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How Buffalo Wings & Rings Is Supporting Franchise Owners Through COVID-19

The international restaurant franchise brand is working closely with its franchisees to help them get through this unprecedented time.

By Jennifer Hoch1851 Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 1:13PM 06/22/20

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to present a challenging landscape for the restaurant industry, Buffalo Wings & Rings’ leadership team has found a pathway to support its franchise owners, who are adapting in order to continue serving their communities in the safest way possible.     

In light of the global pandemic, the brand has implemented ongoing, transparent communication through a weekly call that includes all franchise owners, brand executives, operations and marketing team members. Buffalo Wings & Rings has also created a communication channel dedicated entirely to daily conversations during the pandemic in which franchise owners are able to communicate, post and comment in an open forum with one another across the entire system. The brand also posts two times a day to the platform to provide franchise owners with updates and support—once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

To ensure adequate resources are available to all franchise owners, the brand also created a task force to constantly keep an eye on the situation and to give franchisees the necessary tools to continue serving customers. The brand also established three projects to ensure that they were not only focused on the present but also looking ahead to the future by addressing first, the current state, second, the new “normal'' and third, the success and growth of the brand when dining rooms are able to reopen their doors.   

The brand’s CEO, Nader Masadeh, claims that communication has grown “exponentially” as the leadership team steps in to support its franchise owners as they navigate the crisis. “I try to speak with at least a few franchisees every day whether that’s through a text, a call or an email just to see how they’re doing and to let them know that we’re here for them during this time,” he said.

To support franchise owners locally as they find new ways to serve customers, Buffalo Wings & Rings has rolled out several initiatives including Family Packs, which are intended to provide families with a stress-free and convenient meal option. The brand has also enhanced its digital online ordering platform, has added alcohol to off-premise ordering and has implemented programs to utilize its employees as delivery drivers to avoid layoffs. In addition, several of the brand’s locations are participating in a happy hour trivia night, hosted live on Facebook in an effort to connect with the community while social distancing.

Additionally, Buffalo Wings & Rings’ leadership team has been providing ongoing support for financial relief including assistance with applying for PPP loans or government assistance, negotiations with landlords for leases and collaborating extensively with franchise owners in order to prepare them for supporting their teams. The brand has also created relief funds and programs to help keep staff members fed and has also increased its donations to the local communities it serves. 

“Our operations team shifted their focus entirely to franchisees' financial situations, creating a financial model and planning tools to help them better understand and get through 30, 60 and 90 days,” said Masadeh. “We have been fortunate to help our franchise owners sustain their businesses without any closures during this time. We are focused on working closely with our franchise partners to ensure that they are able to serve in the safest way possible and know that we will get out of this together and stronger than ever before.”