TAMPA — A Cincinnati-based sports restaurant is looking to move into Tampa Bay suburbs as soon as the end of next year.
The Buffalo Wings and Rings chain currently has four locations in Florida.It also is launching a restaurant in Orlando near SeaWorld this year and is committed to at least five more central Florida spots.
"Tampa would connect the dots," Nader Masadeh, the company's CEO said in a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
The density and penetration of a business improves the brand recognition, which is essential to the growth of a new franchise, said chief development officer Philip Schram, who is responsible for assisting existing franchises and locating new partnerships.
"People travel in Florida. The more customers see our brand… the more it boosts sales," he said.
The company is not affiliated with Minnesota-based Buffalo Wild Wings, which has multiple locations throughout Tampa Bay.
After nearly thirty years, the founders of Buffalo Wings and Rings decided to sell in 2005. Masadeh, the son of a franchise owner, teamed with Schram and Haytham David to buy the company. In 12 years, the team expanded from five locations to more than 70 in six countries.
"The foundation was solid," Masadeh said, "(The company) just needed some professional management and organization to take it to the next level."
Buffalo Wings and Rings markets its brand as a "club-level" experience offering better quality food and a VIP dining environment. "Never frozen" dining options including boneless wings made from handed-breaded chicken tenders or hand-pressed burgers.
While in Clearwater for the company's annual conference, Schram said his group is looking for potential franchise partners here.
"One thing I love about America is people dream to have their own business," said Schram, who left France in 1999 to pursue opportunities in the U.S.
He acknowledged it's not easy to run a restaurant. "Some people are confused on the hard work it takes," he said. "A lot of people think you have an absentee business. 'I buy a business. I collect a check. And I'm not involved.'"
Target locations for the chain include New Tampa, Brandon, Wesley Chapel, and Temple Terrace.
It costs about $1.4 million to finance a Buffalo Wings and Rings: $600,000 for construction of the 6,000-square-foot building, $600,000 for restaurant equipment and $200,000 for legal and franchise fees and working capital, according to Schram.
"We want people that believe in our company," Schram said. "They have to believe in the cultural standards we set."
Contact Tierra Smith at [email protected] tampabay.com or (414) 702-5006. Follow @bytierrasmith.