For the previous 21 years, Atlanta-based Wing Zone, a restaurant franchise that offers flavor experiences for takeout and limited dine-in, relied on great wings to set itself apart from its competitors. With more than 10 national titles at the National Buffalo Wing Festival under its belt, no one could argue that anyone did it better than Wing Zone. Wing Zone, however, challenged itself to stand out among the sea of competitors not based on just food alone, but based on its unique flavor profiles. The new brand identity emerged, called Flavorholics Unite.
“Finding our brand identity was a huge breakthrough for us,” said Matt Friedman, CEO and founder of the growing franchise. “When we created Wing Zone, we created it to fill a very specific need of the guest. After years or trial, error and great successes, we listened very carefully to our guest and learned exactly what they are about. We embraced their personalities and dining-out habits. By doing so, we were able to create a brand umbrella, mission and vision that will guide our growth moving forward.”
Additionally, Friedman said he listened to his current and prospective franchise owners, to better understand the footprint they desired. Wing Zone’s Flavorholic-inspired upgraded units now come in two models, a traditional in-line, limited seating and takeout restaurant and a 1,200 square foot free standing drive thru footprint. The original design features a box between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet, typically reserved for inline retail “A” locations in Big Box National Retail Centers (Publix, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Target). The total Investment for this model is between $ 200K-300K. The newly upgraded ground-up model is located near National Big Box retailers like Publix or Lowes and costs $450K.
Existing franchisees are also rebranding their inline locations to retrofit the Wing Zone’s new direction. Friedman said each existing restaurant will soon feature the new Flavorholic look and feel, as he plans to have the entire system reimaged in the next 12 months.
“It is important for our existing franchisees and customers to experience our enhanced brand image, flavor and model. Each of our existing locations will go through a cost-effective reimaging design within the next year,” he said.
On the heels of Wing Zone’s Flavor launch, the franchise’s 15 flavor names got an overhaul to position Wing Zone as the flavor masters in the wing category. Its Facebook fans had a hand in helping the company select its newest flavor names, renaming flavors Mild, Medium and Hot to Tame, Buffalo Bliss, and Hot Shot – all now proprietary to Wing Zone.
Wing Zone also redesigned its brand to incorporate flavor into everything it does including the logo, menus, marketing items as well as in-store design focusing on new wall décor and new locations like its new drive-thru footprint. The campaign also encompasses a consumer engagement component that celebrates the individual tastes and eccentricities that define people’s favorite flavors.
“We want a single idea to come to mind when people think of Wing Zone,” Friedman said. “And that’s flavor!”
Wing Zone was founded in 1991 at the University of Florida by Matt Friedman and Adam Scott, who were Flavorholics that loved great wings and amazing flavors. The Wing Zone franchise was born in their fraternity house kitchen and the concept started by delivering to fellow college students. After opening several Wing Zone locations around college markets, Scott and Friedman began offering franchises in 2000. Wing Zone now has nearly 100 locations open across the U.S, Panama, Bahamas, and Saudi Arabia, with Dominican Republic, Malaysia and Dubai all scheduled to open in 2012. For more information about Wing Zone visit http://www.wingzone.com.