The crowd goes wild for Buffalo Wild Wings

  @FortuneMagazine July 8, 2013: 7:04 AM ET
FGC22 buffalo wild

In a Miami Buffalo Wild Wings during the NBA finals


CEO: Sally Smith
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Employees: 20,000 corporate, 40,000 franchise
The business: Sports bars and grills

You'll notice the televisions first -- no fewer than 40, often topping 60, lining the walls, above the bar, everywhere. The ubiquitous screens are there to make sure you get what you've come here for, which is the game, of course. You'll have two types of servers, a food-order waiter and a "guest experience captain." The captain will make sure you and your friends can see whatever game you came to watch -- even soccer. If you wish, the captain can set up trivia to play. "At Buffalo Wild Wings," says Conrad Lyon, an analyst at B. Riley & Co., "the food is secondary. The games are the event." And games tend to last longer than your typical meal, so the average Wild Wings (BWLD) patron ends up lingering over wings. (Indeed, during the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament patrons consumed some 70 million Wild Wings.) Such consumption is fueling a rapid expansion: CEO Sally Smith says that the chain will nearly double its number of restaurants in the next seven years, with outlets in Dubai and Mexico arriving in time for the World Cup.

This story is from the July 22, 2013 issue of Fortune. To top of page

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