If you haven't already had a party or get-together catered by a chicken wing restaurant, chances are you will. These takeout-and-delivery joints that cater mostly to college students and armchair quarterbacks are growing in popularity and marked 2001 by earning their own category in this year's Franchise 500®.
What makes wings one of the great businesses to run in the 21st century? "It has a simplified menu," explains Jerry Wilkerson, president of Franchise Recruiters Ltd., a Chicago-based franchise management executive search firm. The affordability of the product is also a plus, Wilkerson says, "[as it reduces] the overhead, the labor requirements and the space needed to conduct your business."
Some companies taking advantage of this segment's success are Buffalo Wild Wings, which added 22 restaurants to its chain in 2000, and Wing Zone Franchise Corp., which doubled its number of locations to 15.