Buffalo Wild Wings Adds The Philippines To Int’l Expansion
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., is continuing its international growth with plans to open restaurant locations in the Philippines.
After entering Canada in 2011 and the Middle East and Puerto Rico earlier this spring, the Golden Valley-based sports bar and restaurant chain announced Wednesday that it has signed a development deal with restaurant operator The Bistro Group to open locations in Makati City and the Manila area.
Buffalo Wild Wings spokesman David Hakensen told Twin Cities Business that construction on the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in Makati City and the Manila area is scheduled to begin this year, with the first opening anticipated in late 2013 or early 2014.
Buffalo Wild Wings chose The Bistro Group, a Manila-based restaurant franchisor, to aid in its development plans. According to its website, The Bistro Group was founded in 1994 and now operates approximately 50 chain restaurants, including TGI Friday’s, in Manila and Makati City.
Hakensen declined to disclose financial terms of the deal but said the agreement calls for The Bistro Group to build at least five locations over five years, with the possibility of adding additional locations in the region after that.
Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t the only U.S.-based “casual dining” restaurant chain eyeing Southeast Asia. Industry analysts attribute the steadily increasing amount of U.S.-based brands expanding there to the region’s population growth and a demand for the higher standards of service that American-style establishments are perceived to display.
Since its first Philippines location opened in 1995, TGI Friday’s has introduced 13 additional restaurants to the region. Similarly, Hurst, Texas-based Italianni’s Restaurant—which was formerly owned by Carlson Restaurants, the parent company of TGI Friday’s and a division of Minnetonka-based Carlson—now operates 16 locations in the Philippines.
“Emerging markets, particularly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, are having a booming population growth, and that equals demand,” Aaron Allen, founder of global restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates, LLC, based in Orlando, Florida, recently told the industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News. “There’s also an amazing thirst for American and Western brands.”
Despite cultural differences in the Philippines, Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t planning to digress too far from its classic “wings, beer, and sports experience” at its new locations, according to Hakensen. The company does, however, intend to discuss menu options with local franchise partner The Bistro Group.
“We anticipate only a few changes to the store layout and menu offerings to appeal to local tastes,” he said. “In Canada, we added a few items such as sweet potato fries and two new sauces tailored to the local palate. We may undertake similar additions in the Philippines.”
Matt Brokl, the vice president of international development for Buffalo Wild Wings, said the Philippines is the “natural choice” for Buffalo Wild Wings’ additional international expansion, as the region boasts a fast-growing economy and an expanding middle class interested in casual dining.
“The Philippines have passionate sports fans, who we believe will love the great atmosphere at Buffalo Wild Wings, as well as enjoy a menu filled with our classic hot, fresh wings, and local favorites,” CEO Sally Smith said in a statement.
Buffalo Wild Wings recently released its second-quarter profits, which increased 41 percent over the same period last year. According to the franchise, it opened 10 new company-owned restaurants in North America during the second quarter, compared to four during the same period in 2012. The company also announced that it is searching for Minneapolis locations for PizzaRev, a make-your-own pizza chain the company invested in earlier this year.
Founded in 1982, Buffalo Wild Wings currently has more than 940 locations across 49 states and Canada. It is among Minnesota’s 35 largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $1.04 billion for the fiscal year that ended December 30, 2012.