Full-service restaurant AllStar Wings and Ribs (ASWR) is known for its wings, which are available in approximately 200 flavours.
The company also offers ribs, Angus beef steaks, burgers, salads and a variety of sandwiches, which can be enjoyed in its sports-themed environment. The franchise aims to be the go-to place for dining and has received numerous awards over the years.
Canadian Business Franchise recently spoke with ASWR multi-unit franchisee Seerat Singh to learn more about the franchise, her family’s entrepreneurial journey, and future plans for the business.
Canadian Business Franchise (CBF): Did you always envision yourself as an entrepreneur? (If not, what were your career aspirations?)
Seerat Singh (SS): Growing up, our family was self-employed, which provided us with an entrepreneurial mindset. That said, we started in the furniture business and ran several successful locations in Toronto and London, Ont. After that, we were involved in the manufacturing of Canadian-made sofas, and distributed items to big-box stores countrywide. Ultimately, this led us to become owners of two franchised ASWR locations in Markham and Scarborough, Ont.
CBF: Why did you choose franchising?
SS: Being huge sports fans growing up, one of our dreams was to open an athletics bar, but we did not know where to start. We realized to achieve this goal, we would need guidance from a company that is structured, has a successful formula, and provides training and support. Based on our research, we realized these initiatives could only be accomplished through franchising.
CBF: How did you discover this franchising opportunity? (What drew you to this business?)
SS: Growing up in Markham, Ont., we frequented ASWR on a weekly basis, the wings were the best in Toronto, and the atmosphere was always great. So, when we started thinking of opening a sports-themed family restaurant, my brother-in-law, Sunny, mentioned ASWR. I called the corporate office and spoke to the president and CEO Tom Anastopoulos, which led to a meeting the following week. After this, my family went through the franchising process.
CBF: When did you buy your franchise? (Describe the process e.g. securing financing, selecting a location, legalities and documentation, etc.)
SS: Before signing our franchise agreement, ASWR discussed the disclosure agreement and then we began our due diligence, which involved consulting a franchise lawyer, in addition to speaking to current owners about their experience with the company. After doing so, we signed our first franchise agreement in December 2012. Next, we compiled a business plan, which helped us determine a location, the size of the space, and what we would need to operate the restaurant. This included research on the demographics of different areas based on current businesses, homes, condos, apartments, and income brackets. We found an area we liked; however, it was already occupied, so we started searching for alternative locations. In March 2013, an opportunity presented itself when we were informed the restaurant in the space we previously wanted had closed. We then negotiated a lease with the landlord and construction for the space began shortly after that. At this time, we also secured our small business financing loan from the Royal Bank of Canada. After a few years of managing our first restaurant, we purchased our second location in December 2016.
CBF: Describe a typical day of running your franchise.
SS: We open our units at 11:30 a.m. and we close between 1 and 2 a.m. daily. Each shift consists of different duties such as counting and ordering inventory, preparing the schedule for front of house and back of house employees, readying the restaurants’ set-up for opening, staying informed on new promotions and menu items, quality assurance of food, and keeping customers happy.
CBF: Do you feel your educational background helps in your day-to-day tasks and when making business decisions?
SS: Owning and operating a business plays a huge role in our company affairs and work. The lessons we learned from our parents are embedded in our minds, and when we were given the opportunity to apply what we learned from them, hands-on experience was extremely beneficial.
CBF: What have been the highlights and challenges of running your franchise?
SS: Some difficulties we face include equipment failure, employees calling in sick, and having to be ready to do any job in the restaurant at any given moment. There are many times which are unforgettable—one of which was when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship last year. The energy in our restaurant when the final buzzer went off was unforgettable. As a franchisee, it is great to see customers regularly visit our location, in addition to greeting new faces in hopes they will one day become a guest.
CBF: How do you make your franchise stand out amongst others in the market?
SS: We are known for our high-quality menu offerings such as chicken wings, Greek fries, ribs, and burgers. The atmosphere at every location is inviting and fun. The franchise has multiple TVs for avid sports fanatics to watch important events. The training our staff receives is apparent in the friendly and great service our customers enjoy.
CBF: How has the business evolved since you started?
SS: Our location has established a presence in a city which previously had no knowledge of ASWR. It is now a go-to place for meals and large sports gatherings. We have also established a client base who recommends our restaurants to family and friends.
CBF: What are your future plans?
SS: We look forward to growing with the company and are actively looking for our third franchise. The training our staff receives is apparent in the friendly and great service our customers enjoy.