New programs are the latest efforts for fast-growing franchise to improve unit-level economics
Buffalo Wings & Rings has been around since 1984, but in recent years has made great strides to improve its product, operations and technology to fuel its growth and to stand out in the crowded full-service dining restaurant segment -- and the brand’s efforts are paying off. The 70-unit club-level family sports restaurant is proud to announce its latest growth initiative: the launch of online ordering and a dedicated carryout window for easy pickup.
According to NPD Group, more than 61 percent of all restaurant visits in 2016 were for to-go orders, prompting casual dining chains like Buffalo Wings & Rings to create programs to attract customers looking to enjoy the brand’s fresh, never frozen food from the comfort of their own homes.
“Our overall goal is and always will be to anticipate our guests’ needs at every turn and put them at the center of all our initiatives,” said Kathy Cueto, director, company store operations of Buffalo Wings & Rings. “We’ve mastered the art of providing an atmosphere that is welcoming to both sports fans and families, and we’re extending our efforts to provide more ways for guests to enjoy our food. We’re eager to alleviate the pressure of preparing and cooking food, and make it easy for busy families to order through the Buffalo Wings & Rings website and pop in to pick up their orders.”
The online ordering and carryout programs were tested at the Crestview Hills, Kentucky and Beechmont, Ohio locations, respectively. At the Beechmont location, the Buffalo Wings & Rings operations team has built a separate carryout pickup entrance with designated parking spaces. Crestview Hills served as the test store for online ordering before rolling the program out to the phase one stores, approximately two-thirds of the system.
“These two initiatives are the latest in our efforts to drive carryout sales and make our product more accessible to the customer,” said Nader Masadeh, CEO of Buffalo Wings & Rings. “We believe the ease of use with the new pickup area will attract more guests and won’t interfere with the flow of the dining area. This allows our franchisees to serve more guests each day and reach a new audience of people who may not want to spend a few hours at a restaurant but love our food and have been craving a better carryout option.”
Online ordering and carryout aren’t the only initiatives the brand has launched to appeal to both customers and prospective franchisees. Buffalo Wings & Rings has paid particular attention to its menu over the last few years, with a regular schedule of limited time offerings that provide franchisees with new menu items to increase guest traffic and give guests a taste of something different.
Initiatives like these have helped propel Buffalo Wings & Rings’ growth over the last five years, attracting the attention of multi-unit operators. The brand signed 12 new franchise agreements in 2016, opened new locations at a one-per-month rate over the last eight months and has enjoyed a 12.5 percent average unit growth year-over-year for nine years.
“We’re a 33 year-old brand, but in many ways, we’re just getting started,” said Masadeh. “We are committed to consistently finding new ways to help our franchisees grow their business and grow our brand by partnering with equally committed, experienced and qualified franchise owners."