosphere, Wings and Rings is one of the top franchises to invest in for 2023.
Connecting People Over Sports
Wings and Rings is a global restaurant chain established in 1984 with a simple vision: to bring people together over sports. With 87 locations, in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and the Middle East, , the restaurants offer a unique club-level sports experience. Customers can enjoy delicious food and drinks and watch their favorite sports games in a welcoming and fun environment. The Company delivers a Club-Level Sports Restaurant and Bar experience with My Place Service, Club-Level Ambiance and Craveworthy Wings and Rings, and so much more on the diverse menu of offerings.
The Company values teamwork, positively impacting others, and having fun. The restaurant aims to set itself apart with this approach to great food and family-style guest service. This also applies to team members and the community.
Overcoming Initial Challenges
Wings and Rings, previously known as Buffalo Wings and Rings, started as a small restaurant chain with a few locations in Greater Cincinnati. One of the restaurant’s primary challenges was building brand awareness as an emerging brand. However, as word got out, the restaurant chain began to grow around the Midwest and South, and it continues to expand today throughout the U.S., Mexico, Europe and the Middle East. Another challenge that the Company faced was confusion with another large buffalo wing franchise. This confusion led to removing the word “Buffalo” from its name. Despite this challenge, the restaurant chain continues to thrive..
Wings and Rings focused on building brand awareness through advertising and word-of-mouth marketing to overcome these initial challenges. The restaurant chain also leveraged social media platforms to connect with customers and promote its unique brand experience.
The Keys to Success and Franchising
Wings and Rings owes its long-standing success to its focus on people and being a great place for human connections. The restaurant believes in the Spirit of Continuous Improvement, meaning never settling and continuously striving to evolve and improve its business.
The Company has succeeded by taking a paradigm-shifting approach in an underwhelming food segment – sports bars and restaurants – by focusing on great food, warm design elements, fun, and personalized service. The restaurant has also kept up with technology and innovation, using A.I. and robotics in its kitchen, accepting Bitcoin for franchise fees, creating a new website, App and point-of-sale system, and installing valet pick-up lanes or dedicated areas inside their restaurants.
Service and evolution are key to Wings and Rings’ success, and the restaurant began franchising in 2005 when Nader acquired the restaurant. With a loyal fan base, delicious food, and a fun business model, it was only natural for the restaurant to expand through franchising. However, it is important to adapt to changing wants and needs of the Company guests.
Wings and Rings Services.
Wings and Rings focuses on a chef-driven menu with various crave-worthy items, including chicken wings, onion rings, chicken tenders, burgers, salads and more, including a wide range of sauces. The restaurant also offers its personalized “My Place Service,” making customers feel welcomed and at home in their restaurants. They strive to be friendly, accurate, fast and consistent, while making you feel at home.
Wings and Rings also stays informed via industry organizations like the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association to stay updated with the evolving franchising and restaurant sectors. The restaurant’s leadership team has extensive experience with multiple, leading franchise brands, which also provides a breadth of understanding and a passion for Excellence.
Innovating with Technology
Wings and Rings recently introduced several technological advancements to enhance its customer experience. The restaurant has redesigned its model with on- and off-premise occasions in mind, making it easier for customers to get their favorite food items. It has also developed a new App, POS, and website functionality to streamline ordering. Customers can place their orders using the app and they have an optional order-and-pay-at-the-table feature. This has significantly reduced wait times and improved overall efficiency.
But that’s not all. The Company is also testing robotics and A.I to further enhance its operations. Automating certain tasks can increase efficiency and consistency. This innovation is just the beginning, as they have more exciting plans in the pipeline. In addition to all this, Wings and Rings has also started accepting Bitcoin for franchise fees. This shows that the restaurant is keeping up with the times and embracing the growing cryptocurrency trend.
Collaborating for Growth
Wings and Rings takes a collaborative approach to decision-making when improving its products and services. It works closely with its franchisees, seeking feedback and ideas to help guide their strategic decisions. Wings and Rings holds weekly calls with all franchisees, quarterly webcasts, and an annual convention to facilitate this collaboration. It also has a Franchise Advisory Council, which provides a forum for franchisees to share their thoughts and opinions.
This feedback is critical in helping the Company’ operations, development, marketing, R&D, and leadership teams make informed decisions. The restaurant’s seasoned leadership team is dedicated to considering matters from the franchisee and franchisor perspectives and making strategic decisions based on that insight. Rather than trying to do everything, Wings and Rings focuses on doing fewer things with more depth and quality. This approach allows it to deliver excellent products and services to its customers while supporting its franchisees’ growth and success.
Take on Franchise Leadership
Nader oversees the leadership team responsible for the various business areas, including Operations, Development, Finance, Marketing, I.T. and HR. Each leadership team member is accountable for their department, as well as the commitment to strategically rise above each department and to be “on” the business, not “in” the business. This requires objectivity and the ability to think like both a Board Member and a Department Head, balancing the needs of the business as a whole with the needs of each department.
According to Nader, franchise leadership has remained consistent in its core aspects. However, the approach to executing and measuring these aspects has evolved significantly. Effective communication, dedication to franchise relationships, solid business and franchise-support models, focus, accountability and continuous improvement have always been crucial elements of franchise leadership. But with the advancements in technology and changes in communication norms, there is now a need for speed in effective communication.
Additionally, the evolution required to stay competitive in any business segment is a key consideration. Franchise leadership now places an equal focus on strategy and execution to ensure the franchise’s continued growth and success.
