From Anheurser-Busch Sales Rep to Restaurateur, This Man Has Made a Career of Wings and Beer Long-time franchisee Brent Weaver of North Carolina started out in sales for the beer giant before opening his own East Coast Wings & Grill 12 years ago.

Brent Weaver
Brent Weaver

Back in 2004, Brent Weaver had been a sales rep for Anheuser-Busch for 17 years with East Coast Wings & Grill as one of his customers, and he and his wife were also frequent diners at the Winston-Salem, N.C. restaurant. When he heard that the company was beginning to franchise, Weaver decided to take a leap of faith and told them that he'd be the one of the guinea pigs for the business model.

His first location was in Peters Creek, N.C, and he is now going on his 12th year as an East Coast Wings & Grill franchisee. He has since opened up two more stores, all about 45 minutes from each other.

Related: Pennsylvania Woman Drops Corporate Career to Open an iDropped Repair Shop

Weaver never went to college but said he was always good at saving his money. He invested his money and had assets. So when he was ready to go into business for himself, he said he was ready to sit down with the right people who knew what they were doing.

Below, Weaver explains how well he now knows the system and how he enjoys being able to offer his knowledge and experience to the up-and-coming franchisees.

Name: Brent Weaver

Franchise owned: I own three East Coast Wings & Grill locations. Peters Creeks in Winston-Salem, Mt. Airy and Reynolda, all in North Carolina.

Q: How long have you owned a franchise?

I was one of the first franchisees to join the East Coast Wings & Grill family. I opened my first location 12 years ago off Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem, N.C. At that time, the franchise was just called East Coast Wings and a few years later, it became East Coast Wings & Grill.

Q: Why franchising?

I chose franchising because of the clear and proven business models that are put into place. Prior to becoming a franchisee, I didn't have any hands-on experience of working in the restaurant industry, so having defined systems gave me confidence where I was lacking knowledge. Additionally, joining a franchise meant that my business and I would have the support of an entire company behind us, which was very appealing.

Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Before becoming a franchisee, I was a sales representative for Anheuser-Busch for 17 years. East Coast Wings & Grill was actually one of my customers, which is how I met Steve Kontos, who had recently purchased the brand with Sam Ballas. When I learned that they were beginning to franchise the restaurant, I took a leap of faith and offered to be their guinea pig on the business model. It's been 12 years -- and I haven't looked back since!

Related: Why This Franchisee Added Beer to Her Coffee-Based Career

Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?

It has always been a dream of mine to work for myself, and becoming a franchisee was the most effective route to accomplish this. In addition to having East Coast Wings & Grill as a customer at my old job, my wife and I were frequent East Coast Wings visitors. When exploring our investment options, we wanted to be part of an up-and-coming franchise, and East Coast Wings & Grill became the clear choice.

It's been incredible to see the company evolve into what it is today. Twelve years ago, if you weren't living in Winston-Salem, you weren't familiar with the East Coast Wings name. Now, East Coast Wings & Grill has become a household favorite throughout North Carolina and is quickly expanding across the nation.

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

My costs have been all over the board since I was the first franchisee, and they all came into existence in different years.

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

When I opened my first franchise, the Internet wasn't what it is today, and there wasn't as much research out there. I noted the success of the original store, connected with the corporate team and also compared this franchise opportunity to others.

Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

The largest unexpected challenge I ran into was hiring the right employees and teaching them to follow the systems in place.

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

Even though there are proven systems in place, owning a franchise is no easy task. You should expect to be very hands on with your business. Expect that you'll be spending a lot of time at your store, restaurant, location, etc. I've hired fantastic general managers for each of my locations which has helped immensely, but I still come into each location to connect with the managers, make decisions, stay involved in daily communications, etc.

Also, it's key to research the franchise and decide if it's the right fit for you. At East Coast Wings & Grill, there's a mix of franchisees who run their restaurants differently. There are investors, who just find the right people to run the store, there are people like me who handle the administrative paperwork and such, and then there are others that are so involved that they cook the food!

Related: How a Love of Healthy Food Led to a Beneficial Career Change

Q: What's next for you and your business?

Considering my youngest store is 10 months old, I'm really trying to perfect and smooth out all the management systems. I'm not in a big hurry, but I would like to purchase a fourth store in the future. I take my time during every step of opening a location to ensure my stores to be very successful.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics

Business News

'Just Say You Are Going Broke': Starbucks Slammed For Price Increase On Popular Item

The chain will start charging $1 extra for customization on its popular Refresher beverages.

Business News

The Virgin Islands Want to Serve Elon Musk a Subpoena, But They Can't Find Him

Government officials would like to talk to Tesla's owner as part of an investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case.

Growing a Business

My Startup Scored a Multimillion-Dollar Contract With a Fortune 100 Client in Just 3 Years. Here's What We Learned.

There's no perfect litmus test to gauge if you're ready to go after big business or not — but if you don't take the risk, you'll never realize the reward.


5 Questions to Ask a PR Pro Before Hiring Them

You probably haven't considered asking these questions, but they're a great way to find the right PR firm for your business.

Growing a Business

The Inevitable Challenges You'll Face as Your Business Grows — and How to Handle Them

There's going to be some discomfort as your business expands, but it doesn't have to stop you from achieving massive success.


This Location-Based Marketing Technique Is the Key to Boosting Retail Sales

Let's take an in-depth look at geofencing marketing and how it's helping retail locations drive foot traffic and boost sales.