Buffalo Wild Wings Seeks Another Chain for Investment

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD), which bought a minority stake in fast-casual chain PizzaRev last year, has found another eatery to invest in, giving it a new way to expand in a crowded restaurant industry.

“We have one in particular that we’re looking at,” Chief Executive Officer Sally Smith said in a phone interview. She declined to name the brand, saying Buffalo Wild Wings is still performing due diligence on the concept.

As part of its growth strategy, Buffalo Wild Wings aims to invest in up-and-coming casual eateries that can be franchised nationwide. That’s what it’s doing with PizzaRev, letting the company expand from chicken wings into pizza. PizzaRev, based in Los Angeles, specializes in craft-your-own pizzas, letting customers choose from a range of doughs, sauces and cheeses.

After buying a stake in PizzaRev in March 2013, Buffalo Wild plans to open its first store under the brand in Minnesota in May. The company, which has the franchise rights to open PizzaRev locations in Minnesota, Colorado and Dallas, also is looking at a couple other potential PizzaRev sites in the Twin Cities, Smith said.

While the company expects to add about 700 Buffalo Wild stores in the U.S. and Canada, investing in smaller brands gives it another avenue to boost sales. The chicken-wing seller said yesterday that first-quarter revenue rose 21 percent to $367.9 million. Its expansion is outpacing the overall industry’s U.S. sales growth, which the National Restaurant Association pegs at 3.6 percent this year.

Buffalo Wild shares rose 5.3 percent to $140.41 at 3:21 p.m. in New York. Shares of the Minneapolis-based company had lost 9.4 percent this year through yesterday, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 1.1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net John Lear

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