Wingstop Restaurants Inc. has signed a deal to develop franchised restaurants in Europe, the company said Wednesday.
The Dallas-based chicken wing concept said the development agreement with London-based Lemon Pepper Holdings Ltd. calls for 100 restaurants over 12 years. The first Wingstop is expected to open by year’s end, the company said.
Rita Sharma, founder and CEO of luxury travel company Bestattravel.co.uk, is backing the newly established Lemon Pepper Holdings.
“My family and I are very excited to bring Wingstop to the United Kingdom,” Sharma said in a statement. “Wingstop brings a new and exciting option to an underserved chicken category within the overall U.K. food sector.”
Sharma’s partners include Saul Lewin and Boris Kofman of V2 Leisure and Tom Grogan, co-founder of Lutti London, a privately owned real estate investment group. Wingstop said the Lemon Pepper founders and advisory council have experience in such brands as Shake Shack, Five Guys, Pret a Manger, Cote Brasserie and Jamie Oliver’s Italian.
Larry Kruguer, Wingstop’s president of international, added in a press release: “The European market represents a significant international growth opportunity for Wingstop.”
For the first quarter ended April 1, Wingstop had 1,031 restaurants, with 83 of those abroad in five countries, including Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
The company said Lemon Pepper will adapt Wingstop to the United Kingdom, “including a number of exciting architectural design adaptations that should have positive effects for the rest of Europe.”
Wingstop’s first-quarter net income rose 52.2 percent, to $6.5 million, or 22 cents per share, from $4.3 million, or 15 cents per share, the previous year. Total revenue increased 20.4 percent, to $26.6 million, from $22.1 million the previous year.
Domestic same-store sales declined 1.1 percent.
Of Wingstop’s 948 domestic restaurants, 927 are franchised and 21 are company-owned.