Buffalo Wild Wings to Expand Goofy Bar Food Empire

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 25 2014 7:07 PM

Buffalo Wild Wings Invests in Tacos and Pizza

6306095903_78a665890e_b
One of America's favorite foods.

Photo by jeffreyw via Flickr

Burger King stole the restaurant world's spotlight today with its potential bid to buy Canada's beloved Tim Hortons, presumably to avoid paying high U.S. corporate taxes. But another interesting announcement came out of Buffalo Wild Wings, when the company said it had made a majority investment in Mexican chain Rusty Taco and a minority one in upscale pizza restaurant PizzaRev.

Dallas-based Rusty Taco is a relatively small chain with additional locations in Colorado and Minnesota. It falls into the red-hot fast-casual dining sector and specializes in "street-style tacos" according to a press release from Buffalo Wild Wings. PizzaRev is mostly located in California and geared toward the all-natural, health-conscious crowd based on a quick glance at its menu (gluten-free pizza dough and toppings like fennel seeds and arugula feature prominently).

Advertisement

"Buffalo Wild Wings' investment is part of our strategy to partner with emerging restaurant concepts that have the potential for significant growth, can work throughout the country and have a highly engaged management team with a passion to grow the business," Kathy Bennings, Buffalo Wild Wings' executive vice president and chief strategy officer said in a statement.

Buffalo Wild Wings is a favorite among analysts and was named the fastest-growing casual dining chain in the U.S. by Nation's Restaurant News last June. Interestingly and perhaps coincidentally, its decision to expand into tacos and pizza gives it a similar selection to Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. Heather Leiferman, a spokeswoman for Buffalo Wild Wings, says this is because tacos, along with chicken wings and pizza, "are one of America's most popular foods." Fair enough.

Whereas Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell are firmly into the fast-food dining sector, Buffalo Wild Wings and its new investments are much more focused on the fast-casual segment. It's a great place to be in the restaurant business right now—called by some the sweet spot of the industry, it led growth in 2013 with an 11 percent increase in sales. Buffalo Wild Wings is already riding the fast-casual boom in chicken wings. Maybe it can get on board for pizza and tacos as well.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Quora
Sept. 30 2014 9:32 AM Why Are Mint Condition Comic Books So Expensive?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.