Tina D. Howell, a mother of three and a former school teacher, realized that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be a successful entrepreneur. So in 2003, she decided to open a Wingstop franchise in Miami, Florida. She went on to open a total of four franchises, and later divested interest in two of the locations. Now, as an award-winning entrepreneur, she generates about $1.5 million in annual revenue – making her one of the top production franchisees for the chain.
But why chicken wings?
The chicken wing business is very, very lucrative in the United States. Believe it or not, but Americans eat 25 billion chicken wings every year, and according to MarketWatch.com, about 1.3 billion chicken wings are consumed during the Super Bowl weekend alone.
During an interview with The Network Journal, Tina commented, “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.”
Opening a franchise is not that easy, but possible
Wingstop, like other franchises, have expensive start-up costs. The initial investment costs include franchisee fees, real estate, construction, and more. For many franchises, this can cost $100,000 or more upfront. In addition, all franchisees usually have to go through some type of training program. For Wingstop, Tina had to complete a comprehensive four-week training program at their restaurant support center in Dallas, Texas.
She comments, “Back in the 2000’s, 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.” She admits, however, “It was challenging for me because I was new to the restaurant industry.”
Her advice to others
Tina says its all about hard work, dedication and building relationships. She comments, “We are who we believe we are. We can accomplish what we believe we can accomplish. What we think is powerful, and what we believe to be true is important. Activities that promote personal growth and development are at the top of my to-do list. I realize that I am not perfect, but I’m to accept what is as part of the process as I error, grow and learn.”
In 2015, Black Enterprise Magazine named her “Franchisee of the Year” for her Wingstop franchise in South Florida. And, she is currently in the process of expanding her presence in South Florida with the development of two additional locations.
On top of all that she runs Virtual Home Care Inc., one of the largest minority-owned home health agencies, located in Dallas, Texas.
For more details about Tina D. Howell, visit www.tinadhowell.com