Brian Hurowitz is the owner of Wings Over in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brian is an avid entrepreneur and his versatile skill set includes experience in management and leadership positions in several big retail brands. He also had the opportunity to attend a culinary school in Switzerland through a program at the University of Massachusetts, further driving his passion for the culinary arts.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Brian Hurowitz shares his career path and his love of the culinary arts
- Important processes most people don’t know before becoming a franchisee
- Brian discusses some of the changes in the hospitality industry
- How to maintain quality levels in a multi-unit business
In this episode…
In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen welcomes Brian Hurowitz, owner of Wings Over in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They discuss Brian’s career journey and his culinary influences from around the world, the importance of maintaining the quality of products and services when growing your business, and the way the hospitality industry has changed over the years. Brian also shares some of the lesser-known business processes for becoming a franchisee.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise 25 Media, we featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world
Chad Franzen 0:20
Chad Franzen here co-host for the show where we feature top restaurant tours investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn Series.SpotOn has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant, where they combined marketing software and payments all in one. They’ve saved everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and subway to small mom and pop restaurants. To learn more, go to spoton.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25 We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients, referral partners and thought leaders in your space. There’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to rise25media.com or email us at email@example.com Brian Hurowitz loves working with food he went to culinary school in Switzerland and worked as a chef in Australia for a year. Brian now lives in Pittsburgh where he owns and operates two Wings Over Pittsburgh franchises and is in the process of opening to PrimoHoagies locations. Hey, Brian, thanks for joining me today. How are you?
Brian Hurowitz 1:24
Hey, Chad, thanks so much for having me. I’m doing well how about yourself?
Chad Franzen 1:28
I’m doing well. Thank you so much. Hey, tell me about Wings Over Pittsburgh and what a customer can expect when they go there.
Brian Hurowitz 1:35
Absolutely. So Wings Over Pittsburgh is very very close personal favorite brands of my actually started at UMass where I went to to college. And that’s how I first found out about them and they just have the absolute best wings, best boneless tenders and extremely fast delivery. So as a as a college student that loved loved, that type of food. I would get it all the time. And so when you order it Wings Over, you can expect top quality chicken products. The best crispy is juice that juiciest bone and wings, nice big juicy tenders 25 different flavors to choose from, and different sides and drinks and everything else to complete the meal.
Chad Franzen 2:14
So you were a fan of that when you were in college. There’s a lot of franchise options out there though. What What attracted you specifically to becoming a Wings Over franchisee?
Brian Hurowitz 2:23
So for me, it’s about that close personal connection. I did train as a chef, I did work in a number of restaurants. And I think in a perfect world I would have loved to open you know, Brian’s restaurant with Brian’s menu. But in today’s landscape that opening a restaurant is extremely risky endeavor. And so I made the decision to go with franchising because I was starting a business and I had helped with the build out the design in the middle. So as a chef, I’m going to give up that right and the ability to create the menu and do those offerings. It had to be a best-in-class brand. There’s a ton of different franchises that people can work with. And you can do really well with them. But for me, it had to be best in class best in class best in class.
Chad Franzen 3:05
Yeah. Tell me a little bit about your background. In the restaurant industry prior to this. I know you have a lot of international experience.
Brian Hurowitz 3:12
Absolutely. So I have my first job in high school. But like many, many kids, I got a job at the local retirement home and I started off as a server. And then I got moved back into the kitchen and I learned everything from running the cafe to doing dish to setting up doing Expo. Once I have really realized how much I enjoyed that I started studying hospitality and tourism management at at UMass Amherst. I specifically chose that program because it was one of the best hospitality programs. And they also offered the one year abroad in Switzerland that I was able to do. So I met with my professor who was the liaison for the program my freshman year. And I said, Hey, I’m really interested in doing this my junior year, I figured I would you know reach out to introduce myself see what I need to do. He asked me, you know what my goals were? And I said, you know, I think I’m much more interested in food and restaurants than hotels. And he said, well, the school that you want to go to for your study abroad program is a world-class culinary school. And he actually took the initiative to renegotiate the terms of the study abroad program and allowed me to go to culinary school in Switzerland while still getting credits for my hotel management degree back here in the States. Once I did that, that really was the launching point for everything. I had six months of love school, from a chef in a small village. I then worked in a hotel as an intern in one of the ski areas for six months. I went back to UMass, I finished my bachelor’s degree. And because I’d already done their equivalent of four semesters worth of work in Switzerland. I only needed one more semester to graduate. So I went back and I finished that degree by doing the pastry program. What came back to the States. I lived with my parents for a few years to help pay off my college debt. And I got hired by a local restaurant called Masa and the family who ran Masa. They were are a Portuguese family who made pizza and started a restaurant. And so they had a lot of really cool Portuguese dishes. But then they had myself and a head chef who got to play around and work with the rest of the menu. After doing that, for a couple of years, I got the opportunity to go to Australia, they have a really cool program for anybody who doesn’t know called the it’s a 12 month visa, it’s called the Working Holiday. And if you’re under the age of 30, and you have a valid US passport, you can go online, you can apply it’s like a three or $400 fee, and they grant you a visa. So I got to go to Australia, and I got to travel for a few months. And I ended up working in an amazing efficiency food restaurant in Melbourne, which they’re very well known for that because they’re right on the coast. And that was just such an incredible experience overall.
Chad Franzen 5:48
Great. So where was your first Wings Over location here in the States? And what were the early days like there?
Brian Hurowitz 5:55
Absolutely So I first reached out to win the Wings Over team around 2018, about inquiring for franchising. And the reason I had done that, like I said about them being such a great company, but also they didn’t have any locations in the Philadelphia area. And that’s where I was born and raised. And so the original plan was going to be reached out to wings, build out a restaurant in the Philadelphia area and see if I can build a group from there. During my discovery with them, I found out that they had a location in Pittsburgh, and the prior franchisee was getting ready to retire. And so I had a decision to make, I can take over, I can move across the state I can take over an existing or I can pay all the money to start up a new one. And I said No, thanks. I’ll move. Absolutely. So in the summer of 2019, I moved out to Pittsburgh, to take over Wings Over Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh, Southside. And that was seven months before COVID hits. So to answer your question, it was an absolutely wild ride.
Chad Franzen 6:48
So yeah, tell me a little bit about it.[Continue to Page 2]