With more than 835 restaurants in the United States and Canada, Buffalo Wild Wings continues to expand its brand internationally with agreements to open restaurants in the Middle East and Puerto Rico.
The agreements mark the first overseas expansions for the company, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012.
“This is an exciting time for Buffalo Wild Wings,” says Sally Smith, CEO and president of Buffalo Wild Wings. “Across the globe, sports is something that brings people together, and we are confident that sports fans in the Middle East and Puerto Rico will be drawn to the sense of camaraderie and fun that is the Buffalo Wild Wings experience.”
Recently, Buffalo Wild Wings signed a 22-unit development agreement with the Olayan Group, an international enterprise and restaurant operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, headquartered in Saudi Arabia.
The agreement includes locations in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and options for four additional Middle Eastern countries over the next six years.
In addition, the company signed an agreement with an existing Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee, Sunshine Restaurant Corp., to open four locations in Puerto Rico by the end of 2016. The first restaurants are expected to open in 2013.
“We spend a great deal of time learning about the countries, cultures, and potential partners as we enter new markets,” says Mo Sawda, Buffalo Wild Wings managing director, international. “We are pleased to be working with two well-known, well-respected, and successful developers in this new expansion.”
The core elements of Buffalo Wild Wings’ success—wings and sports—will remain, but will be modified to fit with the local cultures. For example, the company expects that in the Middle East, soccer and horse racing may replace some of the sports staples seen on screens in North American Buffalo Wild Wings locations, but the passion for those sports will remain the same.
Buffalo Wild Wings is adding to its food and beverage offerings and adapting the restaurant layout to fit with local tastes. It has produced an extensive selection of nonalcoholic drinks, juices, sparkling waters, and coffees for locations where alcohol cannot be served.
“We see a tremendous opportunity for the Buffalo Wild Wings brand in the Middle East,” says Samer Al-Khawashki, Olayan Group vice president, consumer division. “The concept of a social gathering place for sports is one that we are confident will resonate here just as it does in the United States and Canada.”
The developer of Buffalo Wild Wings’ Puerto Rican locations is no stranger to the brand. Sunshine Restaurant Corp. currently operates nine Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in central Florida. Sunshine has been listed as one of the region’s five fastest-growing privately held companies.
“After eight years of growth in central Florida, leading Buffalo Wild Wings’ expansion into the Caribbean is an exciting opportunity for our shareholders and team members,” says Andrew L. Gross, Sunshine CEO and president. “We have been serving the large Puerto Rican population in the Orlando metro, and this move into Puerto Rico is a logical expansion for Sunshine and the Buffalo Wild Wings brand.”
In addition to the Middle East and Puerto Rico locations, Buffalo Wild Wings continues to explore opportunities in markets across the world.