Buffalo Wild Wings has revealed it will sell about 10 percent of its company-owned units. The strategic move will convert the locations to franchisee-operated stores and officials hope improve margins as the brand works to pump up sales and profits. The news was announced during an earnings call last week. The company currently owns 631 of its more than 1,200 locations.
Officials also have indicated that they are open to further sales of company locations in the future if the sale of the initial restaurants gets good results. No specific goal in terms of the percentage of units the brand wants to own and operate was provided. Buffalo Wild Wings says it will continue building and buying locations in markets where ROI is strong.
The company has been hampered recently by declining store sales, an increase in chicken wing prices, growing competition, and a shift in consumer demand toward more delivery services.
The refranchising initiative may not have much impact during 2017, with the bulk of restaurant sales not coming until 2018. In fact, the company plans to continue to expand its 1,200-unit chain this year by starting 15 new company-owned restaurants in the U.S., 15 franchised locations in the U.S., and 20 franchised locations outside the U.S. The company also said it would expand its R Taco chain with two company-owned restaurants and 12 to 15 franchised locations this year.
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