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Wingstop’s Preliminary Q1 Sales Show Strong Growth Despite Coronavirus

By Rhian Hunt – Apr 7, 2020 at 11:19AM

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The chicken wing specialist was already mostly providing takeout and delivery.

Though Wingstop's (WING 1.52%) official results won't be issued until May 6, the company provided preliminary sales results today that show nearly 10% same-store growth through the first quarter. Soaring through the COVID-19 pandemic's economic disruption unscathed thanks to a delivery-oriented business model, the aviation-themed chicken wing chain continued generating revenue through march, when most other restaurant companies faltered.

The news release states overall same-store sales growth for the quarter amounted to 9.9% for domestic locations. While the sales were higher in the first month of Q1 than in March, even the coronavirus couldn't stall Wingstop's barnstorming performance, with sales rising by 8.6% between Feb. 23 and March 28.

A large pile of chicken wings in a basket.

Image source: Getty Images.

Other positive figures highlighted in the press release include an 18.6% jump in systemwide sales year over year. The company even managed 28 net worldwide openings at a time when many others in the restaurant sector found their expansion plans halted or reversed by the pandemic. Today, 1,413 Wingstop restaurants are operational across the world.

As CEO Charlie Morrison remarked, the restaurant chain's business model was already mainly focused on off-premise sales long before the novel coronavirus emerged. Carryout and delivery accounted for approximately 80% of business prior to COVID-19. When the company shut its dining areas in mid-March, the transition to 100% takeout and delivery was easy, as the quoted sales figures show.

To help customers with the new model, Wingstop is currently offering free delivery through April 30. It also provided 80,000 meals to food banks nationwide and has been serving food to hospital personnel out of its food trucks at many locations.

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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