Wing’n It has been a real Newfoundland success story. Since I opened my two restaurants, other franchisees have opened locations in Clarenville, Grand Falls-Windsor, Bay Roberts and, funnily enough, Corner Brook. They’re all doing quite well.
Our busiest month is August and our slowest months are January and February, due to weather and when people are apt to eat out. We get a huge boost from tourism in the summer. My sister is in the hospitality industry, working with a travel company. She’s a huge fan of Wing’n It and the first person to promote it to visitors.
I’m now looking to sell my Gander restaurant. If I were only to run a few restaurants, the three-hour drive wouldn’t bother me, but over the next five to six years, I’m planning to open three new franchises closer to St. John’s, i.e. within the Avalon Peninsula, with a business partner from the original corporate location. Between selling Gander and opening those restaurants, that will bring me up to my planned four franchises.
While Gander has made me good at management from a distance, it’s not the same as being there. That’s the sacrifice you have to make; the franchise won’t run exactly as you want.
My short-term goal will be to make the next restaurant profitable within the first two months of operation. That’s hard, because you have more expenses at the start, including staffing costs when you’re hiring.
Every restaurant and every deal is unique, so it’s difficult to say exactly when each new one will open. In Corner Brook, for example, there was a landlord that really wanted Wing’n It to come into his renovated building, so that franchisee had an easier time opening quickly. My next franchise is like that, too, as we found a commercial-district ‘power centre’ that used to be like a warehouse but will soon have a Canadian Tire store and a Cineplex movie theatre.
It’s not just about business success. I like the industry, the atmosphere and the staff. They’re all capable, professional people and it’s an extremely collaborative environment.
I’ve also been hearing from people who want to open Wing’n It franchises outside Newfoundland. The franchisor is already offering opportunities in Charlottetown, Halifax, Fredericton and Moncton, N.B. I’ve spoken with every prospective franchisee so far and I’m the biggest cheerleader for the brand!
Date of first franchise: 2011
Franchised/corporate units: 7
Investment range: $375,000 – $500,000
Initial franchise fee: $35,000
Mark Hoskins is a Wing’n It franchisee with locations in Gander and St. John’s, N.L. For more information, contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.