, UK
Amran Sunner, co-foudner of Wingers. /Wingers

3 reasons why Wingers stopped outsourcing its marination process

The brand wanted full control of its star product.

Gaining more control of its star product, lowering business costs and ensuring consistency are the three main reasons why Wingers turned one of its dark kitchens into a marination centre.

Founders Amran Sunner & Dylan Sunner told QSR Media that when they initially started the business, all of their chicken was marinated in-house but when they started to grow they relegated the task to a local third-party supplier.

“As we’ve developed into a franchise, it is now essential that our customers experience the same great-tasting buttermilk fresh fried chicken in every restaurant, so we were looking for absolute consistency.   With our previous supplier,  we were one of several different customers, compared to now, where our in-house marination station is solely focused on Wingers’ products.  For us, this means we can be very precise and particular about consistency.  It means we can guarantee exactly what is distributed to our stores and when, so our customers have the great-tasting meal they have come to expect from Wingers every time,” Amran explained.

READ MORE: How this family-owned fried chicken business idea hatched during the pandemic

Taking back the in-house marination process was made possible after Wingers recently opened a new restaurant in Aldridge, Birmingham, freeing a nearby dark kitchen.

Now the former 5,000-square-foot dark kitchen is a marination centre and doubles as Wingers’ head office.

“The upstairs will eventually double as our franchise training centre too.  We have a team of six currently working at the marination station.  Some are existing team members who have moved across from stores and some are new. We also handle the logistics in-house and we are growing the team to around ten to accommodate the restaurants we have already and those that are about to open.  These numbers will increase further as we continue to expand,” Dylan said.

The new marination centre was outfitted by the brothers’ mother, Jas, who has a background in catering. Jas led the design and the conversion of the dark kitchen. It is now outfitted with a chiller room and chiller zone to ensure full temperature control, becoming a state-of-the-art marination station.  The fresh marinated chicken is now packed and delivered in our own converted and branded vehicles.

“Wingers is a real family business.  My brother Dylan and I are responsible for finances and operations and also training new franchisees while my dad Bill is the strategist.  My mum, Jas, who is also highly experienced in catering, has led on design and good practice with the conversion of the dark kitchen into the new processing centre,” Amran said.

The brothers calculate that by bringing the marination process in-house, franchisees save around 3% to 4% in overall food costs.

“Consistency and freshness are also key as this is what ensures customers return time and time again.  We could buy frozen chicken as this is cheaper but the quality is simply not there. If we take a tonne of fresh Chicken at mid-day it’s marinated, packed and ready to load up for distribution by 4PM on the same day.  This means our marinated chicken is as fresh as it can be,” Amran said.

“We have ambitions to open 50 Wingers sites across the UK and the new marination station will contribute to helping us achieve this by increasing the profit margins for our franchisees.  We’ve put an experienced team in place to support new franchisees in opening, from site-sourcing to fit-out, recruitment and marketing, training and all processes.  We offer a turn-key solution to store openings to help them reach their full potential.  The marination station is now one of the benefits of the franchise package we offer,” Dylan added.   

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