Feb 4, 2020 | Report Announcements

Wingstop enjoys strong brand positioning around: cooked-to-order chicken wings (in a deep fryer without the use of heat lamps or microwaves) that are hand-sauced & tossed in a choice of 11 flavors ranked by heat; and great access with a 75% take-out mix. Essentially, Wingstop is the first chain to translate wings into a fast-food experience. The brand increased its national ad spend contribution rate in 2019 to help fund two 12-week national TV campaigns as Wingstop seeks to increase its brand awareness (20%+ gap with its QSR peers). Notably, a customer segmentation study revealed a significant percentage of QSR customers who profess to like to eat chicken wings but have not tried Wingstop and current traffic growth is coming from these new customers. Consecutive years of positive comps from 2004 to 2018 (with +43% of cumulative growth over the last 5 calendar years driven primarily by traffic) provides a testimony of the brand’s fundamental strength and going forward sales growth strategies include: building even greater awareness through national advertising; innovating through tech to enhance the guest experience; and supporting delivery with national ads in 2020. 30% of sales come through digital channels which drive a $5 increase in check size and a new web site & app in 2019 has increased the conversion rate by +6% while driving a +$0.50 check increase. Notably, delivery mix is running 9% – 12% in 6 test markets that represent 30% of total units. All-the-same, Wingstop’s value positioning is challenged by high wing costs that necessitate relatively high menu prices and wing cost volatility which makes it difficult to offer price certainty. Its AUV is -10% below the segment average which suggests significantly lower relative traffic when considering its average check exceeds the segment average by +61% and this is indicative of Wingstop’s challenge to expand beyond its core heavy users to a broader QSR audience. In conclusion, Wingstop is well equipped to continue fortifying its unique positioning as the first and only national fast-food wings player with upgrades to marketing, digital and delivery – that is, so long as there are enough birds to go around.

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