Kentucky is known for its bluegrass but the corporate team at Buffalo Wings & Rings is hoping to bring much more of its trademark orange to the state in 2018. Specifically, the company is focused on expansion in the greater Louisville market with qualified franchise prospects.
“Now that we have reached saturation in Cincinnati, we want to continue to grow in the closest big cities outside of our home market, and we see great potential in Louisville,” said Philip Schram, Chief Development Officer of Buffalo Wings & Rings. “We are already growing in Columbus, so Louisville is the next city that makes sense, especially with the great reception we’ve already seen in the state and the restaurants we have in the pipeline throughout Kentucky. If you pair that with the strong presence we also have in southern Indiana, it’s the logical next step in our strategic expansion plan.”
Buffalo Wings & Rings boasts more than 75 locations across the globe and just ended a successful 2017 where the company hit the $100-million mark for domestic system-wide sales for the first time while also growing restaurant count by more than 10 percent. At the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in March, Buffalo Wings & Rings introduced a new “One Franchise Fee for Life” incentive which simplifies the franchise fee for new and expanding franchisees. Franchisees will pay a one-time $40,000 fee, allowing them to open as many approved locations as they please within an agreed upon development schedule. This development incentive is available throughout 2018.
Currently, the company has four restaurants across the state of Kentucky. The corporate team invested in Kentucky growth by opening a corporate-owned location in the summer of 2014, right on the other side of the Ohio border in Crestview Hills. The most recent Kentucky addition came with the opening of a restaurant in London in March 2017 which at the time claimed the second highest sales record for a location’s first full week.
The company is also set to open two more franchisee-owned Kentucky locations before the end of 2018 or early 2019. One is set to open just south of the Crestview Hills company-owned location in nearby Union, Kentucky. The other is set for the southern part of the state in Somerset, just west of the London location.
For nearly a decade, however, growth in Kentucky has been driven by multi-unit franchisee Shaun Hill. Hill, a lifelong Kentuckian, opened his first Buffalo Wings & Rings location in his hometown of Bardstown in 2009. Since then, Hill said he’s enjoyed eight consecutive years of sales growth which has been fueled by the elevated experience Buffalo Wings & Rings offers guests.
“One of the things that drove me to the brand was the difference between the quality of the product that the Buffalo Wings & Rings brand sold versus what else was out there. The company wasn't just going after lower-grade, fast casual business. They were bringing the VIP experience that I liked. It was a good price point, and a fresh, never frozen product. That helped make my decision to invest in the brand. I liked that they were heading in that direction,” said Hill.
Hill has continued to grow his Buffalo Wings & Rings empire, opening another location in nearby Elizabethtown in 2015 and his third location is currently under construction in Danville with an anticipated opening date in fall 2018. Hill is planning to hire an area manager to assist in the operation of those three locations, and as he turns an eye towards a 4th and potentially 5th restaurant in the future.
Like most Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisees, Hill is motivated by the ability to bring a quality company to his community.
“I was born and raised in Kentucky. Once I opened my Bardstown location, I wanted to grow the brand around my hometown. Elizabethtown and Danville are both about half an hour away from my hometown of Bardstown. After we open in Danville, I’ll be looking for another location around Bardstown. I’ve been very proud of the growth I’ve been able to accomplish by being a single franchisee. I don’t have a partner or other associations. I’ve been able to grow the brand around my hometown single-handedly,” said Hill.
While Hill continues to grow his BW&R empire south of Louisville, Aimee Bosco just recently signed to bring a Buffalo Wings & Rings to Shelbyville, just east of Louisville. A restaurant veteran who claims to have restaurants, “…in my blood,” Bosco thinks the brand will be well received in the Shelbyville area.
“It’s a really good fit for Buffalo Wings & Rings to go into Shelbyville,” said Bosco. “They need a solid ‘sit-down’ restaurant. It's a close-knit community and there is money to be made there.”
Those in the greater Louisville area interested in the Buffalo Wings & Rings franchise opportunity should have liquid capital of $300,000 or higher and a net worth of at least $1-million. Investment to open a Buffalo Wings & Rings franchise ranges between $1.2-million and $3-million.
More information on opportunities in Louisville can be found by visiting https://ownabuffalo.com/louisville/.