Buffalo Wild Wings came to be in 1982. The American casual dining experience is an invention of Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery. The sports bar cum restaurant chain has been successful throughout the years and despite its very concise tagline “Wings. Beer. Sports,” it has managed to make a name for itself thanks to those delicious fried Buffalo wings and other earthly delights, the company is known for. Also known by an alternative nickname B-Dubs, the chain has found a home in all 50 US states. Of course, that doesn’t cover other countries like Canada, Mexico, India and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few. Yes, the tagline “Wings. Beer. Sports” is concise and doesn’t reveal much about the famous restaurant franchise, which is why we are here to give you the top 10 untold truths about Buffalo Wild Wings. Prepare your taste buds as here goes nothing.
10. Traditional wings dethronement
We all love those beloved wings and when we go hang out at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, nothing else dominates the plate. We are not alone on that front as Americans consumed around 1.35 billion wings at the 2018 Super Bowl. That’s a lot of wings and has been the celebrity food item since the chain’s inception. As of recently in 2016, the boneless wings have replaced the traditional ones in terms of sales for the restaurant franchise. BW3 took a step in 2017, where they replaced its Half-Price Wings Tuesday deal with the buy one and get one offer of boneless wings. It was a risky move for the business, but due to rising costs of chicken wings, the chain was feeding more than they could earn in regards to profits. Eventually, the move towards boneless wings didn’t demand heavy costs and according to Business Insider, the stocks and profits skyrocketed. Looks like the boneless ‘dethroned’ the traditional in this war of the wings and as long they keep serving them, no one’s complaining because they taste just as good.
9. For the love of beer
A sports bar would be incomplete without its fair share of beer. Buffalo Wild Wings likes to greet customers with wings and drinks and since its venture for craft beer since 2013, the chain is only moving forwards when it comes to promoting its beer service. With 1,200 restaurants strewn across America, Buffalo Wild Wings has sold more draft beer than any other place existing in The States. All the chains have a three-tier system consisting of beers like Budweiser on top, regional or state for the second, and customer favorites or seasonal for the third tier. Some of the bigger restaurants under the brand have 30 beers available on tap. The menus of the restaurant comprise of a detailed description of the beer choices, complete with categories, alcohol percentage and the name of the drink. The restaurant now is playing with the concept of B-Dubs Express, whereby there will be sauce and self-serve beer walls to fasten the service process. In one of their locations in Minneapolis, people come across a wall of 10 screens with 20 taps and they can slide their pre-paid card and experiment with the different types of beer choices.
The wall also caters to those who prefer cocktails and margaritas. At the moment there are only three B-Dubs and they all reside in Minneapolis, with one of them having beer and sauce walls. Depending on your wing preference, it would be sacrilege not to chug it all down with a nice cold beer at BW3 and with the upcoming long weekend, it would be a good excuse to check out the B-Dubs Express wall.
8. The vegetarian conundrum
When you think of Buffalo Wild Wings, chicken wings and sauces comes to mind. Nowhere within the confines of your brain do you consider decent vegetarian options in the menu. Vegetarians and vegans have to know that most of the fried food items present are prepared in beef shortening. Yes, you heard that correctly. It has nothing to do with vegetarianism. In fact in 2016, one of the customers at the restaurant found out that the mozzarella sticks and french fries were fried in beef tallow. This led the customer to file a lawsuit against BW3. On behalf of Buffalo Wild Wings, they never advertised their food as being vegetarian and that the customer thought that it was. This led to the case being dismissed in court. It may sound all grim and depressing for those who have ditched meat of any sorts. But it must be addressed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. With a few changes and letting the server know, you can order garden salad without any cheese or crouton and it can be decorated with vegan dressings. White rice and soft pretzels are not far behind in the list, as they too can be opted for when you hit the restaurant. Chicken raps too can be chosen, obviously without the chicken. The options are limited yes, but it’s better than watching your friend devour those wings unceremoniously while you sit pretty, fighting your hunger pangs. And also all that needs to be done further when you decide to go to a BW3 is to read the fine print because you don’t want to fall victim to the beef tallow if you practice all things vegetarian on your plate.
7. The Buffalo Wild Wings connection to Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan
At first glance, one cannot conceive a valid connection between Buffalo Wild Wings and the two figure skating icons Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. One of the founders of BW3, Jim Disbrow was renowned in the 1960s for figure skating. He earned a few medals for his time in the skating ring and competed in singles and pairs figure skating. He, later on, became the chairman of the US Figure Skating Association International Committee. After the Kerrigan and Harding incident, Disbrow was planning to instigate an investigation into the matter and also launch Michelle Kwan to replace Harding. Due to Harding’s persistence of suing the US Olympic committee, she was eligible to compete again. Disbrow’s passion for figure skating was prominent at his memorial that spoke more about his role in the figure skating world than his involvement in founding Buffalo Wild Wings. Wonder if figure skaters get an extra discount on their orders.
6. The gambling prospects
You heard that right. According to Business Insider, Buffalo Wild Wings is delving into new ways to attract more customers. It is currently third right behind Applebee’s Neighbourhood Grill & Bar and Olive Garden. With a dip in sales recently and its standing in the casual dining experience, the chain is looking into gambling. One of the spokespeople from BWW mentioned that “Buffalo Wild Wings is uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for the guests. They were exploring various opportunities and potential partners.” The timing is impeccable as, during May 2018, the US Supreme Court has axed a 1992 law that did not permit gambling in most of the states. Now all that remains is the decision made by individual states to legalize sports betting. Although according to a study, 32 states will allow gambling in the next five years. Half of them will do so within the next two years.
