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Richard Snyder, owner of the Springfield Wingstop at 303 E. Battlefield Road, doubled the franchise restaurant's size to seat 82 diners. Renovations, which were funded by a First Community Bank loan, cost $120,000.
Richard Snyder, owner of the Springfield Wingstop at 303 E. Battlefield Road, doubled the franchise restaurant's size to seat 82 diners. Renovations, which were funded by a First Community Bank loan, cost $120,000.

Business Spotlight: No Thing but a Chicken Wing

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There aren’t many businesses these days that can claim sales are so good that they need to expand, but that’s exactly what Wingstop on Battlefield in Springfield has done.

The restaurant owned by Richard and Ava Snyder is one of 539 franchise locations for Richardson,
Texas-based Wingstop Restaurants Inc., according to Amanda Hays, field marketing manager for the Midwest region, which includes the Springfield market. The stores feature World War II-era bomber décor and serve chicken wings as the main fare – 1 billion of them served since launching in 1994.

The Springfield Wingstop, 303 E. Battlefield Road in Battlefield Plaza, doubled its footprint to 2,400 square feet in May, making it one of the largest stores in the franchise, Hays says. “The average store is 1,200 to 1,800 square feet,” she adds.

Richard Snyder says the expansion was needed for the 28-seat space. “I would see people drive up, look in and leave when they saw there was no place to sit,” he says.

Wingstop can now seat 82 customers. Along with the expansion, the restaurant was completely remodeled, including the addition of four flat-screen televisions to accommodate sports-enthusiast diners. Renovations cost $120,000, funded by a Springfield First Community Bank loan.

In this time of tight credit, sometimes small businesses are the best bet, says Terry Barksdale, vice president and loan officer at Springfield First Community Bank.

“Richard is there running that business every day,” Barksdale says. “It’s all about personal relationships. We have a personal relationship with the Snyders, and they have a personal relationship with their customer base.”

Barksdale says it also helped that the Snyders had an established business with a proven track record in both sales and payment history with the bank.   

Since the expansion, Richard Snyder says the restaurant has flipped from serving 60 percent carry-out customers to serving 60 percent dine-in. “Some days, we have 80 percent dine in,” he says.

After the expansion, sales have increased 14 percent, he says, and through August, sales are up 5 percent compared to last year, which finished at $750,000.

In 2005, Snyder was nearing 20 years of employment for Roadway Express when the company sold to Yellow Freight and his job was eliminated.

He and his wife, Ava, a Murney Associates Realtor, had always wanted to open a restaurant and pub, and the Wingstop on Battlefield – one of two Wingstops in Springfield at the time – was for sale. It had opened in 2001 and was one of the first in the chain to open outside of Texas, Hays says.

“We have a love for sports. When we saw Troy Aikman was the spokesman for the company, we were intrigued,” Ava Snyder says.

In addition to mirroring their passion for sports – the Snyders are avid Kansas City Chiefs fans and contribute to area high school and Missouri State University sports – Richard Snyder says when he began researching business opportunities, he was advised to go with a franchise.

“I went to a SCORE workshop at the library, and they suggested if you didn’t have any prior business ownership experience that you should go through a business broker and look for a franchise,” Snyder says.

SCORE is a nonprofit small-business and mentoring program that partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration.  

When they looked at Wingstop, they felt it was a workable concept. “It isn’t a full-service restaurant, which is another thing that attracted us,” Richard Snyder says.  

The Snyders purchased the area franchise for $175,000 and invested $5,000 in kitchen equipment and minor aesthetic touches. “We invested a lot in advertising, about 6 percent of our budget that first year,” Richard Snyder recalls.

In 2006, the store increased annual sales by 60 percent, earning the Snyders a second-place franchise award for most improved sales in a calendar year.

The store continued the momentum, increasing 2007 revenue by 18.5 percent and 2008 revenue by 5.4 percent, until the recession caught up slightly with the store in 2009.

Last year, revenues dipped 1.7 percent, but Snyder expects to finish this year above $815,000.
Hays says the Springfield Wingstop regularly exceeds the franchise chain’s average unit volume by $4,000 per week in the Midwest region, which is between $11,000 and $12,000 weekly.[[In-content Ad]]

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