Coyote Ugly walked off with the Best Food & Drink category Award in this year’s Global Franchise Awards. Vice President of Global Development Justin Livingston introduces the all-American brand that’s now rolling out locations from Wales to Japan
How would you describe Coyote Ugly?
Coyote Ugly is more than a bar, it’s a party every night, it’s a culture, an experience. Coyote Ugly Saloon is a place to let your hair down, interact with the amazing Coyotes (bartenders) and make amazing memories – if you can remember them!
How did Coyote Ugly come into being?
The Coyote Ugly legend began with a girl, a dream, and a splash of Wild Turkey, back in 1993. At this time, Liliana “Lil” Lovell, a 24-year-old Wall Street apprentice-turned-bartender was gaining notoriety for her antics on the bar as well as behind it. But working the same old bar was making Lovell restless, and she was soon ready to make a move of her own. She drew up what was to become an industry-disrupting business plan: beautiful girls + booze = money. It was a simple equation but one that challenged the way the bar industry had always worked and gave birth to a culture that soon became world famous.
How did you develop the business?
Coyote Ugly has a culture so unique they made a movie about it, sky-rocketing the brand to world-wide recognition. Since then, the bar has expanded through a combination of corporate locations in the United States and finding the perfect franchise partners in non-US markets. The key to expanding the brand was to package the unique, quirky, party culture in such a way that we were able duplicate the concept while staying true to our original identity.
When did you begin franchising and how successful has this been?
The official franchising program for Coyote Ugly began in 2015 and this has paved the way for the brand to successfully enter markets in seven countries – with many more on the horizon. By selecting only the most suitable franchisees, we have ensured that each partner is fully-committed to translating this world-famous brand into their own markets, while maintaining the integrity of the Coyote Ugly culture.
How would you account for this success?
Patience is key. Coyote Ugly has a global reputation and our success to date is due largely to our relentless commitment to protect that reputation. Our brand is our identity so taking time and exerting the effort to understand new markets, find great franchise partners, and provide a training and support system unrivalled in franchising have allowed us to keep the brand intact and continue our expansion into new markets and various cultures.
What does winning Best Food & Drink Franchise mean to Coyote Ugly?
Winning the Best Food & Drink Franchise is an honor. For 25 years, Coyote Ugly has been known as the most exciting, most entertaining and most original bar in the world. This award highlights the well-oiled, behind-the-scenes systems that allow Coyote Ugly to maintain its reputation wherever it is situated. It’s a privilege to be selected among many great concepts as a brand which has created not only the most famous bar in the world but also a powerhouse franchise program that can duplicate that success and develop others as industry leaders in the bar and nightclub industry.