11M Buffalo Wild Wings sold on Super Bowl: CEO

BWLD's 'winging' strategy: CEO
BWLD's 'winging' strategy: CEO   

It was certainly a Super Sunday for Buffalo Wild Wings.

CEO Sally Smith told CNBC on Friday the sports restaurant chain sold more than 11 million chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday alone. "That was up from 9.1 million last year."

Certainly that number will help current quarter earnings. But in the fourth quarter, the company said late Thursday it earned $1.07 a share, which was 4 cents below expectations. Revenue of nearly $409 million matched estimates.

Smith said in a "Squawk Box" interview that quarterly results were held back some by higher chicken prices and higher labor costs.

"We've been spending on labor in 2014," she continued, "adding what we call 'Guest Experience Captains' in all of our stores." Workers in this new position "help the guests that come into Buffalo Wild Wings find the game on the 40-plus TVs we have [and] help them sample foods."

Minimum wage increases have also put some pressure on labor costs, she explained, saying "we expect that to moderate throughout 2015."

The restaurant chain did see a more than 5 percent increase in same store sales in the fourth quarter, while forecasting a strong 11 percent rise in store sales for the first five weeks of 2015.

Smith said Buffalo Wild Wings is also trying to enhance the customer experience through technology. "Tablets ... are in 70 percent in all of our stores. That should be complete before the end of the year. Guests will be able to order on the tablet, and then we hope by the end of 2015 we'll be working on pay on the tablet as well."

There are currently more than 1,070 Buffalo Wild Wings locations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. She said the company expects to add 90 stores in 2015, with a goal in the coming years of 1,700 restaurants.

Overseas, a franchise partner in the Philippines opened its first Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant there last month, while franchised locations in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are expected to open soon.


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