JD and Jeff Penland, Franchisee Rock Star, East Coast Wings + Grill

What advice do you have for someone considering investing in a franchise?

Know your lifestyle choices and what franchise is adaptable for yourself. Research everything from A-Z.  Interview as many current franchisees as possible to get a census. Set up an infrastructure as soon as possible.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your career in franchising?

I am most proud of progressing and adapting, without losing focus.

What was your career path before you entered franchising?

As a very recent graduate, I entered into the insurance/securities sector before the stock market crashed in 2007-2008. I chose franchising and restaurants in particular because everyone has to eat, regardless of the economy.

As a business owner, what has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

My biggest challenge has been establishing ourselves in new markets with communities and landlords. Also, having the PATIENCE to establish ourselves. It’s also been a challenge adapting to different management styles for different generations of employees.

What do you like most about your franchise organization?

I appreciate the transparency and support from top to bottom in our organization. Our food is elite.

East Coast Wings + Grill is a full service, family dining wings franchise that spotlights buffalo wings. Guests can choose from 60 different award-winning wing flavors and 7 heat indexes, to create over 420 combinations of Buffalo-style wings. Learn More About East Coast Wings + Grill here. 

What is one of the biggest mistakes you made when you were first starting your business? What was your biggest takeaway from it?

Trying to do everything and be everywhere.  A successful business team starts with a solid infrastructure.

Is there a book or podcast you’ve read/listened to that has helped you in starting or building your business?

“The Present,” by Spencer Johnson. While starting and building your business, sometimes you get caught up in the process and planning. This book was given to us by a banker and it was a reminder to enjoy the present… life is short.

How did you build a winning team for your business?

We identified what types of management styles would work for us. We scouted many employees who wanted more than the average… and once we groomed them, we took care of them.  A winning team has a good culture that constantly evolves.

How did you build and maintain a solid relationship with your franchisor?

We earned their trust with substantial progress.  We communicated often and effectively.

What are the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? What have you done to address them?

State protocols and mandates have been our biggest challenges. Navigating through a pandemic with no playbook can be taxing. We made adjustments and remained flexible. It was important to us to communicate as often and effectively with our teams. We embrace each day with an open mind and figure out a better way to do it than the week before.

Learn More About East Coast Wings + Grill

East Coast Wings + Grill is a full service, family dining wings franchise that spotlights buffalo wings. Guests can choose from 60 different award-winning wing flavors and 7 heat indexes, to create over 420 combinations of Buffalo-style wings.

Learn More About East Coast Wings + Grill here. 

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