Accomplished Executives at Wings and Rings
Wings and Rings has accomplished executives with diverse backgrounds. Nader was born in Jordan and came to the United States at a young age. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and later obtained his MBA in International Business and Negotiations from Xavier University.
He worked in the restaurant industry, starting as a dishwasher, then later worked at a Buffalo Wings and Rings, owned by his father, before he later acquired the brand. With his experience and expertise in the restaurant industry, as well as his experience at P&G and in engineering, Nader acquired the company and worked in a number of roles prior to becoming CEO, a position he has held for many years.
Thomas Flaherty, the Chief Development Officer of Wings and Rings, came from very little and started his career as a delivery driver at Papa John’s, when there were only five locations. Over almost 15 years at the company, Thomas worked his way up to VP of Global Business Development, responsible for expanding Papa John’s to dozens of international markets. With his dedication and hard work, Thomas helped Papa John’s become one of the leading pizza chains in the world.
After his successful stint at Papa John’s, he later joined Procter & Gamble’s Agile Pursuits Franchising, Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio. He helped franchise or license Tide Cleaners and Mr. Clean Car Wash brands at this organization and also led that organization as President & CEO, prior to joining the Company three years ago.
Despite their different backgrounds, Nader and Thomas share a passion for positively impacting others, excellence and continuous improvement. And this is only a sample of the well-rounded leadership team at Wings and Rings.
Franchisee Qualification Process
Wings and Rings has a rigorous 30-point Franchise Qualification Process that ensures prospective franchisees meet the criteria for a potentially successful partnership. The process is designed to assess the candidate’s financial, business and other qualifications; however, importantly, it is also to assess if there is a good relationship fit in terms of culture and values. This is very important for franchisees, not just the franchisor.
Financially, the minimum requirements include a net worth of at least $1.5 million, $500,000 in liquid capital, and a good credit score. The brand also seeks franchisees passionate about its business model, relevant business experience (franchising experience is a plus), a collaborative approach to business and a commitment to continuous learning.
Through this thorough process, The Company strives to build strong relationships with franchisees who share its values and vision for success. The result is a network of franchise partners who are passionate about the brand and committed to striving for great things.
Supporting Franchisees Through Crisis
Wings and Rings takes great pride in supporting its franchisees, particularly during challenging times, like the COVID-19 pandemic or economic recessions. The restaurant believes collaboration and open communication are the key to overcoming these crises. To help franchisees navigate the pandemic, Wings and Rings developed a three-pronged strategy that focused on how to survive the challenge, how to rebound as quickly as possible, and how to grow sales and stores coming out of the situation. This approach enabled franchisees to quickly pivot and adapt their business models to the changing landscape.
Communication is also a vital component of Wings and Rings’ support strategy. The Company holds weekly calls, quarterly webcasts, and annual conventions to inform franchisees about the restaurant’s direction and strategy. The restaurant also has a Franchise Advisory Council representing the most important matters to franchisees. In addition to communication, Wings and Rings provides world-class training and support in all business areas. This includes franchising, real estate, construction, operations, purchasing, marketing, I.T. and more. It also conducts regular business reviews with franchisees to measure results and benchmark them against system best practices.
Employee Development and Well-Being
At Wings and Rings, employee development and well-being are top priorities. The restaurant has a Career & Professional Development Plan for every corporate team member and offers benefits, including flexible remote work options, to help support its employees’ growth and success. The restaurant’s Core Values – Positively Impact Others, Encourage Fun and Stand Together as Family – guide its approach to employee care and organizational culture.
Wings and Rings takes pride in its commitment to employee development and well-being. It recognizes that life and work can be challenging to balance, so it strives to provide competitive salaries, affordable medical benefits and opportunities for growth and development, as well as remote-work opportunities. By focusing on its Core Values, the restaurant fosters a supportive and flexible work environment that helps employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Wings and Rings has built a unique team that is passionate, dedicated and committed to delivering excellent work and customer service by cultivating a workplace culture that prioritizes employee development and well-being. The restaurant’s Core Values help it create a positive work environment that encourages employees to support each other and work together as a family, which sets them apart from other companies in the food service industry. They also regularly have “volunteer days” with the Company team members and multiple organizations. They also have a non-profit organization, called Buffalove, which focuses on providing food for children in need.
An Optimistic Outlook
Wings and Rings is optimistic about the future of the franchise industry, as it has remained healthy and steady in recent years. According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), the industry is expected to continue growing over the next five years, and beyond. Entrepreneurs and franchisees are resilient and find ways to compete and succeed despite potential challenges like joint-employer legislation, macroeconomic pressures and geopolitical uncertainties.
The Company is committed to supporting aspiring entrepreneurs and franchisees and will continue to growing and evolve. They believe the franchise industry will remain an excellent choice for those looking to start a business. In franchising, you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself…
Advice for Aspiring Franchise Entrepreneurs
Nader has some words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in the franchise sector. His first piece of advice is simple – do it! However, he emphasizes the importance of doing homework and due diligence before making decisions. Being prepared, educated, and bold are key ingredients for success.
In addition to being prepared, Nader stresses the importance of working hard and treating people well. Being a good human being, striving to achieve great things and serving others are all essential ingredients to success, in the franchise sector, in business and in life. Nader also encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to help others achieve their goals and dreams. If you are fortunate enough to be successful, lend a hand to the next person in line.
“Wings and Rings is a global restaurant chain established in 1984 with a simple vision: to bring people together over sports.”