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The rise of the Coyote
The rise of the Coyote

Case Study

The rise of the Coyote

After a tumultuous journey navigating the recent pandemic, Coyote Ugly is growing once again

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Coyote Ugly, a bar so incredible they made a movie, CMT reality shows and countless articles detailing its operations, is back on the rise. With Covid-19 putting Coyote Ugly’s worldwide expansion on hold since 2020, the brand is turning its attention back to growth and bringing the experience to every market across the globe.

Over 25 years after owner and founder Liliana “Lil” Lovell started the small bar in New York City, Coyote Ugly finds itself in a new day. As we move closer to a post-pandemic world, many things have changed, but the need for community, fun and a unique customer experience is stronger now than ever.

With the reopening of a new flagship location in New York City, not far from where the story began; the reopening of the post-bombing Nashville location, which sees lines down the block every night; and the brand’s latest opening in London, adding to their already massive U.K. presence, the brand is bringing the Coyote experience to customers who have been craving the unique experience of boot-stomping fun.

A place for female empowerment

In the early 90s, Lovell never imagined she was onto something that would be such a huge, worldwide success. In the beginning, the New York City bar scene, like most bar scenes across the globe, was dominated by male bartenders and had an offering undistinguishable from the bar next door. It was in that mundane, ordinary nightlife scene that Lovell saw an opportunity.

“I think women want to feel empowered, not just here in the U.S., but in other markets as well. Being empowered to be a world-famous Coyote gives females all over the world inspiration to do something new and be bold,” says Lovell. “Back then, it was time to shake things up. Now, all these years later, it’s amazing to see women all over being their most fun and unique version of themselves, while bringing the brand experience to the masses.”

In a world full of bars, do something different

Coyote Ugly is a place where culture reigns supreme. The focus on the unique customer experience led this small bar in the East Village of NYC to change the industry, creating a culture of fun, pushing the limits, empowering women on (and behind) the bar, with a party unlike any other. The concept incorporates the customers into the show and the atmosphere of constant celebration sets the brand apart from other nightlife offerings. This is certainly not your standard, run-of-the-mill bar where you stand around all night, trying to make conversation, but have nothing to talk about.

A good time is the universal language

With expansion at the forefront, Coyote Ugly continues to open and operate bars worldwide. While seeking new franchise partners both in and outside of the U.S., the brand takes great care in translating the culture to each individual market. “It’s unique to have such a large, well-known, powerhouse brand like Coyote Ugly still available in major markets as a franchise opportunity,” says Justin Livingston, VP of global development for the brand.

“We put a lot of time and energy into translating the concept to other countries and cultures, deciding what our non-negotiables were and what we were willing to localize. At the heart of the Coyote Ugly culture is a focus on fun, customer engagement, independent and empowered female bartenders, and a party atmosphere, and that has translated so well into other countries as well as markets here domestically,” says Livingston.

Coyotes, a unique breed of bartender

Coyote Ugly currently operates worldwide and the list of countries continues to grow. Booze + girls = money seems to be a language spoken all over the world and the party continues to spread. “All human cultures share the same desires to socialize and connect with one another. With Coyote Ugly, you can do that while being entertained by the most amazing bartenders in the industry, which is an experience today’s customers are demanding,” says Lee Killingsworth, chief creative officer for the brand.

Keeping the pack on track

Coyote Ugly has systems and processes developed by over 25 years of operations and pioneering in the industry. Behind the systems is a team dedicated to exploring and understanding new cultures towards which to tailor the brand.

Maintaining brand integrity is key as the brand continues to grow. With all the craziness that a night at Coyote Ugly can bring, there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes to create a successful business. Training, operational systems, and best-in-class support provided by the concept is how the company expands the Coyote Ugly culture while keeping the brand intact.

“The recipe for a successful expansion has two main ingredients,” says Livingston. “A total understanding and commitment to our brand, and training and operational programs to help translate that expertise to the franchise system.”

A chance to be a worldwide legend

In Coyote Ugly Saloons across the world, you will find environments incorporating local music and local alcohol, but the theme and feeling remain the same.

The world is a big place and Coyote Ugly shows no slowing down in its pursuit to bring the boot-stomping, rowdy, country-themed party to markets and cultures in every corner of the globe. “We’re taking the most famous bar brand in the world and offering not only the power and history of the brand but a support and training franchise program unparalleled in the industry, setting up the right franchisees for amazing success!” says Livingston.

Franchisees for the brand are hands-on, have a deep understanding of their local market and a commitment to following Coyote Ugly’s franchise system. Bringing Coyote Ugly to a market sets the owner up to become a key player in the bar and nightclub retail sector.

At a glance

Year established: 1993
Number of outlets: 23
Location of units: Worldwide
Investment range: $500,000 – $1,500,000
Minimum required capital: $250,000

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