The new owner of Buffalo Wild Wings has made another addition to the casual chain’s leadership team with the appointment of a chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola and InterContinental Hotels veteran Seth Freeman.
The position is a new one for the wings chain, owner Inspire Brands said. Freeman will be responsible for culinary, digital, advertising and guest experience activities, the company added.
Freeman previously oversaw global marketing for InterContinental’s Holiday Inn brand. He also was involved with the lodging giant’s budget concept, Holiday Inn Express. Both systems are heavily franchised, and encompass about 2,000 locations. About half of Buffalo Wild Wings’ 1,200 locations are franchised.
Freeman’s new employer noted that the Howard and Georgia State University grad worked on design as well as elements of customers’ experience while at InterContinental, where Inspire CEO Paul Brown had also worked.
Inspire was formed through the purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings by Arby’s for $2.9 billion. That deal also brought R Taco, a fast-casual Mexican concept, into the fold. The company has said it intends to amass a collection of restaurant brands, and has cited hotel companies’ multiple-chain portfolios as a model of what it hopes to become.
Inspire recently paid The Wendy’s Co. $450 million to purchase the burger franchisor’s 12.3% stake in Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. Wall Street has speculated that Inspire will eventually be spun off from its owner, the private-equity firm Roark Capital, through a public stock offering.
Before joining InterContinental in late 2013, Freeman was senior brand manager of Coca-Cola’s Gold Peak iced tea brand.