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20 Things You Didn't Know About Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings has become an American favorite for fast-food dining and take-out orders. They offer a wide variety of menu items with a focus on chicken wings. They're the ultimate for chicken wing addicts and the menu accommodates all tastes from the very mild to tongue-searing spiciness. To honor the king of wings, we've discovered 20 really cool things about Buffalo Wild Wings that you probably didn't know but will be happy to hear about.

1. They've only been around since 1982

Although it seems that this staple restaurant has been in our lives forever (that's only true for some of us), they were actually founded in 1982. Since opening their first location in the early 1980s, they've expanded to a thousand times their original size. That's right! There are a total of more than 1,000 Buffalo Wild Wings distributed throughout the United States and the company is still growing. The demand for their delicious wings is high and they have to open more locations on a regular basis just to keep up with all the hungry customers.

2. They bought a stake in a taco restaurant

Here's a fun fact that very few people know about Buffalo Wild Wings. They not only deal in chicken and beer, but they also have a majority stake in a different kind of fast food restaurant that is called R Taco. Their subsidiary restaurant was previously known as Rusty Taco, but it's mercifully just been shortened to R Taco. Nobody really wants to think that they may be eating rust. There are a total of nine Taco R restaurants currently.

3. Buffalo Wild Wings has roots in figure skating.

Another little-known fact about Buffalo Wild Wings is that one of the co-founders, Jim Disbrow was a professional in the world of figure skating during the 1960s. He was also named the president of the United States Figure Skating Association and he served at the post between 1998 and 2000. He also judges a variety of figure skating competitions. It was he and his co-founder Scott Lowery who envisioned the Buffalo Wings restaurant that would serve the wings that they craved, in a New York style, that they had such difficulty finding when they were out on the road. In fact, they were coming home from judging a skating competition when the conversation first came up.

4. They were hit with a pricing bombshell but handled it okay

Here's another interesting fact that not too many people know about. Buffalo Wild Wings was hit with an increase in the pricing for their supply of wings and it happened within just a few short months. They were faced with a decision about how to keep the prices within reason for their customers without going in the hole themselves. This is why they developed such a unique pricing structure for their menu offerings. They were forced to take action that would reduce the volatility of their market and so they struck a deal to modify pricing for two-thirds of the wing supply and it helped to narrow the range of cost per pound that customers pay when the price of wings goes up in line with market prices. It's a complicated affair but Buffalo Wild Wings stepped up to the plate and started their negotiations and came out with a plan that would work for everybody.

5. The company has crushed the market since its IPO

Buffalo Wild Wings went public and the pricing of its first public offering came out to a split-adjusted $8.50 a share near the end of 2003. The price continued to go upwards reaching a total of thirty-five percent within the first day of trading. The gain has been crazy good. Even investments made after that remarkable first day brought in profits of almost a sixteen hundred percent gain on the original investment.

6. Buffalo Wild Wings plans to triple the number of locations

Buffalo Wild Wings is setting out on a rather lofty adventure. They recently sat at the round table of planning and strategizing for their long and short-term growth planning. The new goal that they set is to go worldwide and increase the total number of restaurants in their repertoire to a whopping 3,000. In essence, they are planning to triple their current base of operations. They understand that this will take time, so they've set forth a plan for reaching the goal and they set a manageable number of opening up 2,100 more restaurants within nine years. These plans include 400 more internationally and 1,700 within the United States.

7. They sell a lot of beer

There's actually a lot more to this fun fact that just the notion that they sell a lot of beer. They've actually tracked the statistics on the amount of beer that they have sold. According to an analysis, twenty percent of their total sales for one quarter consisted of alcoholic beverages. They have been dubbed the largest pourer of draft beer in the nation.

8. They're acquiring multiple franchises

One of the fastest ways for a company to expand rapidly is through the acquisition of multiple franchises. Because Buffalo Wild Wings is such a good bet, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who are willing to take a chance on making the investment to give it a go for themselves. In a single year, Buffalo Wild Wings spent $160 million to repurchase several franchised locations throughout Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas. This is helping to keep a steady stream of royalty revenue coming into the coffers and it's a way for them to expand more quickly with very little overhead costs. The statistics show that the company owned Buffalo-Wild Wings locations are more lucrative financially than those that are not.

9. It took the company 29 years to international

Nearly three decades after Buffalo Wild Wings opened its first location in the United States, the executive team decided that it was time to go international. While it took them almost thirty years to come to this point in the development of the business, they opened their first international Buffalo Wild Wings location in Canada in 2011. Since this time, they've expanded with new locations throughout Canada and have even expanded into other parts of the world. You can find a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Mexico, the Philippines and in their most recently added location of Dubai.

