RICHARDSON Texas Wingstop Restaurants Inc. said it plans to continue its expansion this year with at least 69 new unit openings.
The parent company to more than 400 chicken wing restaurants, the majority of which are franchised, said Monday at the Cowen Consumer Conference in New York that financing is showing signs of life, which will help its franchisees build more units.
The chain also benefits from positive same-store sales, up 3.8 percent in 2009, and growing systemwide sales, which rose 20 percent to $307 million.
The privately held company was more optimistic about its future than many other restaurant companies in New York for the Cowen conference. Most have said that 2010 will be another tough year for restaurants.
"We really don't see a straight competitor," said James Flynn, Wingstop's chief executive. "Buffalo Wild Wings is a sports bar, we're a wing place. Pizza concepts with their wings are more of a competitor than anything."
Wingstop's sales are mostly takeout, at 87 percent of total sales, the company said.
Last week, Wingstop said it had bolstered its management team with several promotions and new hires, including the appointment of Andy Howard as chief marketing officer. He previously was executive vice president of marketing, purchasing, and research and development.
Other management changes:
- Mike Sutter was promoted from senior director of training to vice president of training.
- Bev Rich was promoted from director of franchise development to senior director of franchise development.
- David DeLaGarza was promoted from director of real estate to senior director of real estate.
- Sean Murphy was hired as director of research and development.
- Phillip Maldonado was promoted from senior district manager to director of operations.
- Jennifer Hubbard was promoted from purchasing manager to director of purchasing.
- Patrick Campbell was promoted from associate director of training to director of training.
- Lisa Spooner-Whyte was promoted from field marketing manager to senior field marketing manager.
- Stephanie Petersen was promoted from franchise development coordinator to franchise development manager.
"The dramatic growth of our chain as well as our success at the store level required that we continue building our management team," CEO Flynn said in a statement Friday. "Fortunately we were able to do much of that building from within as well as bring in some highly successful industry leaders."