Coyote Ugly Launches Expansion
In 1993, Liliana “Lil” Lovell founded the Coyote Ugly Saloon, a rowdy, western-themed spot in New York City’s East Village. More than 20 years and a million bar antics later, Coyote Ugly is now a household name and looking to further expand its international footprint.
With 20 locations already open and operating in nine states and four countries, Coyote Ugly is focusing on aggressive franchise expansion in non-U.S. territories, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom, among others. Meanwhile, the iconic brand is continuing to grow through corporate locations in the United States.
“I always saw bartending as a means to an end, but I think it never really hit me how far this thing had gone until we started opening saloons abroad,” said Lovell, who quit a Wall Street job at the age of 24 to launch Coyote Ugly. “As Coyote Ugly’s fame continues to grow, we look forward to taking the world by storm one boot-stomping, drink pouring bar at a time.”
After graduating from New York University in 1990, Lovell began her career as a stock broker’s assistant on Wall Street. Making only $250 a week, she moonlighted at an East Village bar where her wild antics – dancing on the bar and yelling at patrons – garnered her more tips a night than the brokerage paid in a week. By 1993, she had saved about $70,000, enough to open the first Coyote Ugly.
Today, Coyote Ugly has become widely recognized as the most famous bar on the planet, featuring beautiful female bartenders and dancers who have made pouring drinks an art form. Each night sexy, sassy, tough-talking “Coyotes” ascend the bars to perform bold shows filled with choreographed dance numbers and stunts ranging from body shots to clogging. As for the drinks, the rule is hard-nosed: no “frou frou” shaken or stirred concoctions, and nothing that requires a blender or more than two ingredients to make.
“The energy inside our bars is amazing. From the moment you walk in the door it is a sensory overload of great music, entertainment and fun,” Lovell said. “Guys’ or girls’ night out? Hot date? Big group of friends? It’s fun for everyone. There isn’t anything like it. Period.”
In 2000, a film based on the New York location, “Coyote Ugly,” brought added attention to Lovell’s burgeoning brand, with the help of stars like Maria Bello, Tyra Banks and LeAnn Rimes. The movie went on to gross more than $100 million worldwide and establish Coyote Ugly as one of the most popular bars in the world.
To augment the company’s growth, Coyote Ugly is actively seeking highly qualified franchisee brand partners. The initial cost to build a Coyote Ugly Saloon ranges from $500,000-$1,000,000, which includes construction, furniture, equipment, brand dress, working capital and other miscellaneous start-up expenses. Part of this investment is the initial franchise fee, which is $60,000 for a Single Agreement and $120,000 for a Multi-unit agreement.
“We offer an international franchise program full of fun, support, high profits, and recognitions of one of the world’s best known brands,” said Justin Livingston, Vice President of Global Development for Coyote Ugly. “With more than 20 years of experience, 20 saloons worldwide, a blockbuster movie and three seasons of a reality TV show, we have everything it takes to dominate our segment.”