East Coast Wings + Grill Develops Fast Casual Model for New Market Franchise Expansion



East Coast Wings + Grill Develops Fast Casual Model for New Market Franchise Expansion

Full-Service, Family-Dining Restaurant Proves Out Strong Economics with Smaller Footprint

East Coast Wings + Grill Develops Fast Casual Model for New Market Franchise ExpansionAfter demonstrating strong unit economics with less square footage in multiple locations, full-service, family-dining franchise East Coast Wings + Grill is further evolving with the development of a fast casual model that will be offered to franchisees in new markets around the country.

The re-engineered model is designed with reduced overhead costs and maximum unit output in mind, while maintaining the brand’s high food quality standards. The last reengineered model – dubbed ‘ECW 2.0’ – achieved a reduction of approximately 30 percent in development cost and 27 percent in square footage, while sustaining unit-level sales of the original, larger store layouts. Existing locations that converted to the ‘2.0’ full-service model posted an average increase of 12.5 percent in gross sales.

After seeing the success of the 2.0 model, CEO Sam Ballas personally invested in relocating the brand’s Clemmons, NC restaurant in September of 2020 to a smaller box pilot location with only 14 tables and four patio seating areas. The 2,290 square foot restaurant reduced development costs of roughly $100,000, with less staff requirements, and is on pace to do $1.65M AUV and 16.5 percent EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes).

“With a 13-month proofing period of the Clemmons’ Unit Level Economics, we were able to sustain the casual dining feel but with a fast-casual box size and some hybrid operations,” Ballas said. “Expanding our data, we’re currently testing a refined Clemmons model in a total fast casual operations model at our existing campus location serving the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and its immediate market under new leadership. Looking ahead to expansion outside of our current Southeastern markets, we have the data to further execute a condensed ECW+G model with a limited fan favorite menu approach, designed to reduce development and labor cost while sustaining our core philosophy of driving unit level economics.”

This incubator stage has even caught the attention of a 23-year fast-casual veteran that served as a multi-unit supervisor for a large Taco Bell multi-unit operator throughout the Triad area and the Southeast, who took over the Tate Street Greensboro campus location. Franchisee Hamid Taheri, saw that Ballas’ direction aligned with where the industry is headed, reduction to maximize efficiency.

As the second testing site, the UNCG campus location converted into a fast-casual restaurant with a to-go counter, reduced menu board and carry out section. This rejuvenated fast casual concept with a proven unit-level profitability model and 26-year infrastructure behind it, has the growth potential to generate the same if not greater economics with the condensed full-service casual dining model.

“This restructured model addresses long-haul real estate concerns, streamlines kitchen equipment cost, runs with less labor and has fast casual benefits, while operating at a reduced full-service level,” said Ballas. “When we go to market in 2022, qualified franchise partners will have two popular opportunities, larger volume FSR and proofed fast casual units that can be scattered throughout a region, averaging around 2,300 to 3,000 square feet.”

East Coast Wings + Grill is a full-service, family-dining franchise that spotlights buffalo wings. The thoughtfully-crafted menu also offers a variety of other options to satisfy every family member’s taste buds. With more than 60-nationwide locations currently operating or in various stages of development, the franchise recently secured a top spot on Restaurant Business Magazine’s “Future 50” list of fastest-growing, U.S. mid-sized restaurant chains for the second-consecutive year. Entrepreneur magazine also named East Coast Wings + Grill one of the nation’s top franchise investments, and Franchise Times magazine ranked the company No. 383 on its “Top 200+” list of top revenue-producing U.S. franchises. The concept has also been recognized by The Franchise Grade and Franchise Business Review for transparency during the franchise sales process, franchisee support and overall franchisee satisfaction. For more information about East Coast Wings + Grill or its franchise opportunities, visit www.eastcoastwings.com or www.eastcoastwingsfranchise.com.