Marketing

All-you-can-eat wings deliver traffic spike for Buffalo Wild Wings

Visits jumped by as much as 74% on days the promotion ran last month, according to data from Placer.ai.
Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant
The $20 deal is running on Mondays and Wednesdays for a limited time. | Photo: Shutterstock

It’s been less than a month, but Buffalo Wild Wings’ all-you-can-eat chicken wings deal already appears to be a big success.

Customers flocked to the full-service wing chain on days when the promotion was offered, driving up traffic by as much as 74% and snapping a long streak of sluggish business.

That’s according to data published Thursday by Placer.ai, which tracks consumer foot traffic.

The deal launched on May 13 offers customers endless boneless wings and fries for $19.99 when they dine in on Mondays and Wednesdays for a limited time.

During the last three Mondays in May, Buffalo Wild Wings’ traffic spiked 30%, 40% and 56% compared to the average for that day, Placer.ai found. Before that, the chain had seen negative traffic every Monday dating back to at least March 4.

And on the last three Wednesdays of the month, the chain’s traffic bested the average by 50.5%, 74% and 37%, ending a similar negative pattern. 

Placer.ai said the deal is one of the most successful in terms of driving visits that it has seen in casual dining for some time. “It wouldn’t be a surprise to see other chains introduce similar limited-time promotions in the near future,” said R.J. Hottovy, head of analytical research for Placer.ai, in a statement.

Buffalo Wild Wings took a big risk with the bottomless offer, which is similar to the $20 Endless Shrimp deal that helped push Red Lobster into bankruptcy. The shrimp proposition drove traffic but cost Red Lobster $11 million in a single quarter.

Rather than shying away from the Red Lobster comparison, B-Dubs used it as a marketing hook, asking fans on social media “please don’t bankrupt us” as it promoted the deal.

Value in the form of discounts and promotions has become a key strategy in the industry recently as brands across segments look to appeal to inflation-weary consumers.

And while endless wings has proven to be a strong draw for Buffalo Wild Wings, it’s unknown what sort of impact it has had on the chain’s bottom line. It did not respond to a question Thursday about the deal’s profitability.

The Atlanta-based chain struggled last year, with U.S. systemwide sales up just 0.5% despite 1.8% unit growth, according to Technomic data. 

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