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Capriotti’s acquires Wing Zone chain, plans ghost-kitchen-heavy franchising future

Purchase reveals big bet on off-premises opportunity

Capriotti’s announced its acquisition of Wing Zone, a 67-unit fast-casual chain in the prized chicken category of the restaurant industry. Pizza and chicken-wing chains have been some of the most popular categories of limited-service during pandemic lockdowns and hunkering down. As this has developed, consumers have accelerated their rate of tech adoption and put a premium on tasty, delivery-friendly food.

With the acquisition of Wing Zone, Capriotti’s executives plan to draw from their leadership structure, strategic partnerships and franchise ecosystem to promote and grow the Wing Zone brand, while investing in its future. The two concepts will have combined systemwide sales of $100M as Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s assumes the additional role of Wing Zone chief executive.

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“We look forward to leveraging our expertise in franchising, operational excellence and technology with Wing Zone’s off-premise experience to help both brands continue to grow,” said Morris. “We are thrilled to welcome Wing Zone into the Capriotti’s family and are excited about what lies ahead.”

Las Vegas-based Capriotti’s added 18 units this year for a total of 115 open locations and has 210 stores in the development pipeline. Moreover, the sub-shop chain signed 24 multi-unit franchise deals during the year.

In 2020, Capriotti’s saw a same store sales increase in the double-digit range, putting it in the top two-percentile ranking, according to the chain. Moving forward, the purchase of the Wing Zone signals a deeper dive into virtual concepts, increased ghost-kitchen use and sets the stage for potential co-branding opportunities down the road.

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Executives at Capriotti’s consider the Wing Zone chain to have established a solid off-premise game, and it appears they will leverage some of that expertise as the brands pave a joint road to accelerated growth moving forward.

Photo credit: Wing Zone (featured preview image)

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