Arooga’s offers guests the choice of more than 100 signature sauce combinations, as well as bone-in, boneless, “skinny” and twice-baked wings. Arooga’s received Harrisburg Magazine’s “Simply the Best Wings” award last year and for the past five years the restaurant has taken first place for its wings at the National Buffalo Wing Festival. “Our food sets us apart,” Huether says.
And if the food wasn’t enough to bring in the crowds, guests are enticed by the wide selection of sports available on more than 100 televisions in each of its nine locations. Arooga’s also offers a selection of more than 30 draft beers, many being craft beers. “It’s a sports bar on steroids,” Huether jokes. “We are able to compete with casual dining during the day, local bars in the evening and, when you want to watch sports, there is nowhere else to watch sports other than Arooga’s.”
To expand the brand’s footprint, Arooga’s recently signed an agreement in the New England market with The Mohegan Tribe that will develop more than 15 locations over the next five years. The Mohegan Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in Uncasville, Conn. The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority operates the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, one of the world’s largest casinos with more than $1.2 billion in revenue. It also operates the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, the 12,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
“We are excited to announce this agreement with the Mohegan Tribe,” says Keith Swade, franchise development. “They are a world-class organization and a leader in the hospitality and gaming industry. We could not ask for a better partner to develop the New England market for Arooga’s.”
Construction on the brand’s first franchise restaurant began the summer of 2014 and is located adjacent to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Franchise Edge and Sysco Foodservice named Arooga’s “America’s Next Top Restaurant Franchise” in 2013 out of 250 other entrants. Arooga’s will continue to open corporate owned restaurants, but it is focused on selling more franchises. “Now that we have done our first franchise, I think that will attract more opportunities our way,” Huether says.
Entertainment and ordering are now available at the touch of a button inside Arooga’s with its new Buzztime tablet that features a seven-inch touchscreen. The tablets are connected to a network that delivers single or multiple player games, such as trivia and Texas Hold ‘Em, and are pre-loaded with more than 25 arcade games for guests of all ages. Additional features, such as requesting songs and television programs, ordering food and drinks, and paying the bill are also available on the tablet.
“Technology is important and the millennials embrace it,” Huether says. “The tablet will attract guests to us. We do see that when people are involved in the games, they stay longer. That means extra food or an extra beer.”