Dallas-based fast-casual restaurant chain Wingstop has announced that it will enter the Canadian market with plans for about 100 locations over the next decade. The company will launch in the Toronto area prior to expanding Wingstop nationally. The first Canadian location will open in 2022 according to the company.
“Wingstop in Canada marks another key step toward our stated goal of becoming a Top 10 Global Brand and further validates the portability of our brand on a global level,” said Nicolas Boudet, President of International at Wingstop. “We currently see Wingstop addressing a need in the Canadian market with our unique brand positioning and product offering and believe this is a market where we can replicate the success we’ve experienced in the U.S. based on Canadians’ appreciation and craving for bold flavour and high-quality product.”
Wingstop partnered with JPK Capital for the Canadian expansion. JPK Capital is described as a single-family office “motivated by sustainable change, technological innovation, and long-term vision.” The company was founded in 2017 by entrepreneur Joe Poulin and provides long-term capital, strategy, and tech expertise for consumer businesses. JPK Capital’s portfolio includes successful restaurant franchises across several countries.
“JPK Capital could not be happier to partner with Wingstop and lead the charge in bringing one of the most successful restaurant brands and the best wings in the world to Canada,” said Poulin. “As technology entrepreneurs and investors, we have been impressed with Wingstop’s investment in innovation and look forward to capitalizing on its proprietary tech stack to offer a best-in-class digital and in-restaurant experience to Canadians.”
The 100-location agreement starts in Ontario, with a Toronto location anticipated to open in 2022 pending any unexpected or additional Canadian border regulations and closures stemming from COVID-19. The average size of a Wingstop location is 1,750 square feet.
Wingstop says that it targeted Canada for its global expansion because of Canada’s proximity to the brand’s home market in the U.S. as well as similarities in consumer behaviours regarding digital engagement and off-premise dining. In June of last year, Wingstop opened its first ghost kitchen in the U.S. in Dallas.
Wingstop was founded in Dallas in 1994 and has more than 1,500 franchised locations globally. The company’s restaurant employees, known as ‘Wing Experts’, serve a range of food including classic wings, boneless wings, and tenders, and signature sides including fresh-cut, seasoned fries, and freshly-made ranch and bleu cheese dips.
In 2020, Wingstop saw explosive growth while opening 153 net new units. Digital sales grew more than 60% last year and same-store sales grew by 21.4%. In fiscal year 2020, Wingstop’s system-wide sales increased 28.8% year-over-year to approximately USD $2 billion, marking the 17th consecutive year of same-store sales growth. Wingstop has achieved over 700% in stockholder returns since its 2015 initial public offering.
Wingstop says that its vision is to become a top 10 global restaurant brand through its independent franchise model that represents more than 98% of Wingstop’s total restaurant count. The company says that a key to its success is “The Wingstop Way” which includes a core value system of being “Authentic, Entrepreneurial, Service-minded, and Fun.”