That sure sounds like a unique opportunity for BW3 to bank in on a lot of customers with the sports betting feature attached to their chains. It makes sense to benefit on the sports bar aspect of Buffalo Wild Wings. So what’s next? Slot machines?
5. The hack victim
We live in a digital age where nothing is private. The internet unlocks the secrets to everyone’s personal life online, or digital doppelgangers can live your life however they choose. Celebrity hacks, secret government documents, UFO declassifieds that could make conspiracy buffs proud, you name it, the internet has claimed it. So part of this bandwagon has been the Twitter account of Buffalo Wild Wings. There was an outbreak of objectionable tweets on their account feed and as a result, a BW3 spokesperson had to come out and clarify that the account had been compromised. The 700,000 followers were exposed to racist and distasteful tweets. They have not been the only chain that has been the victim of a hack. Twitter account of McDonald’s too crumbled in the hands of the hackers when one of the tweets from their account called President Donald Trump as disgusting. Even media giants like Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costello have had their accounts hacked.
4. The mysterious ‘W’
BW3 being the nickname of the chain saves us the energy to say the whole thing. Did you know that initially it was termed as Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck. As time passed so too did the ditching of weck. Also called kummelweck, it can be traced back to the 1800s in the region of Western New York. The weck sandwich comprised of roast beef in an au jus kummelweck roll. The delicacy wasn’t very popular outside the realms of New York and because it couldn’t sustain long during the night, the roll would become hard. It was decided to remove ‘the weck’ from the name, but somehow the name BW3 still remains.
During the 35th anniversary in 2017, the chain celebrated by serving limited time menu items. The weck sandwich was part of the menu and was a way to recognize the heritage of the brand. Even though people might have stuck to the wings after the demise of the weck sandwich at BW3, its limited comebacks could allow the guests to try it out, particularly those who haven’t heard about it. Whatever the case, as long as the wings are being served, there is no reason to complain. Besides when we reflect on Mindy Kaling’s wise words, we have the right to life, liberty and most importantly, chicken wings.
3. Blazing, flaming and a whole lot sweating
Buffalo Wild Wings tries to keep things interesting and it is not just restricted to beer and wings. There’s a thing called “Blazin’ Wing Challenge” and the rules that come with competing in it are not meant for the faint of heart. Just hearing about them would make one sweat bucket loads. For 12 bucks you get a dozen of chicken wings, which you have to devour in under less than six minutes. Sounds easy? No. There’s a catch of course. The wings come drenched in the blazin’ sauce which is notorious for its heat levels. The sauce is 60 times hotter than the jalapeno pepper and is about 300,000 Scoville units. It is also considered the world’s spiciest of hot sauces, which means BW3 is not kidding around with the challenge. Its liquid hell basically. Before you even think of involving in such madness, you have to sign a waiver, just in case. You know this is serious stuff when you sign a waiver. During the event, you cannot use any napkins, dips or drinks to minimize the pain. On top of that you can’t even wipe your face and if you do end up vomiting during the competition, you end up losing. During your ‘spicy’ exploits, the manager and the service staff watch as you perish in the blazin’ challenge. You might be thinking what you end up getting for all your misery. Well, you are handed a t-shirt and a photo of you adorns the wall of fame. Bonus, if you do scrape through it all, you get a boost in ego and pride for bearing the pits of hell. That speaks of your courage. Good stuff indeed.
2. Sauces galore
B-Dub’s has an array of sauces up its sleeve, 21 to be precise. It includes sauces like the dreaded Blazin’ to the Honey BBQ to name a few. To keep things fresh and attractive for the guests, they have a secret lab that concocts new flavors. They even re-release retired sauces and bring them back for those who haven’t got a chance to try them out before. Speaking of flavors, Buffalo Wild Wings in celebration of Nation Sauce Month this year, gave the customers an option to order three new sauce mashups. Vampire Slayer, Dirty Bird and El Roco could be used on boneless or traditional wings. They are holding a competition for the employees as well to find out the next unique mashups. This is part of the B-Dubs Hackables found at the restaurant and it seems like the cogs at the sauce labs are going to keep moving, spewing out another tasty formula. That’s a finger licking experience we would love to be engaged in. These initiatives from the chain to experiment with their food and ‘spice’ (pun intended) things up, speaks of their persistence to add variation to their menu and move out of their comfort zone every now and then.
1. Controversy stricken
Buffalo Wild Wings has given us delicious wings and secret sauces to the point where we end up licking our fingers clean. But it has been marred in controversy as well. A story floating around on the internet claimed that it was a policy of the company to switch off or mute the national anthem because it was controversial. The timing was against the chain as the incident according to the claim happened on September 11. The controversy revolved around an actual episode that occurred at one of the chains in California. BW3 had to come out and extinguish the fire, emphasizing that they had no such policy and were disappointed that it happened. During the release of a statement by the chain, the employee was no longer working at the restaurant. Hopefully next time B-Dubs ends up with a controversy regarding its next secret sauce launch. Surely that would be good publicity for the popular chain.