Hinesville may have another restaurant coming within the next year.
Wing Zone is an Atlanta-based franchise with more than 100 domestic and about 30 international locations, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Friedman.
The company targets locations near colleges and military installations, according to Friedman, because the company started in a college town and they have found success in those locations.
“One of our core initiatives in 2016 and into 2017 is about expanding in the Georgia market,” he said.
He said Wing Zone is being drawn to Hinesville because of Fort Stewart and the surrounding population.
Friedman believes Wing Zone is distinctive because it is an authentic buffalo wing restaurant, they can deliver to locations on military installations, to hotels or events, and the 16 flavors they offer. Wing Zone also offers chicken tenders and burgers.
“So we feel like the concept really is a good fit for that market,” he said.
The restaurant was founded in 1991 in Gainesville, Florida, where Friedman and co-founder Adam Scott were students at the University of Florida.
During their senior year, Friedman and Scott operated out of their fraternity kitchen because no one would lend them money, Friedman said. They became successful delivering wings.
Friedman and Scott eventually opened their first store in Gainesville, and then started to franchise the business in 2000.
Friedman said that even though Wing Zone is now a big business, he and Scott are still passionate about what they do and “we still go back to the roots that we started.”
Hinesville offers a number of chicken-focused restaurants, but Friedman believes Wing Zone’s delivery options and flavors make it stand apart.
“We’re competing against some of the big pizza concepts, but we’re giving people a much broader and different menus so they can get wings or a salad or a burger or tenders delivered to their door,” he said.
Wing Zone is looking to open in Hinesville in early 2017 and are looking to partner with someone in the community.
Friedman said the company’s managing partner program would be ideal for Hinesville because Wing Zone will build and pay for the store and then bring on someone who is “more than just a manager” because they will own 20 percent of the store.
“Because we love the owner-operator feel. We want someone that’s involved in the community and someone that maybe didn’t think that ownership for them is a possibility,” Friedman said.
For interested partners, Friedman said they can contact him at 770-634-0658 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being the co-founder of the business reaching out personally to potential partners is “what we do,” Friedman said. “This is a people business and you gotta run great restaurants.”