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How Much is a Wingstop Franchise: Cost + Fees

Last updated 03/15/2024 by

Emily Africa

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Wingstop has shown massive growth in recent years thanks to franchising. Opening a franchise can be a great investment. However, before opening a Wingstop restaurant, you’ll need a net worth of $1.2 million, half of which should be liquid. Your startup costs can range from about $300,000 to close to $1 million. You will also need to commit to opening at least three restaurants.
If you want to spread your entrepreneurial wings by selling chicken wings, you’ll be glad to know that Wingstop has been rapidly expanding in recent years. Franchises are the company’s main source of worldwide growth. There were 390 new Wingstop franchisees from 2019 to 2021. And Wingstop restaurants show no signs of stopping.
If you want to jump on Wingstop’s growth, consider opening a Wingstop franchise. But be aware that there are several requirements you must meet, both financially and with your business experience. Keep reading to learn all about Wingstop and what it takes to open a chicken wing franchise.

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What is a Wingstop franchise?

Wingstop is the biggest fast-casual chicken-wings-focused restaurant chain on the planet. It prides itself on great flavor and outstanding customer service. The company has been growing for more than 25 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Wingstop operates in 13 countries from Singapore to Mexico to the United Kingdom.

History of Wingstop

Anthony Swad started Wingstop in 1994 in Garland, Texas. It was a humble buffalo-style wings restaurant with many flavors. It quickly grew into a chain and, by 1997, Wingstop began offering franchises. They sold their billionth wing in 2002 and have continued to grow ever since. There are now more than 1,500 Wingstops around the world.
The business has moved through a series of owners. In 2003, Gemini Investors acquired Wingstop. In 2010, they sold it to Roark Capital Group. Wingstop finally went public in 2015.

What makes Wingstop special

Since 1994, Wingstop has prioritized flavor. “We’re not in the wing business. We’re in the flavor business,” they say. The chicken wing chain achieves a range of tasty flavors via its proprietary recipes.
Wingstop has chicken wings to satisfy many palates and preferences. They offer 11 signature highly-seasoned flavors that range from no heat — like “Hawaiian” — to all the heat — like “Atomic.” A heat scale helps to identify the heat level of all the flavor options in between. Customers can also choose between wet or dry and bone-in or boneless wings.
Outside of the flavor department, Wingstop is involved in philanthropic efforts. The company gives back by raising money to support youth and their passions. Furthermore, the Wingstop Team Member Foundation offers financial support to Wingstop team members going through hardships.

How to open a Wingstop franchise

Not just anyone can open a Wingstop franchise. The company has several financial and experiential requirements that prospective franchise owners (called “Wingstop Brand Partners”) must meet.

Wingstop franchise owner qualifications

To be considered for approval as a Wingstop Brand Partner, you must meet the following qualifications:
  • Proven track record in operating a multi-unit restaurant portfolio
  • Successful multi-unit restaurant ownership experience
  • $1.2 million total net worth
  • $600,000 total liquid assets (liquid assets are defined as cash or any asset that could be converted to cash within 10 business days)
  • Net worth and liquid capital access commensurate with ownership level (may vary significantly from minimum requirements)
  • Minimum three-restaurant commitment for development
  • Willingness to guarantee Franchise Agreement obligations
  • Time commitment for required training programs
  • Hands-on in the day-to-day operation of the business, residency/proximity

How much is a Wingstop franchise?

Wingstop costs are categorically less than the costs of opening another fast-food franchise like KFC. You’ll still need a hefty amount of capital to get your franchise up and running.

Wingstop franchise cost

Estimated costs for opening a Wingstop franchise in 2022 range from $315,310 to $948,080. This estimated initial investment includes all startup costs necessary to make the restaurant fully operational. Included in this estimate are a $20,000 initial franchise fee and a $10,000 development fee. To open a Wingstop franchise, you must have a minimum net worth of $1.2 million and at least $600,000 of liquid capital. Wingstop notes that this requirement may be higher depending on the location and other factors.

Cost breakdown

Here is the breakdown of how Wingstop estimates the costs of opening a franchise.
CategoryLow estimateHigh estimate
Development fee$10,000$10,000
Franchise fee$20,000$20,000
Security deposits$0$10,000
Architect and engineering fees$5,800$35,500
Professional fees$2,500$7,500
Leasehold improvements$155,000$570,000
Business operating permits$4,500$8,500
Decor package$6,300$32,480
Furniture, fixtures, A/V equipment$55,850$138,100
Opening inventory$10,000$16,000
Opening publicity and promotions$5,000$15,000
Additional funds – 3 months$25,000$40,000
Total costs$315,310$948,080
*Costs exclude real estate purchase and lease costs. Published in the May 17, 2022 Wingstop franchise disclosure document.

Pro Tip

Keep in mind that you must commit to opening a minimum of three locations. This means three times that initial investment over time. Wingstop doesn’t indicate a time requirement for opening consecutive locations. Ideally, you could funnel profits from the first location into the next.

