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Buffalo Wings & Rings Takes Marketing Beyond Its Four Walls to Promote its Pickup and Delivery Options

New marketing strategies helped the 80 unit restaurant franchise Buffalo Wings & Rings attract new customers and keep existing ones in 2020.

By Eliza Larson1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 4:16PM 02/08/21

In the restaurant industry, competition for customers is fierce. Amid a global pandemic that forces food establishments to close, restrict dining, or move exclusively to delivery and pickup services, a strong marketing strategy is needed to stay alive.

This year, many restaurant brands found their marketing plans upended by the coronavirus crisis. Legacy brand Buffalo Wings & Rings, which was founded in the 1980s and started franchising in the 1990s, was prepared for the year’s unexpected challenges. “In my mind, the pandemic has done nothing different to the restaurant experience other than accelerate things that were already happening,” said Buffalo Wings & Rings CEO Nader Masadeh.

Instead of hanging flyers or posters geared toward in-house diners that were not stopping in, the 80 unit franchise branched out beyond the four walls of its restaurants to reach customers. “With things shutting down, we shifted the strategy to reach customers,” says Diane Matheson, vice president of marketing at Buffalo Wings & Rings.

That shift in focus resulted in major sales. Pickup orders went from approximately 15% of the business in 2019 to 40% of the business in 2020.

Buffalo Wings & Rings had a digital presence before COVID-19, but the pandemic forced it and other brands to adopt digital channels for product and service delivery as well as marketing. In 2020, Matheson said they became more digital. 

For example, Buffalo Wings & Rings increased their presence on social media platforms like Facebook. They rewarded customers with gift cards and swag for their interactions. They also offered cooking segments to keep fans interested in their menu options. One segment titled, “Dishin’ with Dan,” features Buffalo Wings & Rings’ Chef Dan. He walks people through kitchen techniques and tips, such as turning leftover chicken tenders from a pickup order into a stir fry dish using vegetables and rice.

Buffalo Wings & Rings also tested new ads on platforms like Spotify, and retargeted and refocused their SEO work so the brand would come up at the top of a Google search. 

Their messaging in these ads was mainly to encourage pick-up and delivery options. And their menu reflected that shift as well. “We’re a really good option for to-go,” said Matheson. Buffalo Wings & Rings offers a Tailgreat Bundle with 30 traditional or boneless wings or 14 tenders with a party-sized appetizer and dips, or options for kids with just chicken tenders and dipping sauces. 

The brand’s outreach efforts helped bring customers into restaurants like Fraces Zwick’s in Kentucky once restrictions were lifted. Zwick, like many other restaurant owners, was hit by COVID-19 setbacks. Although she was unable to open her dining room, her pickup window and outdoor patio remained popular. 

“We know how to safely operate during a pandemic and are lucky enough to continue to open — I’m thrilled about that,” said Zwick. 

“The main thing about the club-level experience is it’s all about connecting people together. People that want to hang out and watch the game and talk,” said Buffalo Wings & Rings’ CEO Nader Masadeh. “We created family packs and promotions to create that connection at home.”

Established in 1984 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Buffalo Wings & Rings is the ultimate sports restaurant and bar franchise providing a club-level experience with better food, VIP views and our Buffalove ® Service Promise. The franchise is taking game-time to the next level with bright, inviting dining rooms, elevated fan experiences and a chef-inspired menu featuring a rotation of seasonal and diverse limited-time offerings, fresh salads, homemade Bleu Cheese, innovative sandwich options, burgers and fresh, never-frozen wings to satisfy every sports fan. With more than 80 units across the globe, Buffalo Wings & Rings is changing the sports restaurant and bar category, bringing elevated food and experiences that are accessible and affordable to all. For more information, visit