With more than 80 locations across the globe, Cincinnati-based elevated sports restaurant franchise Buffalo Wings & Rings continues to expand and the brand recently opened its first Minnesota location in Mankato. The new Minnesota location is located at 1861 Adams Street and opened doors in mid-June.
Franchisees Todd and Audra Fetter already owned and operated eight Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurants in Ohio, South Dakota and Nebraska. Recognizing an opportunity to grow their franchise footprint, the duo decided to open their ninth location in Mankato.
“Mankato is a great fit for us,” Audra said. “We opened our restaurant in a bustling retail area that attracts a ton of traffic, so we are confident a new sports restaurant will attract a lot of people. We are really looking forward to the continued reaction from the community and how they receive us.”
The restaurant opened in a former Old Country Buffet across from a popular shopping center called River Hills Mall. After Old Country Buffet closed its doors, representatives from Tailwind Group, a property management company, bought the building, expanded it and reached out to Todd and Audra asking if they would be interested in opening a Buffalo Wings & Rings in the vacated end cap space. The expansion also created room for three additional retail spaces next door and created a lower cost of occupancy for the Fetters. After researching the opportunity, visiting Mankato, and collaborating with the Buffalo Wings & Rings leadership team, Todd and Audra agreed.
“The chance to open our first restaurant in Minnesota came about through a great partnership with Tailwind Group,” said Buffalo Wings & Rings Chief Development Officer Philip Schram. “The relationship was founded on the pillars of operational excellence, valuable real estate, and financial opportunity, and any time those elements come together for us, we can open more and better restaurants.”
Schram said establishing a presence in Minnesota will help Buffalo Wings & Rings cultivate partnerships with key suppliers and vendors in the franchise industry that are based in Minneapolis. He also believes the new Mankato store will enable the brand to grow throughout Minnesota and beyond.
“The new location in Mankato will help us expand by serving as a bridge between states where we already have a presence such as Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota,” Schram said. “The Mankato restaurant will create more brand awareness, which will encourage more people to visit the restaurants and consider becoming franchisees.”
Todd and Audra decided to become Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisees in 2009. Originally from Ohio, close proximity to the brand’s headquarters appealed to them along with its supportive leadership team and commitment to changing the sports restaurant category by delivering elevated food and experiences that are accessible and affordable.
“When we started looking into franchising, we fell in love with the Buffalo Wings & Rings concept,” Audra said. “With all of our children involved in sports, sports have always been a huge part of our lives, we felt very comfortable with the leadership team, and since it is based in Cincinnati, we knew we were only a drive away if we ever needed anything.”
Since opening their first location in Piqua, Ohio, they have successfully grown the brand and currently operate eight Buffalo Wings & Rings locations. Audra said she relies on support from her family, including her five children, to successfully manage the restaurants. Two of her sons are regional managers and one of her daughters plays an active role in two of the Ohio locations. Their other son helps manage the family’s 3,000 acre farming operation, and their youngest daughter is a sophomore in high school.
“Todd and I couldn’t do all of this without help from our kids,” Audra said.
To ensure the success of the new restaurant, employees from several of Todd and Audra’s locations are traveling to Mankato to help train the staff and assist with the opening.
“Our team is so willing and able to help us get our new store up and running smoothly,” Audra said. “They are confident in our vision, and we love them like our own family.”
For franchising opportunities with Buffalo Wings & Rings, visit https://ownabuffalo.com/.