For the 60-unit elevated sports restaurant franchise, it’s not about sales, but about finding the perfect match for a long-lasting relationship according to Buffalo Wings & Rings Chief Development Officer Philip Schram.
On the docket for the next year’s growth? Expansion across the Great Plain states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
With successful locations in each of the states already, the brand is focused on a spiral growth strategy around its existing locations in county-seat level cities and larger.
“We find the spiral strategy, or as some people would call it, the ‘spoke and wheel’ to be very successful because if there are already locations in the general vicinity of a new location, word of mouth is extremely powerful,” Schram said. “Additionally our data shows that when we develop new restaurants in areas surrounding existing locations, sales rise for all of the locations within a 100 mile radius, and a strategy that’s proven to benefit both new and existing valued partners is a winning strategy for us.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota rank in the top five states with the lowest unemployment rates, 2.6 percent, 3.1 percent and 3.8 percent respectively. Schram says the positive economic landscape in these states make them a prime place for growth right now.
“People in these states are hardworking and community-focused and on top of low unemployment, through our analysis we’ve learned they each boast a fairly elevated average household income,” he said. “This is our target demographic to a tee and the major cities are reporting on average about 10 percent growth per year which is really healthy for us.”
Going back to the focus on relationships, Schram says the brand is not so much focused on adding a specific number of units in these states, as it it is focused on quality partnerships to help increase presence in the major cities. Prime areas for growth include the following:
As for the franchisee prospects in this region? Schram says in general it’s all about finding the right fit and that person could be anywhere, however his team is focusing on two main categories: first, expanding the brand’s relationship with existing franchisees.
“The reality is, everyone is chasing the multi-unit franchisees, but they tend to be loyal to their flagship brand. We prefer to focus on our own successful franchisees and support them on a path to becoming multi-unit owners,” Schram explained. “We’re actively working with our current franchisees in these states to promote further expansion.”
Second, Schram says they are focused on quality control within their existing locations in these states on every level; service, food and experience.
“We already know we want to expand in the surrounding areas where we’ve seen great success, and I believe any one of our customers could be our next great franchisee,” said Schram. “We want them to first have an incredible experience in our restaurants and second be aware that this is a franchise opportunity; if we can achieve those two things, we will peak their curiosity.”
Overall, Schram says the focus for his team is on connecting the right people with the right locations to set them up for success. With several new locations in these states already under development, the brand is open to discussions with both new and existing partners to increase Buffalo Wings & Rings’ presence in the major metropolitan areas across the Great Plains states over the next two years.