The "Undercover Boss" featured brand awarded nine new franchise deals in 2015, and they're projecting 123 locations by 2021.
For Buffalo Wings & Rings, a fast-growing, club-level sports restaurant franchise with 60 units globally, stability has always been the crux of its success. As 2015 ended, the Cincinnati-based brand has proved once again that last year was no exception—for its eighth straight year, Buffalo Wings & Rings has saw an increase in revenue, with 13 percent growth of year-over-year annual unit volume.
Backed by the demand for an alternative to traditional sports bars, Buffalo Wings & Rings has cemented itself as a go-to option for families looking to watch athletic events in a friendly atmosphere that serves a chef-driven menu featuring fresh ingredients. The consistent revenue growth each year is indicative of how the brand’s hard work is paying off, with nine new franchise agreements signed added last year for 20% growth in new units.
A signature moment for Buffalo Wings & Rings last year was the opening of a concession outpost in Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, last summer, as well as serving its signature wings and beverages on the club level. So far, this location has outperformed its predecessor, Smokey Bones, by 13%. The brand also opened locations in Greendale, Indiana; Elizabethtown, Kentucky; and Mason, Ohio.
“We’ve seen consistent growth in new franchise units over the years, and the numbers are a good indication of what’s to come,” said CEO Nader Masadeh. “After reengineering our brand last year to make it more attractive to multi-unit and single-unit franchise operators, our enhanced marketing, products and streamlined kitchen have made this continued stability possible. The success we experienced in 2015 is apparent not only in the numbers, but also by the palpable excitement felt throughout the system. Morale is at an all-time high, and it shows—from the employees to the franchisees.”
According to Philip Schram, chief development officer for Buffalo Wings & Rings, franchisees have been the backbone of the brand’s stability. Backed by a strong and proven system, franchisees continue to reinvest in the brand. Many of the current Buffalo Wings & Rings owners are capitalizing on the improved structure by doubling down on multiple locations to help boost the brand’s growth. The unwavering diligence, support and guidelines for the company have also been an unquestionable factor in the continued success of the franchise through the years.
Shaun Hill, a multi-unit franchisee with locations in Bardstown and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, adds that Buffalo Wings & Rings’ franchise system is incredibly streamlined, and he credits the corporate model for making the process of opening additional locations easy and desirable.
“They’re there for me and willing to help when necessary, but things have gone very smooth for me since I opened my first location. It’s like a well-oiled machine right from the start,” Hill said. “Everything from training to the way the menu is designed and the kitchen is laid out is efficient and effective. The brand does a great job making things easy for its franchisees.”
In addition to continued growth, last year was also marked by another important professional milestone for Masadeh. After focusing his 2015 efforts on incorporating new menus, décor and service elements refining the company’s corporate culture and improving communication between franchisor and franchisees, Masadeh was able to see firsthand how readily Buffalo Wings & Rings embraced improvement after he was featured on the premiere episode of the CBS series “Undercover Boss.” According to Masadeh, the experience was reassuring.
“Being able to experience our restaurants without being recognized as CEO gave me much-needed perspective that I wouldn’t ordinarily get to see from my corner office. I observed a few issues that have since been fixed but in the end, it reaffirmed to me that the path Buffalo Wings & Rings is on is the right one and made it possible for me to make relationships with some dedicated and incredible employees that are on the front lines representing our brand. I am more energized about the brand than ever before and I know that 2016 is going to be an incredible year for us.”
Masadeh believes this experience will help the company always strive to be the better and pave the way for continued growth. With 2016 now on the horizon, Buffalo Wings & Rings hopes to open 75 locations over the next five years across the Midwest and Southeast.