3 Crazy Things Brewing at Buffalo Wild Wings
Nov 10th 2013 8:02AM
Updated Nov 10th 2013 8:04AM
When you walk into a Buffalo Wild Wings you know what to expect: Wings. Beer. Sports.
It's a simple concept that has taken off since the early 1980's, growing from a single location near Ohio State University to the $2.7 billion market-cap, 949-location international chain that it is today.
Buffalo Wild Wings has its sights set even higher: Its goal is to have 1,700 locations open over the next 10 years.
But increasing the number of eateries isn't the only way the company plans to grow.
Here's what's brewing at Buffalo Wild Wings
During its third quarter conference call, CEO Sally Smith revealed a few zingers about what's in store for the chain's future.
1. Buffalo TV at your table
Have you seen the new tabletop tablets at Buffalo Wild Wings? The tablets have debuted in roughly 45 locations so far, and by 2014 almost all of the U.S. company-owned and franchise locations will have tablets. During the next several quarters the tablets will also get music service and Order and Pay functions.
But there's something new in store for channel surfers -- an exclusive station, called the B-Dubs Network, that'll have interactive sports content available only in Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants.
During the conference call Smith didn't reveal too much, only intimating that the programming would be,"...proprietary within stores running specialized content, some things with the different partners that we're partnering with...I've got some examples, but I'm not ready to share those."
2. More frothy cold additions to the beer menu
Buffalo Wild Wing customers sure like their brews. In fact, the chain pours more draft beer than any other U.S. restaurant brand.
It's only natural that the company has its own signature beverage. Buffalo Wild Wings recently collaborated with Craft Brew Alliance to develop Game Changer Ale, designed to pair perfectly with wings. The custom brew also increases profit margins for the chain.
Smith mentioned during the conference call that beer prices have been increasing across the board, and that she expected that trend to continue. So don't be surprised to see an expanded selection of custom brews padding the menu and the company's profit margins.
3. An entirely new restaurant concept
Buffalo Wild Wings didn't start out as Buffalo Wild Wings; back in 1982 it was known as Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck. Weck is a Western New York specialty, roast beef sandwich on caraway (weck) rolls with au jus.
The company dropped the Weck part early. Over the years it has shown that it's not afraid of monkeying with the menu. The menu has expanded to include more options besides chicken, including more beef choice, like the All-American Brat Burger. Its experiment with controlled portions of wings is working well. These menu and portion changes help offset the variable and volatile prices of chicken wings.
Now the chain is taking its first foray outside of its wings concept. In October Buffalo Wild Wings announced that it bought a minority stake in a five-unit California made-to-order pizza chain, PizzaRev, and it is the franchisee for the chain's first two locations outside LA, in Minneapolis.
While the concept is in its early days, Smith said that Buffalo Wild Wings is evaluating PizzaRev on "a set of criteria, one that it has the ability to be a national concept and is franchisable...if successful, it could provide that growth we want."
Add some meat to your bottom line
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The article 3 Crazy Things Brewing at Buffalo Wild Wings originally appeared on Fool.com.AnnaLisa Kraft has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Buffalo Wild Wings and McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings and McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.