Recurring costs of a Wingstop franchise

The Wingstop franchise owner is obligated to pay ongoing fees. During the restaurant’s first full year of operation, Wingstop franchise owners must pay a royalty fee equaling 2% of gross sales. In the franchise’s second full year of operation the royalty fee raises to 4% of gross sales. From the first day of the restaurant’s third operational year and beyond, the royalty fee is 6% of gross sales. Additionally, Wingstop charges an ad fee of 5% of gross sales to pay for local advertising and promotions. Finally, owners are responsible for ongoing technology fees of up to $100 per month.

Process for opening a Wingstop franchise

If you satisfy the above qualifications, then you can start the process of opening a Wingstop franchise. The process looks something like this:
  1. Make sure you can afford it. If you have a net worth of at least $1.2 million and have experience operating a restaurant portfolio, you likely have some money management skills as it relates to opening a restaurant. When deciding if starting a Wingstop franchise is right for you, make sure you have the capital to cover real estate purchase and lease costs, security deposits, shipping costs, food costs, equipment and signage costs, licensing and permit costs, insurance costs, uniform costs, and more. See our breakdown below.
  2. Analyze the market and your experience. Wingstop may be a different type of restaurant than you’re familiar with. A firm understanding of what it will take for this business to succeed is crucial. Assess market conditions where you are thinking of opening up Wingstops. Make sure there is adequate demand for this kind of restaurant in the area.
  3. Apply for a franchise and get approved. Submit your application to Wingstop through their website. The Wingstop franchise team will assess your application and determine if you are a good candidate. After a series of reviews are complete, Wingstop will notify you of your approval.
  4. Complete training and open your Wingstop restaurants. Before opening your Wingstop, the company requires franchise owners to complete 19 hours of online training, more than 30 hours of classroom training, and over 153 hours of in-restaurant training. Training takes place at Wingstop’s Restaurant Support Center in Dallas, Texas. Once you complete the training, you’re finally ready to open your Wingstop. You may have two opening restaurant trainers come to your location to make sure your restaurant is running smoothly.

Financing a Wingstop franchise

Opening a Wingstop comes with many costs. Wingstop doesn’t directly offer financing for its Wingstop franchisees. It does partner with third-party lenders who can help finance the Wingstop franchise costs.
You will likely need to learn how to get approved for a business loan. It may be difficult to get a business loan with bad credit, but it’s possible. Check out these comprehensive business loan reviews from SuperMoney to find the best one for you.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Pro Tip

When financing a new business, loans often come with a collateral requirement. This can be daunting, but there are a few ways to get a business loan without collateral. The good news is starting a franchise may allow you to get a loan without collateral.

Wingstop financial metrics

A franchise is a large investment that should be considered carefully. If you want to open a Wingstop franchise, you should understand how the business performs to make sure it’s a good investment.

Wingstop average sales

In 2021, the average Wingstop restaurant made $1,485,793 in sales. This is about a 15% increase from 2020 sales. The company has been steadily growing and is positioned to continue doing so.

Wingstop profit margins

Wingstop franchises make an average 15% profit margin. Factors such as location, competition, and quality of service can affect this profit margin.

How much does a Wingstop franchise owner make?

If a Wingstop performs at the average, bringing in about $1.5 million in revenue with a 15% profit margin, the franchise owner could make around $220,000 per year. The business continues to be very profitable for a Wingstop franchisee.

Alternative franchise opportunities

Opening a franchise is a big decision. If you aren’t set on opening a Wingstop, you might consider some of these other similar franchise opportunities:
  1. Buffalo Wild Wings
  2. The Wing Basket
  3. Chick-Fil-A
  4. Taco Bell
  5. KFC


How much does a Wingstop owner make a year?

Of course, it depends on the success of the franchise, but with a 15% average profit margin, a Wingstop franchise owner could make anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 per year.

What does it take to own a Wingstop franchise?

It takes extensive restaurant experience, at least $600,000 of liquid capital, and a $30,000 franchise fee to start a Wingstop franchise. Estimated startup costs for opening a Wingstop franchise in 2022 range from $315,310 to $948,080. From there, it takes hard work, dedication, and investment to make the franchise successful.

How many Wingstops does Rick Ross own?

Rapper and entrepreneur Rick Ross owns 25 Wingstops, as of his interview with Complex in June 2021.

Is a Wingstop franchise profitable?

Wingstop franchises are often profitable with an average of 15% profit margins.

Key takeaways

  • Wingstop is a fast-food restaurant chain that has been selling flavorful chicken wings since 1994. The company has nearly 1,500 restaurants around the world. Franchising is a large contributor to the massive growth of Wingstop.
  • To open a Wingstop franchise, you must meet several qualifications. Among these qualifications are restaurant ownership experience, $1.2 million net worth, and commitment to opening three Wingstops.
  • It costs between $315,310 to $948,080 to open a Wingstop franchise. This includes the initial franchise fee and development fee, startup fees, lease costs, and more.
  • Once operational, franchise owners also owe royalty, local advertising, and technology fees to corporate Wingstop.
  • Wingstop franchises make an average 15% profit margin, so you can make a good amount of money if your restaurant is successful.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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