Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

The Chicagoland Wing Kings are, collectively, an impressive bunch. Combined, the 10 business partners have more than 150 years of experience and more than 130 Dunkin Donuts locations. And, they aren't slowing down – they've joined together to open six Wingstops and hope to open another 25 to 30 more. Here's how these donut dukes became wing kings. 

Name: Vishal Shah, Partner in Chicagoland WingKings LLC

Franchise: Chicagoland WingKings, made up of 10 partners, currently owns and operates six Wingstop restaurants, with one more set to open in May.  The franchisee has six additional locations in various forms of development.

How long have you owned a franchise?

My partners and I are Dunkin Donuts franchisees. Combined, we have more than 150 years of experience and own more than 130 Dunkin Donuts locations.  In 2011, I started looking at diversifying my portfolio and mentioned that to some of my friends in Dunkin Donuts.  They also expressed a similar interest. We did some research and agreed that Wingstop was the type of business we were looking for.

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Why franchising?

We believe in the franchising model because it offers a proven business track record with some built in structure, development knowledge, marketing and operational procedures. 

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

When doing some research on potential franchise concepts, we found Wingstop and truly became excited about the product, the concept and the brand.  Wingstop offers great product, unique interiors and the opportunity to open many locations in the Chicagoland Area.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

Chicagoland WingKings LLC, has invested in excess of $500,000 dollars to create the foundation for successful expansion.  First we purchased a large development area, so we could methodically open up locations throughout the Chicagoland area.  We invested in operations and “back of the house” systems to monitor our restaurants, and created a sound marketing program (working with Wingstop marketing people) to have successful openings and ongoing growth.

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Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

Given the years of experience and the knowledge that my partners and I have accumulated through our years of Dunkin Donuts ownership, we used that for our growth in Wingstop.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

The advice I would give any person interested in investing in a franchise is: Do your research.  Take your time, investigate, research, and ask questions of current franchisees.  What may work for them, may not work for you.  Most importantly, try the product and make sure you like it. You cannot be successful in any business if you don’t believe in it!!

What’s next for you and your business?

We are continuing to expand our Wingstop restaurants.  We hope to keep growing existing sales in our restaurants while expanding the number of locations throughout the Chicagoland area. While I don’t want to put a number on our expansion, my partners and I believe that 25-30 stores owned by Chicagoland WingKings is possible.

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