Wingstop has announced a minority investment in the UK business, which is operated by its UK franchisee, Lemon Pepper Holdings Ltd. (LPH).
The US-based company, which operates more than 1,500 locations worldwide, said the deal follows strong performance in the UK and underscores the brand’s confidence in the market as a key growth lever for global expansion.
Wingstop CFO Michael Skipworth said the chain thinks the UK market has tremendous long-term potential.
“We believe this strategic use of our capital will strengthen the development pipeline in that market and I am excited to join the Lemon Pepper Holdings board of directors and play a role in helping achieve the potential for the Wingstop brand in the UK.”
Wingstop entered into a 100-restaurant agreement with LPH in 2017 as the sole franchisee for the UK market.
It opened Wingstop’s first restaurant in the heart of central London and its portfolio now has a mix of high street, shopping mall and ghost kitchen locations.
The UK saw its highest sales growth in 2020 and continued to open seven new locations despite successive national lockdowns.
This investment follows the opening of a new Wingstop restaurant in Reading last month – the first outside of London and one of several planned new openings this year, which will include Manchester, Kingston-upon-Thames, Birmingham Bullring and Bristol.
“Since launching in the UK market in 2017, Wingstop has brought its flavoursome chicken wings to thousands of hungry guests across several high-profile locations,” said LPH director Tom Grogan, who founded the business with partners Herman Sahota and Paddy Bamford.
“We’ve been delighted by the overwhelming response from guests and look forward to bringing our brand to more regions of the UK in coming years”.
In pursuit of becoming a top 10 global restaurant brand, Wingstop continues exploring expansion opportunities in Europe as well as in key markets around the world including China and Canada, where its first restaurant is planned to open by 2022.
The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. In the last three months it has opened more than 40 new stores globally.