The Inside Track to Wings Success

Quaker Steak & Lube

Quaker Steak & Lube has three new prototypes to enable easy, efficient entry into new markets.

Quaker Steak
& Lube
5 percent
up to 4 percent
$3 million
$1.4 to $3.7 million
$3.4 million

For the casual-dining chain that served its billionth chicken wing last year and claims bragging rights to America’s best wings—having won the Festival Favorite award the last two years at the National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York—it’s hard to say there are more compelling attributes to the brand than its wings. But truth is, there are many factors that make Quaker Steak & Lube one of the most interesting franchise opportunities.

For starters, there’s the automotive-themed décor that attracts customer engagement even before restaurants open. Every Quaker Steak & Lube has classic autos on display, including authentic cars on loan from local customers, plus at least one classic motorcycle and one NASCAR model. Sometimes classic cars are hung from the ceiling, but in most cases they’re on a Backyard Buddy. (For those who aren’t gearheads, that’s a lift used by people who work on cars.)

“Most of our restaurants have at least one or two classic cars on Backyard Buddies, and these cars are loaned to us by collectors,” says Frederick Dreibholz, CFO and interim CEO at Quaker Steak & Lube. “As soon as people hear a Quaker Steak & Lube is opening near them, they contact us to see if they can put their car on display—that’s been a really surprising and interesting phenomenon that no one anticipated when the brand was started. Who would have thought there would be so many people who want to display their cars?”

The cars are typically on loan at no cost to the restaurant, and they rotate in and out to provide new experiences for diners and more opportunity for local car buffs to share their prized possessions. One restaurant even had the chance to showcase the very first Mustang that rolled off the Ford assembly line.

“The décor packages in our restaurants are all very authentic and nostalgic, and we have one person who goes in and manages the installation of cars at all of our company-owned and franchise locations,” explains Dreibholz.

NASCAR models are a little more of an investment—harder to locate and typically hung permanently in the restaurant. Classic motorcycles are sometimes purchased and hung, and in other instances on loan from a local dealer who may even sell the bike that’s hanging in the restaurant and replace it with another.

The Lube, as it’s affectionately called by fans and friends, also seizes opportunities to make the décor even more personal. One restaurant that borders the Lake Erie canal installed an aqua-car, which travels on both land and water, to appeal to its many guests who arrive by boat. And in Syracuse, New York, a snowmobile hangs from The Lube ceiling.


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