How to Start a Chicken Wings Business [Buffalo Wing] 2024

Want to start a chicken wings business? You’ve come to the right place.

This post will discuss the essential steps for setting up a chicken wing restaurant (from choosing a business location and name to marketing and promotion).

Chicken wings have become a staple of American cuisine, and their popularity continues to grow in the United States and globally.

With the growing trend and people’s love for delicious, crispy, and spicy food, starting a chicken wing business presents a lucrative opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Are you ready? Let’s discuss the process.

How to start a chicken wings business

chicken wings business

1. Identify your target market

Market research helps to identify target customers, understand the competition, and determine profitability. It is also helpful for finding customer needs and demands.

So, before starting a chicken wing restaurant, the first step should be to research the target market, potential customers, and competitors.

Identify the target customer base interested in chicken wings and related food items, then create a proper list by conducting a preference analysis.

Here are some ideas for target customers:

  • Sports enthusiasts
  • Young adults
  • Families
  • Party planners
  • Late-night snackers
  • Foodies
  • College students
  • Office lunches
  • Fast food lovers
  • Festival/event attendees

Understand your target customer and competition:

By conducting a SWOT analysis and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you can create your unique selling proposition to take a competitive advantage.

Demographics: To find the ideal customer, analyze their age, gender, income, occupation, and location. You can gather the data by conducting surveys, online research, and accessing the local market.

Psychographics: Understand their lifestyle, interest, buying behaviors, etc. You can analyze social media and conduct customer reviews to find psychological data.

You can conduct your research process utilizing different sources:

  • Public sources: government data, academic research (journals, research papers), and industry reports (Statista, IBISWorld).
  • Online resources: Use social media, conduct surveys, and analyze web analytics (such as website traffic, user behavior, etc).

To analyze you can use tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends, Similar Web, etc.

If you want to deeply research a particular location, area, and city, use online resources like Google Search, Google Maps, and Wikipedia.

google map

These resources help you to provide this location’s data, geography, and history.

2. Decide your business model

Chicken wings are tasty, and they are popular among chicken lovers.

You can create a unique food concept in your city by opening a wing restaurant. Starting requires research on the local market, careful planning, and a well-defined business plan.

Concept:

The business concept is selling chicken wings by opening a restaurant in a high-potential location (it can be a franchise or independent shop).

Also, you can set up the business with different service models (food trucks, online food delivery, and catering services to special events or parties).

By considering the profitability, demand, market potential, and profit margin, choose a suitable business model to set up your business.

Depending on your goals, resources, budget, passion, and planning, you can consider.

Open a chicken wing restaurant.

You can open a chicken wing restaurant independently.

A restaurant model offers a dining atmosphere where customers can enjoy chicken wings sitting at a table. So establish your restaurant in a high foot traffic area.

Starting from scratch is the best idea as the demand for chicken wings grows. Here are the simple steps you can follow.

  1. A suitable location for opening a restaurant
  2. Space for setting up the kitchen, storage, and utility facilities
  3. Need to buy commercial kitchen equipment
  4. Furniture and decor for the dining area
  5. Trained staff for cooking, serving, and customer service
  6. Software for management, marketing, and payment

Pros

  • More control of business
  • Good profit potential
  • You can set your rules
  • Grater Pride of ownership
  • Creativity and flexibility

Cons

  • More risk
  • More work
  • More competition
  • Less name recognition

Chicken wing franchise opportunity

Another idea is a franchise opportunity for those interested in starting a chicken wing shop but don’t want to build from scratch.

A franchise can be an excellent choice for starting a business, but it requires a high investment, including franchise fees, shop setup, infrastructure, costly equipment, etc.

However, the advantage of operating under an established brand name can increase the chances of success.

Franchises have a higher success rate than independent businesses but are not without risk. About 25% of franchises fail within the first year of operation, and about half fail within five years.

Refer to the guide on the: Failure rate of franchise

You can join an existing franchise by following their guidelines (for choosing a location, target market, and rules).

A franchise provides expertise, training, marketing support, and a supply chain network to its franchisees.

  1. Franchise fees and initial investment capital
  2. Choose a reputable chicken wing franchise
  3. Comply with franchise standards
  4. Select a suitable location per the guidelines
  5. Staff training as per franchise protocols
  6. Follow franchise marketing strategies
  7. Ongoing royalty and advertising fees

Each of these models has unique advantages and disadvantages, which should be carefully weighed before deciding.

Pros

  • Lower risk than independent,
  • Benefits from an established brand,
  • Proven business model,
  • Support and training facility,

Cons

  • High investment,
  • Lack of independence,
  • Limited creativity,
  • Fees and royalties,

3. Write a chicken wing business plan

write a business plan

Once you have defined your business model, now is the time to outline your goal, strategies, and roadmap for setting up the business successfully. 

