How Buffalo Wings & Rings Became the Indisputable Leader in the Sports Restaurant Category
How Buffalo Wings & Rings Became the Indisputable Leader in the Sports Restaurant Category

When it comes to standing out in the competitive sports restaurant industry, better wings are just the beginning.

For more than 10 years, Mark Cross—a born and bred Midwesterner—wore a suit and tie to work, where he sold hardware and software solutions in the financial industry. But the job never made him truly happy, and after a series of tragic events involving the death of his best friend and his father, Cross began searching for a new path. His answer came in the form of Buffalo Wings & Rings.

“I visited a Buffalo Wings & Rings in Naperville, Illinois and was blown away by the quality of the wings. They were the best wings I’ve ever had,” Cross said.

After that experience, he began researching locations to open his on Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurant, and on May 31, 2016, he officially broke ground on one of the brand’s future homes—Franklin, Texas.

“There are a lot of sports restaurants out there, but there’s something different about Buffalo Wings & Rings. Their food is always fresh and never frozen, and that kind of care goes a really long way. It really was the quality of the brand’s food that made me fall in love with the concept,” Cross said.

Craig Tincher, who is planning to open his first Buffalo Wings & Rings location new London, Kentucky, decided to become a franchisee with the brand for a similar reason.

“My wife and I, Leslie, had been talking about getting involved in the restaurant industry for years, but could never really decide on the right direction. We started looking for a franchise that would fit the needs of the London community while at the same time offering quality food,” Tincher said. “We first checked out a Buffalo Wild Wings, but we just didn’t enjoy their food. When we visited a Buffalo Wings & Rings, everything about it—the food, the atmosphere the service—was all elevated in a way not normally seen in a sports restaurant. We knew it was the perfect fit.”

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 their favorite sporting events in a friendly atmosphere. For all of these reasons and more, Buffalo Wings & Rings has emerged as the indisputable leader in the sports restaurant category—and they have the numbers to prove it. Since 2006, the brand has seen a consistent increase in revenue, with 13 percent growth of year-over-year annual unit volume. In 2008, Buffalo wings & Rings reported an average unit volume of $800,000. By 2013, that number had doubled. And by the end of 2015, Buffalo Wings & Rings boasted a new milestone—a record high AUV of $2 million.

“We’ve worked hard on the brand every day for the past 10 years. We’ve reengineered our brand to make it more attractive to multi-unit and single-unit operators—we have enhanced marketing, upgraded products and a streamlined kitchen service model. We also dedicated ourselves to an ongoing strategy to further align our corporate staff and franchisees. As a result, we’ve seen consistent growth in new franchise units year after year,” said Philip Schram, chief development officer for the brand.

Ultimately, Nader Masadeh, the CEO of Buffalo Wings & Rings, believes that his family-friendly sports restaurant differentiates itself from virtually every other casual dining option in the category through its multi-faceted offering; at the font of the house is a casual dining and at the back is a quick-service kitchen. Together, it allows guests to feel like they are at the ultimate club level for casual dining.

“Without question, that makes us a unique. Our guests get the experience of a great sit-down meal from a menu that has diverse, hand-made options and incredible flavors. At the same time, our kitchen is straightforward and uncomplicated,” Masadeh said. “Buffalo Wings & Rings was built on the foundation that we can be more than a chicken wing joint, and we have always focused on the food and experience rather than the gimmicks. I joined this brand for the opportunity to build a concept that presents a new value-add to the industry. Our people, our food and the experience we give to our customers is second-to-none.”

To learn more about franchising with Buffalo Wings & Rings, click here.