- Wingstop named Craig Sherwood SVP of U.S. development on Thursday. He joined the company in August, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- Sherwood, who has about 20 years of restaurant experience, previously served as Little Caesar’s VP of U.S. development and led the chain’s construction, franchising and real estate efforts. He has also worked for Sonic and Yum Brands.
- Sherwood joins Wingstop as the chain seeks to expand from over 1,600 domestic units to more than 4,000, and to more than 7,000 units globally. He will focus on growing the company’s footprint through new and current franchise partnerships.
Wingstop recorded 127 net new unit openings in the first half of the year, a record for the wing chain. This expansion pace, along with AUVs of $1.6 million, is driving existing franchisees to reinvest in the company, CEO Michael Skipworth said in a statement. In May, Wingstop CFO Alex Kaleida said some operators are capturing 70% returns on their investments, which tend to hover around $400,000.
The company has also developed a cash-free, digital-focused prototype, which could appeal to franchisees looking to maximize a rise in digital transactions while minimizing real estate costs. At 1,300 square feet, the new prototype is about 400 square feet smaller than a standard Wingstop unit.
The prototype of this format is being tested in Dallas and is pushing the chain closer to its target of 100% digital transactions. It’s unclear to what degree Sherwood will be involved in the testing of equipment and restaurant configurations at the prototype location.