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Wingstop Expands Global Franchise Footprint to Saudi Arabia

DALLAS, Aug. 04, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wingstop, Inc. (NASDAQ:WING), the award-winning wing concept with more than 900 locations worldwide, today announced an international franchise agreement with Atheela Al Arabia (Atheela) for the exclusive rights to open Wingstop restaurants throughout Saudi Arabia. The agreement, which significantly expands Wingstop’s presence in the Middle East, includes development by Atheela of 100 restaurants across Saudi Arabia over the next ten years. The first sites are planned for the city of Riyadh in 2017.

Atheela is a newly created entity funded and led by Fahad Bin-Hithleen and Fahad Al Muqbil. Mr. Bin-Hithleen is the chairman of the Fahad Bin-Hithleen Group, which has extensive experience in the local retail industry, including several fashion and vending businesses, as well as a portfolio of food-related franchises such as the Crêpe Café, which has several branches across the Kingdom.

Fahad Al Muqbil is the founder and chairman of the Fahad Al Muqbil Group of companies, which includes major real estate investment firms responsible for the development and facilitation of some of the largest and most popular malls across the Kingdom. Among the companies included in the Fahad Al Muqbil Group are Wabel Al Arabia, which owns one of the largest and most diverse Shopping Centre portfolios in the Kingdom, and Kayannat Real Estate Company, developers of Al Diriyah Festival City, Saudi Arabia’s largest shopping mall, currently under development. Mr. Muqubil is also the main investor of the Hospitality Board Company, which operates 200 branches of various well-known restaurant chains, including Cinnabon, Canton, Sizzler House, Tako Hut, Roma Way and Coffee Aroma.

“We are proud to partner with Atheela for the development of these first 100 locations in Saudi Arabia, which will significantly grow our international footprint,” said Charlie Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of Wingstop. “The success of our more than sixty international Wingstop locations, including our recent opening in the UAE, has created global excitement for the brand and is driving cravings for our freshly prepared, handcrafted wings throughout the Middle East, and beyond. This new deal with Atheela is a significant next step in our plan to deliver wings across the region and in our mission to ‘Serve the World Flavor.’”

Fahad Bin-Hithleen, Executive Chair of Atheela and Wingstop franchisee added, “We are very pleased to be associated with Wingstop, the leading global fast casual chicken wing concept, and look forward to opening our first locations in Saudi Arabia in 2017. The brand will leverage Atheela’s foodservice experience, our real estate holdings and relationships.”

Larry Kruguer, President of International at Wingstop also commented, “Saudi Arabia is a vibrant market with an affinity for American restaurant brands and proven interest in our product. We are fortunate to have a partner such as Atheela with a seasoned ownership and management team helping to deliver the Wingstop brand experience to a new fan base in the Middle East.”

Wingstop is a U.S. based restaurant brand with a sole focus on freshly prepared, cooked-to-order, hand-sauced and tossed chicken wings and side dishes. Saudi Arabia marks Wingstop’s sixth international market outside of the United States. For more information on Wingstop franchising, visit www.wingstop.com/own-a-wingstop/.

About Wingstop:
Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ:WING) operates and franchises 914 restaurants across the United States, Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates. Having grown its domestic same store sales for 12 consecutive years, the Company has been ranked #3 on the “Top 100 Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains” by Nation’s Restaurant News (2016), #7 on the “Top 40 Fast Casual Chains” by Restaurant Business (2016), and was named “Best Franchise Deal in North America” by QSR magazine (2014). Wingstop also recently earned recognition as a certified Great Place to Work® (2016). The Wing Experts’ menu features classic and boneless wings with 11 bold, distinctive flavors including Original Hot, Cajun, Atomic, Mild, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Louisiana Rub and Mango Habanero. Wingstop’s wings are always cooked to order, hand-sauced and tossed and served with a variety of house-made sides including hand-cut, seasoned fries. For more information visit www.wingstop.com or www.wingstopfranchise.com. Follow us on facebook.com/Wingstop and Twitter @Wingstop.

Certain statements contained in this news release, as well as other information provided from time to time by Wingstop Inc. or its employees, may contain forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward looking statements. You can identify forward-looking statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. These statements may include words such as “guidance,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “believe,” “confident,” “may,” “should,” “can have,” “likely,” “future” and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of the timing or nature of future operating or financial performance or other events. Examples of forward-looking statements in this news release include our fiscal year 2016 outlook for new restaurant openings, domestic same store sales growth, total revenue, SG&A expenses, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income, adjusted earnings per pro-forma diluted share and our diluted share count, as well as our anticipated potential domestic restaurant expansion opportunity and positioning to deliver sustainable and profitable growth.

Any such forward looking statements are not guarantees of performance or results, and involve risks, uncertainties (some of which are beyond the Company’s control) and assumptions. Although we believe any forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, you should be aware that many factors could affect our actual financial results and cause them to differ materially from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements. Please refer to the risk factors discussed in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 26, 2015, which can be found at the SEC’s website www.sec.gov. The discussion of these risks is specifically incorporated by reference into this news release.

Any forward-looking statement made by Wingstop Inc. in this press release speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

Media Contact Joy Murphy 646-277-1242 Investor Contact Raphael Gross 203-682-8253

Source:Wingstop Restaurants, Inc.