Restaurant Right-Sizing to Attract Millennials


Buffalo Wild Wings has announced the opening of two pilot locations in Minneapolis this summer. Called B-Dubs Express, the small-format locations will only measure about 2,500 feet; a big reduction from their traditionally gargantuan restaurants. The first two sites are testing locations, to determine how BWW can meet the needs of the modern customer.

The locations will rely on counter service and minimal seating for approximately 35-50 guests. In an effort to remain consistent with their brand, they have opted to include televisions programmed on sports channels and offer alcohol including draft, bottled beer, and wine. Customers can expect to see BWW’s famous wings, chicken tenders, sandwiches, burgers, salads, buffalo mac and cheese, and shareable sides. They’ve also partnered with DoorDash to offer convenient delivery options.

This news comes just in the nick of time after their CEO, Sally J. Smith wrote a letter to shareholders faulting millennials for plummeting sales in the casual-dining market. In her letter, Smith outlines the chain’s three biggest problems; changing customer tastes, slowing mall traffic, and declining sports viewership. Her solutions? “Smaller footprint units that can be opened in more population-dense areas, focusing on takeout and delivery,” to “drive costs out of [Buffalo Wild Wings].”

This move is indicative of a much broader market trend. Large footprints are killing businesses. The overhead, staffing costs, and declining foot traffic make it extremely difficult for restaurants and retail to generate enough sales to justify maintaining their storefronts. As the year progresses, we’re seeing many more companies opting for small footprints and micro structures for testing markets, and right-sizing their physical locations to accommodate their customer foot-traffic. Don’t expect this trend to slow down. Small and agile is the B2C revolution.

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