Tina D. Howell, a mother of three, became a brand new Wingstop franchisee in 2002. Today, she is raking in $1.5 million annually making her a top production franchisee for the chain In South Florida.
Howell, a former school teacher who also owns home agency Virtual Home Care Inc. in Dallas, opened her first Wingstop location in Miami in 2003. In 2016, she opened a second.
Howell told TNJ.com how and why she got into the franchise business and whats ahead for her.
TNJ.com: Why did you want to become a Wingstop franchise?
Tina Howell: I wanted to become a Wingstop franchise for two reasons. The first reason is that I love the product. When I first started exploring the opportunity of opening a franchise, I was frequently commuting between Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. Miami did not have a Wingstop franchise and hence did not have a place for me to enjoy the lemon pepper wings I loved. As a result, I started looking into franchise opportunities in the Miami-Dade County area of South Florida. The other reason is that I owned a business in the healthcare industry and wanted to diversify my business holdings.
TNJ.com: What was the process like?
T.H.: Back in the early 2000s, Wingstop was still a young company. The process back then was a lot simpler than it is today. I basically had to prove that I meet the requirement for minimum investment dollars and net worth.
TNJ.com: What were your initial thoughts when you opened the franchise?
T.H.: My initial feeling was one of pride for being the first to open a Wingstop franchise in Dade County. It was challenging for me because I was new to the restaurant industry. However, it was a simple business to run and I was excited and appreciative of the opportunity.
TNJ.com: How do you account for your amazing success?
T.H.: Hard work, dedication and relationships. I have had a great deal of support from Wingstop employees and executives. Even now as the company has grown, I still have the comfort of knowing that I can speak to someone at corporate who will hear me out and offer assistance as best they can. Wingstop has always asked its franchisees to focus on producing a quality product and offering great service. I focus on my restaurants being the best they can be with the goal of performing in the top percentage of Wingstop restaurants across the country.
TNJ.com: What are your goals for 2016?
T.H.: My goals for 2016 are to improve sales and customer service in my current restaurants as I begin the process of opening two additional locations.
TNJ.com: What are your long term goals?
T.H.: My long term goal as it pertains to Wingstop is to have as many well run and profitable restaurants as I can, all producing a healthy bottom line to fund my retirement account.