Write your outline carefully, including (business model, research, requirements, legal need, marketing, restaurant setup, etc). 

Your plan should focus on providing the best service to customers. Good quality chicken wings and exponential customer service are important for success. 

A well-crafted plan also helps to attract potential investors. 

Consider the given components and include them in your plan when writing:

Business Summary:

A summary contains the complete overview of a business plan, including all those points.

  • High-quality chicken wing food and services
  • Your goal: Reliable service; you can target the local market
  • Setup affordable pricing for wings
  • Unique tastes, different menu options in your plan

Research:

Conduct industry, market, and competition research to understand customer needs and local competition.

Define your business:

  • Products or services: Chicken wings and related food items
  • Target market: Local customers who enjoy chicken wings and associated food items
  • Product type: Chicken wings with a variety of sauces and flavors
  • Additional service: Online ordering, food truck, delivery, and catering services.
  • USP: High-quality chicken wings at competitive prices with best service

Marketing plan:

  • You can use free and paid marketing strategies
  • Focus on local marketing efforts
  • Social media, influencer marketing, collaboration, etc.

Financial plan:

  • Estimating startup costs (initial and ongoing expenses)
  • Fundraising plan and finding the best funding sources

Business requirements:

  • Establish a chicken wing restaurant
  • Hire qualified staff
  • Comply with all legal requirements

Read the guide to write a plan for your business.

4. Fund your chicken wing business

Before arranging funds for your startup, estimate the costs and calculate how much you will need for restaurant setup, buying equipment, renting space, and marketing, including ongoing expenses (staff salaries, utility, legal fees, etc.).

The startup costs could be anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on the size of your restaurant, location, and other factors.

Estimated startup costs:

  • Equipment: $5,000 to $10,000
  • Inventory: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Rent or lease: $1,000 to $5,000 per month
  • Permits and licenses: $500 to $1,000
  • Marketing: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Online presence (website): $200 to $500

We provide this estimated cost for your idea, which can be lower and higher from person to person, so carefully research and develop a detailed outline of all expenses.

Ongoing expenses:

  • Staff salaries
  • Ingredients cost
  • Utilities and running costs
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Accounting and legal fees

Rise funds for business:

So, keeping the estimated cost in mind, develop a financial plan for securing funds.

You can use these resources if you have sufficient personal savings to finance your startup. Additionally, explore the different financing options available to small businesses, such as:

  • Friends and family
  • Personal loans
  • Business Loans
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans
  • Crowdfunding
  • Venture capital funding

It is advisable to consult a financial advisor or business consultant for financial planning.

5. Obtain necessary legal requirements

Obtain the licenses and permits for operating a chicken wing restaurant legally.

You may need to obtain a general business license, food service permits, health department approval, and dining area permits.

The licensing and registration process can vary depending on location, state, or city.

To safely or legally run a business, research is important to comply with state, country, and local regulations.

Licenses and permits required for business:

  • Business License: Get one from your city or county.
  • Food Handler’s Permit: Pass a food safety course and test for a local health department permit.
  • Tax Registration: Register with the IRS and get an EIN if you hire employees.
  • Zoning Compliance: Make sure your business location meets local zoning regulations.
  • Health Inspection: Pass health department inspection for kitchen approval.
  • Insurance: Get general liability and workers’ comp insurance if you have employees.
  • Signage Permit: Obtain a permit for any planned signage.
  • Labor Law Compliance: Comply with federal, state, and local labor laws.
  • Tax Compliance: Collect and remit sales tax per local and state laws.

Tips: Consult your local government agencies or hire a legal attorney for specialized lawer for guideance.

6. Find a suitable location

To open a chicken wing shop, it is important to find a good location.

If the location is better, then you will be able to attract more customers.

When choosing a good location, consider high foot traffic area, area competition, demographics, population, target customers, and accessibility.

Consideration:

  • Target market: Find a potential location near the target market.
  • Competition: How many other chicken wing restaurants are in the area?
  • Visibility: Visible and accessible to potential customers.
  • Traffic: High volume of foot traffic or car traffic.
  • Parking: Ample parking available.
  • Cost: Affordable for your business.
  • Atmosphere: Casual or formal dining experience.
  • Size: Enough space for kitchen, dining area, and storage.
  • Zoning: Zoning requirements for a restaurant.

Wherever you plan to open your shop, you must find space available for buying or renting in the area. Find landlords or property owners to discuss lease terms, rental rates, and applicable fees.

However, the best thing about a chicken wing business is that you can start it in a truck, eliminating the need to rent space.

You can take your shop with you wherever you go.

7. Map out your menu

develop a menu

Chicken wings are a popular dish in many parts of the world. You can research the specific preferences of your target market to develop a menu that will appeal to them.

The recipe can differ depending on region, culture, lifestyle, demand, and trend.

Research and find out the market (local area, your street, farmer’s market, restaurant, or shop) demands what type of wings (chicken, buffalo, etc) people mostly like to eat.

