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1851 on the Road: How Buffalo Wings & Rings Provides Franchisees with Opportunities for Growth through Multi-Unit Ownership
1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills sat down with multi-unit franchisee Todd Fetter at Buffalo Wings & Rings’ annual convention to learn more about his decision to grow beyond one unit.

Every year, when Buffalo Wings & Rings hosts its annual convention, members of the brand’s entire franchise system come together to not only celebrate their past successes, but look towards the future. That’s why this year’s conference—which was called “Wings of Fortune”—focused on finding ways to grow both as a brand on a global level and in specific local communities with the help of its franchisees. In order to achieve that goal and continue its ongoing expansion initiatives, Buffalo Wings & Rings is providing its franchisees with multi-unit ownership opportunities.

Todd Fetter is one franchisee who has taken advantage of the brand’s multi-unit model. He first signed on to open one restaurant back in 2009, after selling his share in his own manufacturing business and searching for a new opportunity. While he loved being an entrepreneur, Fetter decided that he wanted to involve his family in his business. And because his wife Audra and their five children are all avid wings and sports fans, the wing segment of the restaurant industry seemed like a perfect fit. But it wasn’t until they tried Buffalo Wings & Rings’ food that they found the right opportunity.

“We started looking in the wing market and kind of stumbled upon Buffalo Wings & Rings on the internet. My wife and I traveled around and we went and ate at many of the locations, decided this is the best food we’ve ever had at a wing joint and contacted Mr. Dan Doulen at Buffalo Wings & Rings. He said, ‘Come on down, let’s meet,’ and we went down and the rest is history,” said Fetter.

The Fetters opened up their first restaurant back in 2013 in Piqua, Ohio. Wanting to test the waters, they decided to stick with one unit for over a year before eventually deciding to pursue multi-unit ownership with a second restaurant in 2015. Today, Fetter and his family have eight Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurants that are currently open for business. And they’re not planning to stop there—by the end of the summer next year, the Fetters will be at 11 restaurants. That drive to succeed with multiple restaurants led the Fetters winning the Influencer Award for a husband and wife team from Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine.

Fetter credits his family’s success to their passion for the brand as well as Buffalo Wings & Rings’ proven franchise system.

“Failure’s not an option, and my family and I work very hard at this business. It’s the first business I’ve ever had where the family works with me—that’s a plus. So, we’re building a legacy, so there’s more initiative or incentive to keep building there,” said Fetter. “The other side of the coin is the corporate structure from Buffalo Wings & Rings, with the support from site selection, construction, operations, HR, all the way down—if the support wasn’t there from corporate, or the support wasn’t there from my family, there’s no way we would have gone more than one [restaurant]. But it’s there, so we’re growing with them.”

While Fetter can now be considered an expert restaurateur, he first started out without any industry experience. By relying on his business sense and following the model that Buffalo Wings & Rings provides its franchisees, he’s been able to successfully create a business that has limitless growth potential.

Fetter said, “When I got into the restaurant business I just had manufacturing experience. But cogs are cogs and labor is labor, and those are the things you watch. You just take care of business, you take care of people whether you’re powder coating and e-coating automotive parts for the big three in Detroit or you’re making chicken wings for the family that lives down the street.”

To watch Powills’ full interview with Fetter, click here or check out the video above.

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