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Company: Wingstop Restaurants, Inc.
Category: Employer of the Year - Food & Beverage

Nomination Title: Wingstop Restaurants, Inc.



Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, TX, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) operates and franchises 1,413 locations worldwide. The Wing Experts are dedicated to Serving the World Flavor through an unparalleled guest experience and offering of classic wings, boneless wings and tenders, always cooked- to- order and hand- sauced- and- tossed in fans’ choice of 11 bold, distinctive flavors and signature sides, including seasoned fries and freshly- made ranch, bleu cheese dips.

In 2019, our system- wide sales increased 20.1% year- over- year to $1.5 billion, marking the 16th consecutive year of same store sales growth, and we achieved over 400% shareholder return since our 2015 initial public offering.

With a vision of becoming a Top 10 Global Restaurant Brand, Wingstop is comprised of brand partners (independent franchisees) accounting for over 98% of total restaurants.

Our people are our greatest flavor: their passion make Wingstop an ideal workplace, reflected in engagement scores and professional growth. The Wingstop Way is our guiding foundation: we seek people who enable our core values of being authentic, fun, service- minded , and entrepreneurial. Attracting and retaining talent with these traits, plus hunger (not for wings – but to succeed), humility and willingness to put oneself aside for the greater good, is our objective.

The hustle of the Wingstop team is undeniable; we’re honored to say certifiably so. 2019 to date, we’re a “Best and Brightest Company to Work For” and “Great Place to Work” based on management, diversity and retention. When surveyed across various considerations, Wingstop ranked in the 90th percentile. 2019 marked the third year Great Place to Work® recognized Wingstop, including two consecutive years of honors in 2016 and 2017.

Also considered was our CSR - through Team Member Foundation and Wingstop Charities (WSC), we minister mentorship and sustainability initiatives. Investing in this manner puts into action our core values and affects direct change and development within our communities and people, our greatest flavor. Through the Foundation, 100 percent of donations go to team members in times of financial need due to crisis. Through WSC, we encourage youth in education, sports, arts and career. Spanning our wings in 2020, we donated $1 million to NRAEF to provide grants to restaurant workers impacted by COVID-19 and provided more than 1 million meals to serve front line heroes.

Maintaining authenticity and remaining steadfast in service- minded attitude are at the heart of what we do. To our team, who makes it possible for this beloved brand to soar to great heights, we return the thanks through appreciation measures, including guaranteed bonus, appreciation pay, work from home flexibilities, e- learning, increased safety precautions and communication, continuing Team Member Appreciation Week, Wellness Week, Team Member of the Quarter and other service recognitions, as well as Culture Committee.

With continued growth over a consecutive 16- year period and being the only QSR to make Fortune’s “100 Fastest Growing Companies,” Wingstop sets our sights on new heights.

Our secret sauce isn’t one of our signature dips, or the historic moment where Thrillist named us the, “Marie Kondo of Chicken,” adding comment of our “very few apples- to- apples competitors.” If you ask our CEO Charlie Morrison, it’s about our culture. Profiled by Restaurant Business’, “How Wingstop is Thriving in the Midst of a Pandemic,” Charlie states, “The strength of the culture of our company is that it’s open. It fosters a deep sense of teamwork and trust.”

Wingstop is very collaborative as an organization. While others have meetings, we coach this into our organization with cross- functional support from our senior leadership team, to our People, Learning & Development teams and beyond. Our commitment to excellence in our human resources practices and team enrichment makes us, “unique and different.” We can “pivot and make the right investments” in ways our competitors may be unable.

Wingstop also sharpened and amplified our strategic tagline (“Where Flavor Gets Its Wings)” through relationships with DISNEY, TWITCH, Discovery, Inc, NBC Universal, and across primetime, Spanish- language and sports programming. Not only did this enhance our brand awareness in front of new and existing guests for our brand partners globally, it also gave liftoff to our “Where Careers Get Their Wings” platform to exude flavor from recruitment to onboarding. Wingstop is well positioned to become a Top 10 brand.

Wingstop values and the categories that make us a “Great Place to Work”, we stepped forward in June 2020 as a growth brand amongst top global restaurant brands to express outrage and call to action in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Our CEO Charlie Morrison declared, “These acts of violence and the blatant disregard for basic humanity and human rights do not have a place in our country or world, and certainly not at Wingstop.” In response to these events, Wingstop an open forum that was raw, emotional, powerful and authentic in every sense of the word and our values. Furthermore, Wingstop is bringing team members together to form a task force and inform a go- forward plan centered around action and accountability long term. The QSR article: https://www.qsrmagazine.com/fast-food/restaurant-leaders-we-must-be-part-solution

We explained our wings were having a moment of their own, and specified that at Wingstop, “Careers Get Their Wings.” Using our “Where Flavor Gets Its Wings” platform to supercharge what we can do as a team, exuding flavor in everything, while remaining fun, authentic, service- minded and entrepreneurial. In 2019, we were recognized for our hard work, progressiveness and passion in the Fast Casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers list. Not only is our brand recognized for our contributions, but so are our team members, both within the industry and internally within our company. Further congratulations to CEO Charlie Morrison for his NRN 2020 Power List feature.

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