Also, you can add other food menus related to chicken in your plan.

Create a menu plan with various flavor options (focusing on ingredients) because every person has their preferences and flavors.

Chicken wing menu:

  • Classic Wings: Buffalo, BBQ, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Inferno, Tandoori, Jerk
  • Signature Creations: Honey Garlic, Parmesan Garlic, Asian Zing, Bacon Ranch
  • Dipping Sauces: Ranch, Blue Cheese, Honey Mustard, BBQ Sauce
  • Side Dishes: Fries, Onion Rings, Celery and Carrots

Additional menu plan:

Drinks:Desserts:Sauces:
Soda
Iced tea 
Water
Brownies 
Cookies
Ranch 
Blue cheese
Buffalo sauce

8. Purchase equipment and ingredients

Purchase the right equipment, supplies, and fresh ingredients for your shop.

You need a variety of equipment and can buy all those supplies online or offline, considering (the pricing, quality, warranty, brand, and requirements).

Chicken wings equipment:

  • Commercial deep fryer
  • Oven or grill
  • Food processor or blender
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Tongs and spatula
  • Cooking utensils
  • Wing baskets
  • Meat thermometer
  • Serving trays or platters
  • Cash register or point-of-sale system

Deep Fryer

Cooking utensils

Wing Basket

Ingredients:

Source high-quality ingredients for making delicious chicken wings. Need to establish reliable supplier connections to buy quality and fresh ingredients.

  • Chicken wings
  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Honey

9. Hire skilled staff and employees

Running a chicken wing shop personally can be difficult; that’s why you need to hire some skilled workers and staff to manage the business efficiently.

You must prepare staff for different tasks like cooking, serving, managing, and marketing, for which you must have a solid foundation in business acumen.

  • Front-of-house staff: Cashiers, servers, host/hostess, bussers
  • Kitchen staff: Cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers
  • Management staff: General manager, assistant manager, shift supervisors

Hire employees to fill various roles to help you achieve your goals and to manage your business properly. Necessary to create a plan for hiring skilled staff.

Suppose you have a budget for the recruitment of some employees. In that case, you might consider premium recruitment options such as sponsored job ads or partnering with a recruitment agency to help you find talent.

10. Choose a business name

If you observe the names of the other businesses and competitors in the market, they have a brand name that is also unique and attractive.

Whether you aim to compete in the market or engage in marketing, branding, and promotion, the importance of a business name cannot be overstated.

Choose a catchy business name for your restaurant or shop because this is customers’ first impression and attraction to remember your shop.

Remember: The business name should be (unique, short, attractive, web-friendly, user-friendly, easy to remember, business-related, and non-copyrighted).

After you have selected a name, purchase a domain name for your website, which will help you to establish your online presence.

11. Develop a marketing plan

marketing plan

No matter your business model, having a proper marketing strategy is important to target potential customers.

You need to understand your target customer for creating an effective marketing plan.

Using social media and digital marketing methods, you can easily promote your service to the potential target audience following the right strategy.

Best marketing ideas for your business:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Email Marketing
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Partnerships and Collaboration
  • Unique Dining Experiences
  • Catering Services
  • Community Involvement
  • Customer Feedback and Reviews

List in online directories: You can list your business on online directories, where customers can find your service (photos, reviews, location, opening time, menu) when they search.

List your business on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, local directories, and industry-relevant websites.

Create a website: Build a website, customize it with a proper menu and navigation, add your service pages, publish content related to chicken wings, and optimize with SEO.

Social media marketing: Build a community on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube) by sharing content related to chicken wings, such as recipe videos, photos, ingredients, about your service, etc.

Influencer marketing: Connect with famous food influencers and ask them to promote your service to their audience; the best platforms are YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook

Conclusion

Hopefully, this is helpful and provides a roadmap for you.

We have covered all the important aspects (market research, choosing a business model, effective marketing plan, securing funding, and legal considerations) of starting the business from scratch.

By following the steps, you can successfully start your chicken wing business.

If you’re thinking of starting a food truck, online delivery service, or even catering, this would also be the best idea to start with.

Still, if there are any doubts, let us know in the comments below!

Related blog post:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about the chicken wings business.

Is a chicken wing business profitable?

Yes, a chicken wing business can be profitable. Some profitability includes good profit margin, high demand, inexpensive production, and a popular food item worldwide.

Why are chicken wings in high demand?

Chicken wings are in high demand due to the following:
-Affordability
-Versatility
-Crowd-pleasing appeal
-Portability
-Profitability

What equipment is needed for the chicken wing restaurant?

You’ll need cooking, preparation, storage, and serving equipment for a chicken wing restaurant.

How much does it cost to start a wing business?

Starting a wing business requires anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on the size of your restaurant, location, facility you plan to provide, staff, marketing cost, etc.

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