East Coast Wings + Grill, a North Carolina-based, family-dining franchise commended for its wide variety of buffalo wing flavors and inclusive menu, is seeking qualified franchise partners in Virginia to leverage both the growth opportunity in the state and its tremendously positive response to the brand, which debuted in Lynchburg last May.

In their first year of business, entrepreneurial couple Mike and Leah Morrell were awarded “Best Restaurant”by the Central Virginia Business Coalition: a local organization focused on supporting locally-owned businesses. To determine the award winners, a panel of judges from different business sectors and counties in the region evaluated community nominations and subsequent questionnaires from the nominees about their business, achievements, community service and more. The judges then generated a combined score and revealed the winners.

“We believed in the concept and knew the area would appreciate the brand’s commitment to flavorful food,” says co-owner of ECW+G Lynchburg Mike Morrell, who has called the area home for nearly 30 years with his wife. “We knew we had to build a strong culture from the start and dedicate as much of an effort to the friendly service as we did to the food quality. That mantra has set the standard for our guests, who come to us not just for a delicious meal, but for the experience as well.”

Another milestone for the new business owners was having the fourth-highest sales across the entire franchise system on National Chicken Wing Day (July 29): the busiest day of the year for ECW+G franchisees.

With no restaurant background, the Morrells jumped right in, applied the franchise model flawlessly, built a strong team and committed themselves to the community. Their passion for philanthropy began the second their doors opened—foregoing a traditional grand opening and hosting a charity day instead. On that day, ECW+G Lynchburg raised $2,000 for Patrick Henry Family Services and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Central Virginia, two local organizations, and received a $2,000 match donation from ECW+G corporate.

Additionally, the Morrells make sure the family-friendly atmosphere extends beyond their restaurant walls. The business owners are committed to remaining a staple in the community by supporting local causes, fundraisers, donating proceeds of sales to schools and more.

“This accomplishment speaks volumes to the type of hands-on business owners they are. The Morrells are the ideal franchisees to spearhead East Coast Wings + Grill’s presence in the market,” says ECW+G president and CEO Sam Ballas. “When you take our proven system—which provides laser-like focus on an individual’s unit-level success—and pair it with an owner’s dedication to employee satisfaction and community engagement, we can expect more locations like Lynchburg throughout Virginia.”

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