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How Wild Birds Unlimited’s Bird Seed Offerings Outclass the Competition

The franchise equips store owners with top-of-line products and a wealth of knowledge to provide unparalleled service.

By Ben Warren1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSORED 4:16PM 04/17/18

With more than 300 locations in markets throughout the United States and Canada, Wild Birds Unlimited has become the go-to brand for backyard bird hobbyists. But it’s not just the accessibility of their stores that has made Wild Birds Unlimited a hit among amateur ornithologists; the brand has placed a premium on innovative, high-quality product offerings that are unmatched by other pet and hobby stores, and those products are complemented by the passion and expertise of store owners, who work closely with customers to make sure they are getting the right products and using them correctly to attract the birds they want in their yards.

We talked to Bird Food Business Manager, Rob Brunes, to learn about Wild Birds Unlimited’s unique bird seed offerings and how they’ve managed to set themselves apart from the competition. Brunes says Wild Birds Unlimited creates a variety of seed blends for different feeding niches across North America, each of which is designed to attract and nourish birds.

How does Wild Birds Unlimited’s bird seed offerings differ from that of other providers?

Brunes: Our blends focus on two primary goals. The first is to provide ingredients that benefit birds most in terms of what they’re seeking nutritionally—energy, fat, protein, calcium, etc.—We don’t use fillers or cereal grains, such as milo, oats or wheat, in our blends. Other providers will use cereal grains to cut costs and allow lower retail prices. Since birds aren’t attracted to cereal grains, they get kicked out of the feeder and down to the ground as birds look for their preferred seeds. Most of these kicked-out grains become waste, attract unwanted pests or germinate into unwanted plants under the bird feeders. That is a waste of the customer’s money and makes a mess of the garden area.

The second goal is to use ingredients that birds find most attractive. Most people feed birds because they enjoy that interaction with nature. We want our blends to enhance that interaction and the customer’s overall enjoyment of the hobby. This is reflected in our mission statement, “We bring people and nature together.” To achieve that goal most effectively, our stores manage their inventories tightly and work with their suppliers to get seed on a weekly basis and keep the product-offering fresh.

How does Wild Birds Unlimited make sure that every store has the right seed to attract birds in their specific season and locale?

Brunes: We have a selection of blends that cover all of the different feeding niches for different regions across North America. Stores can select their blends or even make adjustments depending on the birds in their specific region and season. The variety of these blends and bird-food options also allows customers to customize their feeding setup based on their backyard habitat and the birds they want to attract.

Customers come to Wild Birds Unlimited not just for the seed blends and products, but also for the knowledgeable staff. How do you make sure that store owners know everything there is to know about the seed varieties?

Brunes: First of all, our store owners tend to be people who are very committed to nature, and they often already have or will seek out all of the information they need to know on their own. But to ensure that our owners have all the information they need, the Wild Birds Unlimited Franchise Support Center is staffed with a broad spectrum of professionals who are committed to supporting store owners. Not only does the Franchise Support Center have support staff with extensive backgrounds in business, marketing, communication and information technology, we also have staff with backgrounds in professional and academic areas of ornithology and outdoor nature.

To help store owners train their staff to best serve and educate customers, there is also an in-store training program for store owners to use with their staff. Those are just a couple of the various methods we have to make information readily available for staff to use when interacting with customers, schools and extracurricular organizations such as boy scouts and girl scouts.

When and how does Wild Birds Unlimited decide to change its bird seed offerings?

Brunes: We review our bird-food product offerings on an annual basis. That review isn’t limited to seed. Customers can enhance their bird-feeding experience by offering birds options to feed at multiple feeding stations that may include a combination of seed, suet and even live insects, and we provide everything they need to do so. Sometimes product reviews result not only in a change in blend formulation, but also in brand-new products, like Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter, seed and suet Stackables and the hot-pepper seed and suet cylinders sold exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited.

With more than 300 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores. Recently ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 in the Retail category on Franchise Business Review’s prestigious 2018 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards, there's no better time to join the Wild Birds Unlimited team. Click here to learn more. 

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.