As the saying goes, “there’s no place like home.” And that old adage is ringing true for Buffalo Wings & Rings, the ultimate club level sports restaurant franchise, which first got its start in Cincinnati back in 1984.
The brand has come a long way since then, with more than 70 locations currently spread out across the globe. Buffalo Wings & Rings is even planning to continue expanding in the Middle East and Europe in the years ahead. But the brand’s global success isn’t taking its focus away from the city where it first planted its roots. Locally, Buffalo Wings & Rings is investing heavily in its home market.
“Cincinnati is really where the brand established its identity,” said Chief Executive Officer Nader Masadeh. “It’s here we took the sports restaurant experience and enhanced it. We’ve truly created something special and capitalized on it.”
In May of 2017, Buffalo Wings & Rings opened its fourth franchise location in the Cincinnati-area. The new West Chester restaurant brought 70 jobs to the community and has performed extremely well with positive feedback from guests. Si Rose, the franchisee who owns and operates the West Chester location in addition to another restaurant in Finneytown, is excited that Buffalo Wings & Rings is expanding close to home, and strategically opens up locations close to his first restaurant.
“Training employees, getting everyone ingrained in the Buffalo Wings & Rings system and ensuring that people are on board with our high standards becomes so much easier when restaurants are closer together,” Rose said. “We also really enjoy connecting with several areas of our local community as well, which has proven to be effective based on our results.”
Buffalo Wings & Rings’ West Chester and Finneytown restaurants are both family-run—Rose’s four children are heavily involved in the day-to-day operations. Tyler Rose, Si’s son, even earned the “Manager of the Year” title at Buffalo Wings & Rings’ annual conference in late June. And now, after working as the Finneytown general manager and reporting to his father, he’s fully taking over the West Chester location.
“It’s an honor not only for me, but for my entire team,” said Tyler. “I’m only as good as the people who surround me, and the people I work with here in Cincinnati are incredible.”
Tyler has been the general manager at his family’s Finneytown location for five years, and just recently took over the same duties at their new West Chester restaurant. But this most likely won’t be the last family-run store Tyler operates—the Rose family is signed on to open two additional Cincinnati locations in the coming years. And right now, they’re specifically looking for a location that will build a triangle between their first three restaurants.
“Our goal is to become the Wing Kings of Cincinnati, and we’re confident that we’ll achieve it,” Si said. “The Buffalo Wings & Rings corporate team has helped us every step of the way. They’ve played a large role in our achievements.”
Buffalo Wings & Rings’ corporate team has been busy prioritizing Cincinnati as a key market for growth, which is why it’s now sold out between corporate locations and franchisee-run restaurants. Later this year, the fourth corporate-owned location will open in Cincinnati’s Oakley Station, a new mixed-use development area that’s on the rise. The brand’s plan is to continue that trend and open additional corporate-owned restaurants nearby to then build on that momentum with franchisees down the line. To ensure that its franchisees in the area have room to grow, Buffalo Wings & Rings’ corporate team develops on the East side of the city while local owners are able to own the West.
“We’re constantly analyzing markets across the globe where we feel that the Buffalo Wings & Rings brand offers development opportunities where local owners can engage a new customer base and really take off,” said chief development officer Philip Schram. “There are tons of advantages that come with being a multi-unit franchisee who completely owns a market, and we’re eager to help our local owners capitalize on those benefits.”
While many restaurant franchises are struggling to maintain a hold in the current economy, Buffalo Wings & Rings offers a unique experience that connects with today’s audience. By elevating its approach with quality menu items and a more family and female-friendly atmosphere, the brand has set itself up for success in the future.
“We’re going to use our new corporate location in Oakley Station to test new menu items, processes and systems to perfect them before introducing to our franchisees around the world,” said Masadeh. “That’s another reason corporate-owned expansion in this market is going to play such a vital role for us moving forward. Our growth in Cincinnati is allowing us to refine our concept so that we can understand first-hand the support that our franchisees need as we continue to welcome more local owners into our system.”