Buffalo Wings & Rings is looking to add restaurants in the Chicago area as part of a national expansion.
The Cincinnati-based chain wants to build from its base of three restaurants, one each in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, west suburban Naperville and in far northwest suburban Crystal Lake. The Bridgeport restaurant is among the company’s best performers, and Crystal Lake has shown strong same-store sales growth.
“We definitely see Chicago being a big factor in our growth,” said Philip Schram, executive vice president of development. “If we can sign five franchise agreements in the next couple of years, that would be a good number.”
Buffalo Wings & Rings, founded in 1984,wants to add at least 50 restaurants nationwide within a five years, nearly doubling in size from the 60 restaurants it has now.
Schram said his company’s typical customer is slightly older than those at Buffalo Wild Wings, the leader in the wings restaurant business. Buffalo Wild Wings, which got its start in 1982 in Columbus, Ohio, has more than 1,000 restaurants.
“We are a family restaurant,” Schram said. “We provide food, entertainment and we’re budget conscious. That’s the reason why we fit in well in the suburbs.”
Schram said competition in the casual-dining business makes is easier to expand in the Chicago area because groups of restaurants become customer destinations.
“We like to be a few miles away from our competitor with a similar-sounding name,” Schram said. “But there is room for our competitor and us to grow nationwide.”