In the foodservice industry, there usually is no chicken-or-the-egg question of what comes first between a successful restaurant concept and the complex operating model that grows it to a national chain and sustains its market share. Typically, the idea for a new restaurant hatches first, and the system that makes it a national brand follows.

But don’t tell that to officials at Dallas-based WingStreet.

The chain of more than 1,000 U.S. locations—specializing in chicken wings for

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