It’s not uncommon to read about a sports star who squandered his fortune living the high life. But how cool is it to read about an athlete who tries his luck at entrepreneurship and opens a business? That’s the story of Philadelphia native Raheem Brock, Super Bowl winning NFL athlete turned entrepreneur. After signing a five year, $23.5 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006, Brock opened Wing Stop, a national chicken wing franchise, on Temple University’s Main Campus.
As a Temple University Alumni, Raheem Brock was very familiar with the North Philadelphia hybrid-market surrounding campus, which is comprised of both students and predominately African American residents. Given the neighborhood demographics, a Wing Stop franchise seemed like a good investment, so he opened up shop @ 1600 N Broad Street, in the Avenue North strip mall.
The beginning of Raheem Brock’s entrepreneurial career wasn’t easy. Despite his capital and clout around campus, Brock made some rookie mistakes that hurt his business early on. In a recent interview with Black Enterprise Magazine, Brock talks about the learning curve and challenges with franchising. He tells BE:
“Franchising was kinda tough. If I had to do it differently I would have done more research, more homework. It was a tough process, to be stuck in somebody’s rules and you can’t bend them or they’ll penalize you. [Without the Franchise] I don’t have to pay an annual fee to anybody, so that’s great.”
Inspiring entrepreneurs, like Raheem Brock, who have the capital but lack the time and expertise to build a startup, usually invest in franchises in order to accelerate their ROI and jump the business learning curve. But there’s a trade-off. Franchisees trade in their autonomy for marketing and expertise in products and processes. Raheem was forced to abide by all of Wing Stops’ rules because he bore their name. He couldn’t introduce new products or services without getting penalized. So he dropped the Wing Stop name, ditched their franchise fees, and rebranded the businesses as Brocks Wings & Things.
But Brock had another big problem. He was a full-time NFL player with an intense workout and travel schedule. He doesn’t have time to run a business. Although investors hire professional managers to run their business all the time, those investors are usually the savvy-type with years of business experience. Brock was a first-time, absentee entrepreneur on his first venture. He continues with BE:
The hardest part was getting the right manager that I could trust. He worked with a lot of family and the family thing just never works.
Brock signed with the Seattle Seahawks on September 8th 2010 just before the start of the NFL regular season. At the same time, a new season was beginning on Temple’s campus, too. It was the start of the 2010 Fall Semester. In 2010, Temple brought in its largest class ever –a record breaking 7,000 new students, of whom 4,300 were freshman according to the Temple News Center. But Brock was literally on the other side of country in Seattle, Washington. He left his business in the hands of half-baked managers who couldn’t cut it and the business suffered (Read Yelps Reviews).
Today, the challenges are even more daunting for Raheem Brock’s establishment, as food competition around Avenue North is fiercer than ever. In the Fall of 2013, Temple opened Morgan Hall on Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave, directly across the street from Brock’s Wings & Things. Morgan Hall is a plush, 33-floor student residences that sits on top of a Food Court that host strong chicken businesses like Broad Street BBQ and Tony Luke’s.
Brock’s Wings and Things for Sale. $80k Price Tag.
It seems like Raheem Brock has had enough already. Brocks Wings & Things is currently on sale for $80,000 which includes fixed assets and inventory. This might be a great opportunity for an entrepreneur with the time and energy to launch event marketing initiatives to lure in students. From our perspective, the next Brock’s Wings & Things owner has to dominate the sports conversation on campus. They should take a page out of the Buffalo Wild Wings playbook and add craft beer to the product line. E-licenses (for take-out beer) are available in the city of Philadelphia for about $50k. Acquiring an E-License would be a Touchdown, and a key differentiation point against other campus chicken competitors.
There are more positives to Brock’s Wings & Things, too. Although the Yelps ratings trend negative, if you look what customer are staying about the wings you’d be pleasantly surprised. People love the food. One Yelps Review had this to say:
Customer service is a management issue that definitely fixable with the right people in place. The new buyer will benefit from Raheem Brock’s almost 7 years of experience in the chicken wing industry. Temple Sports is getting better which is great for brand association. 1,275 more students are living right on Broad Street thanks to Morgan Hall. Temple is a great market with big opportunities for food-based entrepreneurs.
For purchase inquiries and more information on Brock’s Wings & Things, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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