Within the past few years, it seems like Buffalo Wild Wings, affectionately called B-Dubs by its many loyal fans, has exploded in popularity. The chain, which started in 1982, has been on a tear recently, quickly becoming one of the country’s most popular chain restaurants. While its popularity may be increasing, though, we bet that there are still a lot of things you don’t know about it.
The Minneapolis-based chain got its start more than 30 years ago, when founders Jimmy Disbrow and Scott Lowery were unable to find any decent wings in town(something hard to believe today). So they set out to open their own restaurant, perfected their wing sauce recipe, and within 10 years there were eight locations.
Disbrow and Lowery knew that they had something good on their hands, so in 1994 they brought CEO Sally Smith onboard, who’s still with the company today and is largely responsible for the chain’s staggering success. Smith established HR, marketing, and finance departments, and in November 2003 led the company through a successful IPO; the chain’s 300th location opened the following year.
Today, Buffalo Wild Wings has just over 1,000 locations with revenues of more than $1 billion, and is in the process of expanding to Canada, the Middle East, and Puerto Rico. And while the concept keeps evolving (the menu now includes “Slammers,” flatbreads, salads, and wraps), the core concept – wings, sports, and beer – remains the same, with 16 sauces, including teriyaki, parmesan garlic, honey barbecue, Thai curry, and Caribbean jerk, making sure that customers never get bored.
So read on to learn all about this super-popular chain, and next time you drop in you can impress your server with some serious B-Dubs knowledge.
It Was Inspired by a Figure Skating Competition
The idea for Buffalo Wild Wings was born when Disbrow, a renowned figure skater who was living in Buffalo at the time, came to Kent, Ohio to judge an amateur figure skating competition. He set out with his good friend Lowery to get some wings like he was used to in Buffalo, but they couldn’t find any.
It was Founded in Columbus, Ohio, not Buffalo
The first location opened on the campus of The Ohio State University one year after the idea was hatched, and was an immediate hit.