These Buffaloes Have Wings

I guess that's why they call them wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD  ) keeps flying. The fast-growing chain of family-friendly sports bars with its signature wings and hokey game-altering commercials posted strong quarterly results last night.

Revenue climbed 30% to $197.8 million. Expansion was the key contributor, as B-Dubs is watching over 44 more company-owned restaurants and 41 more franchised locations than it was a year ago. However, store-level sales are also hopping. Comps spiked 5.7% at its units, with franchised eateries posting a 4.2% increase.

Analysts were only banking on a profit of $0.59 a share on a 26% top-line spurt.

Initiating its guidance for 2012, Buffalo Wild Wings sees a 20% pop in profitability. It is targeting unit growth of 12%. At some point in 2013 the chain will have 1,000 locations serving saucy chicken wings and cold brews as patrons are surrounded by televised sports.

Restaurant stocks are fickle beasts, though. There are few companies along the lines of Panera (Nasdaq: PNRA  ) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG  ) that have managed to remain consistently popular. Even the historically reliable P.F. Chang's (Nasdaq: PFCB  ) succumbed to negative comps earlier this year.

Buffalo Wild Wings has succeeded by taking sports bars -- a niche that's dominated by indie haunts owned by local sporting legends -- and taking it to the next level on a consistent scale. The family-friendly bent is also important, since Hooters has also pretty much done the same thing only incorporating cleavage into the mix of beer and hot wings.

B-Dubs isn't perfect. It had a rare quarterly miss three months ago. However, even in that disappointing second-quarter showing, Buffalo Wild Wings managed to post healthy gains in comps, revenue, and profitability.

Buffalo Wild Wings had topped Wall Street's profit forecasts for five straight quarters before stumbling this summer. Last night's victorious report -- like the Cardinals' 3-2 win over the Rangers in the first game of the World Series last night -- puts the company back in control.

If you like your restaurant news in heaping servings, consider adding these stocks to the free My Watchlist news-tracking feature.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Panera Bread. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Panera Bread. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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