East Coast Wings + Grill spent much of 2022 assisting its franchisees navigate the continuous “off-ramping” of the pandemic. Predominantly based in the southeast region of the United States, ECW+G continued to find ways this past year to maximize operational efficiency at the unit-level helping franchisees be as profitable as possible, even with industry challenges.
“It was a hard year, as supply chain continued to be a challenge, product inflation accelerated, and payroll modeling had a major overhaul in late 2021 with implementation through the first half of 2022,” says Sam G. Ballas, CEO and Founder of East Coast Wings + Grill. “Nonetheless, the brand was able to keep ‘Prime Cost’ to 64 percent, regardless of all the head-wind – we will take this figure anytime for a year like 2022. We also had a goal of sustaining an off-premise sales percentage of 40 percent down from the COVID-19 days of 65 percent, but higher then pre-COVID averages of 28 percent. The result was 43 percent, which was a great number for us and a future top line revenue indicator as the dining rooms and social graphics continue to normalize.”
By working in conjunction with franchisees looking at P&Ls, plus other forms of data to measure benchmarks and KPI’s daily, ECW+G offered faster unit level support for inflected areas on the P&L. This method of ongoing, real-time improvements to achieve strong unit level economics for its franchisees is part of the brand’s culture driven by its leadership team and sets it apart from others in the space.
“We are very proud and appreciative in our franchisees whom performed in a collective, engaging and a coachable way with all the brand’s initiatives and direction – we simply trusted each other,” says Ballas. “The rewards in most all cases ranged from 8.81 percent to 31.39 percent in Net Operating Income (NOI), with the brand’s Mean Average of 12.97 percent as reported by our franchisees. And, our National Franchise Service Center team worked their tail off digesting data daily, weekly and monthly continuously elevating strategy all year for the benefit of our franchisees and the brand as a whole. Now we are focusing on capturing those 300-400 basis points back into our usual NOI benchmark, and plan to increase units by 20 percent in 2023.”
ECW + Grill continues to attract single-unit, multi-unit and multi-concept franchise candidates, and is targeting regional expansion in Southeast markets within North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. The brand is positioned to sign 9-12 franchisees 2023, resulting in expansive growth into new and existing markets reaching 50-60 operating units by year end 2024.