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May 28, 2024

Buffalo Wild Wings’ takeout strategy is so lucrative it’s building more to-go stores

The chain plans to open 50 Go locations by the end of 2024.
Screenshot: Buffalo Wild Wings

Chicken wings may taste better when you can get them to go. And that may in part be why Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) is focusing on its Go business.

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Born in 2020, Go shops are smaller than the chain’s typical sports bar locations, and only operate on a delivery and takeout basis. The Go locations, which now number 100, offer similar products, including wings, burgers, and party platters. That could be a sweet spot for customers in search of convenience.

With casual dining on the decline, the company’s Go business could be poised for growth. Before the covid-19 pandemic, delivery orders made up only 15% of sales for Buffalo Wild Wings, John Bowie, the company’s brand president, told CNBC. Four years later, the fast food chain gets a third of its revenue from takeout.

Bowie added that the Go business has been an opportunity to use the chain’s takeout strategy and “put it inside a freestanding unit.” He added that Buffalo Wild Wings is aiming to open about 50 Go shops by the end of 2024.

“We’ve seen with the 60 franchisees we have now that they can start stamping these out,” Bowie said, adding that the company has about 600 commitments to open more Go locations.

Moreover, there are fewer costs and approval hurdles associated with a smaller location than a sports bar.

Go’s off-premise stamp could be one way Buffalo Wild Wings drums up investor attention. The company, which opened its first location in 1982, is owned by Inspire brands, a fast-food restaurant franchise company backed by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Inspire, which also owns brands such as Arby’s and Dunkin’, is mulling an IPO later this year or in 2025. The franchise operator is shooting for a $20 billion valuation.

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