The WingHouse Bar & Grill

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The WingHouse Bar & Grill
Private (franchise)
Industry Food Service
Founded 1994 in Largo, FL
Headquarters

Florida

locations = 27
Key people
Crawford Ker
Products Wings, Burgers, Sandwiches, Alcohol
Revenue $60 million (2008)
Number of employees
1,700
Parent Soaring Wings LLC
Website http://www.winghouse.com/

The WingHouse Bar & Grill, formerly Ker's WingHouse, is a restaurant based in Florida, founded by former National Football League player Crawford Ker.

Investment[edit]

When Ker was playing for the Denver Broncos, he purchased part interest in the Frat House, a restaurant in Gainesville, Florida. The eatery failed, due to numerous underage drinking busts, and Ker lost his entire investment. It was an expensive lesson about absentee ownership.[1]

Opening[edit]

In 1992, Ker retired from the NFL and took a job selling cars at a local dealer. In 1994, he invested half interest in a Largo, Florida wing restaurant called, "Wing House" that imitated Hooters. This time, he was again absentee owner, but Ker's business partner handled the management. After losing $1,000 a month for the first quarter, Crawford was certain he could do a better job. The restaurant was always The Wing House, and the atmosphere was always toned down to make it more family friendly.[1] The restaurant did well and two additional locations were opened in the Tampa Bay area in the following three years.

Lawsuit[edit]

Ker won a $1.2-million jury award from Hooters in late 2004, which had sued him for trademark violations for allegedly using their uniforms and decor. After a three-week trial in which lawyers discussed hula hoops, surfboards, scrunchy socks, pantyhose and something called "vicarious sexual recreation", the jury ruled that no trademark infringement existed and Hooters was penalized for their frivilous lawsuit.[2] Hooters appealed the decision, but in June, 2006, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld the verdict.[3][dead link]

Expansion[edit]

As of 2007, the company had 1,700 employees at 22 locations with revenue of nearly $60 million. Ker attended, and the company participated in, the 2007 National Buffalo Wing Festival and placed first in the traditional x-hot sauce category and gained some national recognition.[4][dead link]

Franchising[edit]

On June 4, 2008 the company announced the launch of its national franchise program. In mid-2008 the chain operated 19 locations in Florida and Texas and expected to add six franchises by the end of 2008, and 48 by 2011. The initial focus was for franchises in the Southeastern US.[5][6][dead link]

WingHouses feature several amenities that differ from other wing restaurants, including Hooters. There is a full liquor bar in every store, sports memorabilia line the walls instead of NASCAR and most locations include a game room.[7]

Charity[edit]

Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida attracted the rich and famous; Ker's WingHouse hosted three events to raise money for charity[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]