Robert Earl is really chickening up.
In 2018 the Orlando restaurateur and founder of Planet Hollywood opened the first Chicken Guy! at Disney Springs, a collaboration with celebrity cooking dude Guy Fieri. Since then, they’ve opened CGs in Aventura and at FedEx Stadium in Maryland and Levi’s Stadium in California, the latter two on game days only. The concept looks poised to follow the path of Earl Enterprises’ Earl of Sandwich chain. (I still think Earl of Chicken would have been a better name.)
Now comes Wing Squad, a chicken wing concept with a twist: There are no physical locations – you can’t say, “Hey, honey, let’s head on down to Wing Squad and get a mess of wings.” It’s a delivery-only operation, and the wings, side dishes and desserts are prepared in “ghost kitchens,” which means Wing Squad will not have its own culinary base. The mess will be in your own home or office.
Wing Squad is part of a new company started by Earl called Virtual Dining Concepts. The new company is separate from Earl Enterprises, but Wing Squad will utilize the the decidedly unghostly kitchens of some its restaurants, including Planet Hollywood and Buca di Beppo.
What’s more, Wing Squad – motto: In Squad We Trust – won’t even do the delivering. Ordering and fulfillment will be through existing gig-service operations like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash.
“Food delivery has quickly become an everyday occurrence for many people, so I created Wing Squad as part of my Virtual Dining Concepts network,” Earl said in a statement. “Wing Squad will be delivery only, which allows us to launch from a wide range of locations. With this business model, the sky is the limit.”
Wing Squad does have its own website, but even that has a virtual presence. You can see pictures of the various wing flavors – Buffalo, Cajun, Sweet Chili and such – and such sides as macaroni and cheese and salads. But to order any of it you must click through to your preferred delivery provider. Alternately, Wing Squad will show up as a food option in each delivery service’s website where it is available.
Wing Squad has a limited initial rollout in 16 cities, including Orlando, with more locations to be added. Because, you know, the sky is the limit.