Buffalo Wild Wings' secret to success has nothing to do with the menu


buffalo wild wings

Buffalo Wild Wings on Facebook

Buffalo Wild Wings is all about the customer experience.

Buffalo Wild Wings is the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the US, and the company is thriving where casual-dining competitors like Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Applebee's have struggled.


How did executives do it? By making Buffalo Wild Wings a fun place to hang out.

While many chains focus on the food and the menu, Buffalo Wild Wings invests in the customer experience.

This aspect could be key to the company's growth. Buffalo Wild Wings will report earnings today.

Each location has numerous TVs, and customers can watch the event of their choice. Customers can play trivia games on tablets as servers entice them to sample new sauces.


"Buffalo Wild Wings looked fun, and cost-conscious families saw it as a two-fer," Bloomberg analyst Jennifer Bartahus writes. "If you're going to spend $40 on your family, the lure of being able to entertain yourself at the same time is strong."

Buffalo Wild Wings' success can be partly attributed to consumers moving to affordable subscription services like Netflix over traditional, costly cable packages, writes Bryan Gruley at Bloomberg.

"The restaurants focused on sports as younger clientele came to watch cable and satellite channels they couldn't afford at home," Gruley writes. "Buffalo Wild Wings became an early adopter of flatscreens and high-definition TV."

The company has hired "guest captains" who are responsible for changing TV channels. They were key to the brand's March Madness strategy, vice president of marketing Bob Ruhland told Business Insider.

"This person isn't burdened with cleaning tables and delivering food," Ruhland said. "They make sure that TVs are on the right channel and are going to be really key during March Madness when people are following specific teams."


CEO Sally Smith told Bloomberg Business that the company would build as many as 600 locations in the US.

While Netflix might be helping Buffalo Wild Wings' business, Macy's says the company is partly to blame for sluggish sales.

Millennials have a tendency to spend money on electronics and online subscriptions rather than apparel, CFO Karen Hoguet said at a conference covered by MarketWatch earlier this year.

"I think part of that is the customers are buying other things, whether the electronics, cable services, Netflix, whatever," Hoguet said.


NOW WATCH: 9 things you didn't know about Chipotle