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How Buffalo Wild Wings Turned the Sports Bar Into a $1.5 Billion Juggernaut


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The Secret Sauce Bloomberg Business Business Financial & Economic News Stock Quotes

The Secret Sauce Bloomberg Business Business Financial & Economic News Stock Quotes

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-b...

Wild Wings restaurants won’t make any Michelin list. Wings are about $1 apiece and available in an almost comical number of varieties: boneless or boned, with five dry seasonings and 17 sauces with names like Jammin' Jalapeño and Thai Curry arrayed on a heat scale. The rest of the menu is sports-bar standard—nachos, mozzarella sticks, burgers—and the beer list isn’t terribly adventurous. Most people don’t need to leave home to watch their favorite team on a state-of-the-art TV. But the chain appeals to customers across a wide band, from pub-loving sports nuts to families looking for a cheap night out. Revenue was $1.5 billion last year.

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The formula is evident in the company's newest restaurants, which have been rolled out across the country over the past two years. The high ceilings and blonde finishes upend the dank-and-dark stereotype of the sports bar. At the Germantown location, the mixed crowd is spread across several barrier-free zones: Customers in Badger garb gravitate to the high-top tables dotting the floor around the bar; families with young children stick to the carpeted areas with booths. At least five of the 53 TVs are visible from any seat.

There are trivia games and wing-eating contests for adults, video games on tablets for kids. “We consider ourselves to have 1,100 stadiums,” says Ben Nelsen, vice president for guest experience and innovation. “We want to have a piece not only of that food dollar but that entertainment dollar.”

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It's interesting that Buffalo Wild Wings occupies a part of the restaurant market where there's not a lot of competition. Sports bar with reasonably priced decent food doesn't really have any competing chains. 

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