Buffalo Wild Wings has hired Rita Patel, currently VP of marketing for Target, to join the wings chain as CMO on Sept. 14.
She will fill the vacancy left by the departure of Seth Freeman in late spring. Freeman served in the post for less than two years.
Prior to her time at Target, Patel had worked on marketing for companies such as MillerCoors, Beam Suntory and Wrigley.
“Throughout her career, Rita has been known for her creative and strategic approach to building brands and engaging with consumers, while also demonstrating a strong drive for results,” Lyle Tick, Buffalo Wild Wings’ president, said in a statement. “Her unique experiences in consumer marketing for a variety of well-known global brands makes her a natural fit for fan-favorite Buffalo Wild Wings.”
She joins the brand as it contends with fierce competition from quick-service and virtual brands specializing in wings for takeout and delivery. Such limited-service chains as Wingstop have enjoyed an upsurge in business during the pandemic, while casual giants such as Chili’s Grill and Bar and Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar have spun off brands that offer chicken wings solely for off-premise sales.
With 1,200 branches, Buffalo Wild Wings is a cornerstone of Inspire Brands, also the parent of Arby’s, Jimmy John’s and Rusty Taco. It operates or franchises 11,100 restaurants in total.