East Coast Wings + Grill’s J.D. and Jeff Penland, brothers and multi-unit operators for the full-service, family-dining franchise— were honored by Franchise Business Review as 2020 Franchisee Rock Stars. The Penlands, who own four ECW+G locations throughout North Carolina, were selected among a pool of 28,000-plus franchisees as rock stars in the “Multi-Unit Owner” category.
In 2007, the post-college graduates purchased an existing location. After a few short years, they turned the restaurant into a profitable investment and sold it in 2010. They used that experience to gain the entrepreneurial knowledge they needed and became multi-unit owners of the franchise, known as some of the top performing owners within the system, with over $8 million in revenue.
While there was a dip in Mid-March and early April, throughout the pandemic, the Penlands have since experienced record sales.
“Even at 50 percent occupancy, we’re maximizing our space. We’ve moved tables around, removed some, and able to swiftly adapt to guest traffic behavior, whether they’re dining in or ordering curbside and delivery,” said JD Penland. “ECW+G has the square footage down to a science and its right in the sweet spot to operate casual dining effectively.”
Some of the substantial support provided by the franchisor included: proactively building a game plan to face COVID-19 realities, weekly conference calls, chain supply management, providing financial analysis programs and pulling back on marketing and royalty fees.
“There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with ECW+G, follow the data-driven model and maximize it,” said Penland. “Based on our experience, it boils down to focus, dedication and sacrifice to succeed.”