CEO, Wingstop Restaurants Inc.
Establishments: 465 Wingstop locations across the country
Headquarters: Richardson, TX
What he’s done: Since joining the chicken-wing specialist in 2003, Jim Flynn has presided over 28 consecutive quarters of sales growth, keeping the 16-year-old chain in expansion mode despite the troubled economy. Or perhaps because of it. With an order of 10 wings selling for about six bucks and franchise costs of about $350,000 per unit, Wingstop is affordable for both consumer and operator.
Why We Like Him: With only about 5 percent of the system company-owned, Wingstop is primarily a franchise organization, with the company stores fulfilling an all-important roll as test sites and a source of credibility. “Our brand partners understand that we are trying to do the best we can for them,” says Flynn, ticking off as evidence an unusually active franchise advisory council, the absence of any lawsuits ever and an initiative to value-engineer all the stores starting with the company’s.
What’s Next: New markets (Chicago, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey) will be opened by a company store that will be refranchised once awareness is established, with the eventual goal of doubling in size to 1,000 units in five years.