Buffalo Wild Wings took a couple of steps towards growing their brand name, selling tacos and pizza.
Eater.com is reporting that Buffalo Wild Wings has acquired the Dallas-based chain Rusty Taco and the Los Angeles-based PizzaRev. The chicken wing chain is now a majority investor in Rusty Taco, which specializes in “street-style tacos” and has nine locations across Dallas, Denver, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. They are also minority investors in PizzaRev, a fast-casual artisanal concept with locations in California, Minnesota, and Utah. The create-your-own pizza chain appears to be catering to the health-conscious crowd: The menu features a gluten-free dough and even has a vegan cheese option.
Kathy Benning, executive vice president of Buffalo Wild Wings, stated both investments are part of the restaurant’s “strategy to partner with emerging restaurant concepts that have the potential for significant growth that can work throughout the country and have a highly engaged management team with a passion to grow the business,.” It’s been a big week for restaurant mergers: Just this morning, Burger King announced today they were acquiring Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion dollars.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Buffalo Wild Wings and believe it can have an immediate impact in helping accelerate our growth,” said Steve Dunn, chief executive officer of Rusty Taco. “Our co-founder, Rusty Fenton, always said, ‘Tacos are the most important meal of the day™’ and we truly live that every day by providing our guests with the freshest ingredients and authentic tasting tacos at an affordable price.”
The Slate is reporting that Buffalo Wild Wings is a favorite among analysts and was named the fastest growing casual dining chain in the U.S. by Nation’s Restaurant News last June. Interestingly and perhaps coincidentally, its decision to expand into tacos and pizza gives it a similar selection to Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. Heather Leiferman, a spokeswoman for Buffalo Wild Wings, says this is because tacos, along with chicken wings and pizza, “are one of America’s most popular foods.” Fair enough.
Whereas Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell are firmly into the fast-food dining sector, Buffalo Wild Wings and its new investments are much more focused on the fast-casual segment. It’s a great place to be in the restaurant business right now—called by some the “sweet spot” of the industry, it led growth in 2013 with an 11 percent increase in sales. Buffalo Wild Wings is already riding the fast-casual boom in chicken wings. Perhaps it can get on board for pizza and tacos as well.