10. They're revamping their old restaurants

If the Buffalo Wild Wings in your neck of the woods is looking kind of outdated, don't be surprised when it gets a facelift. Buffalo Wild Wings is going through and ordering remodeling jobs for their older locations so they will be consistent in design with the new locations they've been putting up. They've gone with a new modern look with state of the art sound and video as well as strategic seating patterns. They call the new style their Stadia look because it's modeled after their Stadia location. Their goal was set years ago and they had hoped to have remodeled 30% of their restaurants by 2015 and the rest within the decade.

11. Buffalo Wild Wings is reaching market saturation

According to analysts and experts in the field, Buffalo Wild Wings will probably reach a market saturation point. They anticipate that when this happens the growth of the company will slacken. This is what stock analysts do, but are they really correct about it? We're not so sure because unlike many other restaurants, the products are in high demand but they're not available everywhere yet. They made these projections when there was just 1,000 Buffalo Wild Wings locations around. There are more than a thousand currently and the growth, so far is continuing without a sign that they're "saturating the market" with the delicious chicken wings that everyone seems to crave.

12. They plan to expand their acquisitions

We briefly discussed the fact that Buffalo Wild Wings bought out the R Taco chain of restaurants. They started out with nine locations. We learned recently that after making the investment in the new company, they are looking at purchasing up to seven more establishments. They've been looking at a few hundred different options and the plans are to buy up seven more fast food chains within a five year period.

13. The flagship restaurant closed down

While it sounds ominous that a major chain closed down its very first and original location, it happened with the first Buffalo Wild Wings. It's not a big deal though. They closed down the Ohio restaurant in 2006, but they replaced it with an even bigger and better, upgraded version that has more than 8,000 square feet of space. In addition to this, it's only two blocks from the original location.

14. Most people can't guess their most popular menu item

When the question is posed which type of wings sells the most between traditional and boneless, most people believe that the traditional are the best sellers. Some others vote for the boneless, but amazingly both sides are wrong about it. The reason for this is because, statistically, they are tied with each achieving a score of 21 percent of total sales.

15. Buffalo Wild Wings bought into PizzaRev

Although they didn't purchase a majority or controlling share in the business, BWW bought a minority share in the PizzaRev company. Remember how they said that they were going to acquire 7 new companies in five years? This is just a part of their strategy. The Pizza restaurant had 29 locations open at the time that Buffalo Wild Wings had made an investment in them.

16. The Management of the company is responsible for their massive growth

In 1994, Buffalo Wild Wings had grown to a chain the size of 35 sports restaurants. They were popular but they had not yet achieved an identity within the local communities or within the nation yet. It took expansion and a greater saturation of the market so to speak before they would become well-known and in high demand. Through skilled management decisions, they've grown by leaps and bounds from obscurity.

17. Buffalo Wild Wings is careful about how they handle price increases

Before the company raises their menu prices, they go through a three-step process first. They begin with an increase in alcoholic beverages, then they up the price on their special days including boneless Thursday and Wing Tuesday. They're slow and methodical and it's only done when absolutely necessary.

18. They're implementing new payment and ordering methods

Buffalo Wild Wings is in the process of making it easier to order and to pay. In many locations, these services are already available. It's possible to order your goodies online, pick a time when you want to go get it and pay for it conveniently online or at the restaurant when you pick it up.

19. They implemented a new lunch program

Buffalo Wild Wings kicked off a new lunch program that targets customers who are budget conscious with limited lunchtime specials that discount the prices of their meals. These have been huge successes. Their lunchtime and happy hour specials are appreciated and they draw in the crowds. In fact, it's a good idea to keep your eye out for all kinds of differnt specials because every now and then, they come up with some deals that are nothing short of fantastic, but you've got to get there while it's still going on because they don't hang around for long.

20. They have a cute nickname

Not everyone is aware of the cute and catchy nickname that Buffalo Wild Wings has been given, but it's a lot less of a mouthful which makes it easier to say. Many loyal customers just refer to the eatery as B-Dubs. When you say it, the phrase just kind of rolls off of your tongue. It's similar to the nickname that they gave former president George W Bush when everyone just started referring to him as Dub-ya. That would have worked too, but it was already taken. Whether you call it by its term of endearment or use the long and drawn out version of the company's given name, there is no denying that Buffalo Wild Wings offers some very special treats for people who enjoy eating darned good chicken wings.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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