For Buffalo Wings & Rings, the elevated family sports restaurant brand from Cincinnati, 2018 is a year of internal growth. In the last several months alone, the company has shown an ever-increasing commitment to supporting its robust franchisee base including the recent announcement of some exciting new corporate hires.
But beyond this general commitment to system growth and personnel improvements, Buffalo Wings & Rings has taken things a step further with a new partnership aimed at providing franchisees with valuable customer data on a market-specific level. The partnership with spatial analytics firm eSite Analytics, is part of an effort by Buffalo Wings & Rings to better pinpoint each restaurant’s exact audience and to better understand where each of those valuable customers is coming from. The software will help franchisees and the corporate team select the best markets, and the best sites within those markets, in order to maximize sales.
“Since joining Buffalo Wings & Rings three years ago, we have been looking for the right partner in order to further our mission to have a best-in-class analytics program,” said Carey Floyd, Real Estate Manager for Buffalo Wings & Rings. “We already had an internally-developed system for site selection so the company had been focused on successfully leveraging data in the decision-making process. We were familiar with eSite from some past trade shows, and we kept that conversation going, knowing we would eventually be putting a new system in place.”
Floyd said that eventually the brand got to a place where they knew they just needed the right partner to take things to the next level.
“These programs take a lot of data, a lot of work, and a lot of people behind the scenes to create something that is going to work for the brand,” said Floyd. “We decided that it was time to be more accurate with our choices, be more efficient, and get the help to grow bigger and faster. eSite was the clear choice to assist us in better supporting our great franchisees. With eSite we are on the cutting edge of our approach to site selection and are now able to utilize the immense data available from mobile devices, which allow us to gather more accurate data points at a cheaper cost.”
According to Grant Irving, Vice President of Sales for eSite Analytics, the data the company provides will assist Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisees in multiple ways, including helping the brand reach the right people, and then ultimately improving how they bring those potential customers into the store.
“We know how much effort, money, and time is spent by a restaurant,” said Irving. “We understand how to optimally place restaurant sites, but also once you make that decision, you want to access and analyze those same data sets. How does the restaurant reach those people once they open? So, they get the front end strategic data, but also the analytics for the franchisees in order to bring people in the door once they make that decision. The more learnings and more data we put into the system, the more we’ll be able to get out of it. We’re starting with something that we think is very good, but we are going to continually add to it.”
Tom Blazer, the CEO of eSite, is equally excited about the new partnership with Buffalo Wings & Rings and believes it will be about more than just providing an abundance of analytical data to the restaurant brand.
“Typically, franchisees and corporate-owned locations have some different metrics and outcomes, so we factor that into our work,” said Blazer. “There are a number of categorical things we need to do when compiling the data to make sure that we’re comparing apples to apples. We don’t believe that predictive analytics is an ‘event’ – it’s an ongoing process. We will always be available to support our partners. We have a lot of partners – but we want to have that intimacy with all of them to have the awareness of a brand and the ability to have those important conversations.”
With that full support of the eSite team, not to mention the aforementioned mountain of data, Buffalo Wings & Rings is already starting to implement the new system across all teams in the organization.
“We just licensed all of our users, everyone in the company is using it now across sales, marketing, development, and real estate,” said Floyd. “What we’re trying to do is to identify markets that optimize best for our brand and our sales team is going to utilize that to focus on those areas. It’s providing us with information we have not had access to in the past, such as traffic patterns and traffic counts by time of day.”
And while that information is proving effective for the real estate and development teams at Buffalo Wings & Rings, what really has the brand most excited is the impact the eSite partnership is having when it comes to improving visibility and sales among the company’s great system of established franchisees.
“We can tell how many of our top customers are in an area during a certain time period, we have data on competitors and numbers to provide franchisees to guide where in town they should market locally,” said Floyd. “This is all data that will help us to make decisions that will be valuable to the brand and to our existing and future franchisees.”