Buffalo Wild Wings Camping

Hungry diners camp out to win a free year of wings from B-Dubs, Credit: Buffalo Wild Wings,

When Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) enters a new market, it wastes no time working to win precious customer loyalty. In fact, the process usually starts before the new restaurant has even opened, when the popular chain offers free wings for a year to the first 100 diners through the door.
 
Of course, that's a small price to pay for the free publicity B-Dubs receives in the process, as local news outlets tend to flock to hopeful diners who camp out for days in advance to win those wings. And once it has consumers hooked, Buffalo Wild Wings has no problem bringing them back for more given its entertaining atmosphere and simple focus on beer, wings, and sports. Same-store sales regularly outpace that of the broader casual dining industry, and last quarter increased an impressive 7.7% and 6.5% at company-owned and franchised locations, respectively. 
 
It's no wonder, then, that Buffalo Wild Wings has steadily grown from a single location in 1982, to a chain of more than 1,000 restaurants across 50 states today.
 
B-Dubs isn't done growing yet
But don't for a second think Buffalo Wild Wings' expansion is finished. In fact, if you don't already have a Buffalo Wild Wings nearby, chances are one will be coming your way sooner rather than later.
 
As it stands, management maintains a goal of increasing their number of North American locations by nearly 70% over the next 10 years, to 1,700 locations. For perspective on its pace -- which is likely to accelerate as its financial resources grow -- keep in mind more than 800 Buffalo Wild Wings locations have opened since 2002. 
 
Where will all those new restaurants go? Here's a recent snapshot of how Buffalo Wild Wings ranks its most imminent opportunities in North America:
 
Buffalo Wild Wings Development

Source: Buffalo Wild Wings,

To be sure, plenty of attention will be paid to Canada, where Buffalo Wild Wings only opened its first location in mid-2010. But even then, there's no shortage of Tier I, II, and III trade areas in the U.S., and many of the Tier IV opportunities already have B-Dubs locations serving a significant chunk of the population. 
 
And don't worry if you're not located in the U.S. or Canada; B-Dubs has also outlined plans to open at least 400 international restaurants over the next seven to 10 years. For now, though, that effort is currently centered around building a solid brand foundation in Mexico, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. 
 
More than just beer, wings, and sports
From an investor's perspective, however, perhaps most exciting is the fact Buffalo Wild Wings isn't just about fostering one core concept. Rather, consider Buffalo Wild Wings' longer-term vision statement: "We will be a growth enterprise of restaurant brands, with more than 3,000 restaurants creating the ultimate guest experience worldwide." (emphasis mine)
 
So what would 3,000 restaurants look like? 
 
Naturally, a large chunk of that number will include Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants built after the conclusion of management's current 10-year threshold. But it's never wise to put all your wings in a single basket, right? That's why Buffalo Wild Wings is also taking equity stakes in as many as five new concepts to hedge its bets and provide sustained, long-term growth for shareholders.
 
Two of those concepts have already been chosen: The first early last year in artisan pizza maker PizzaRev, and the second just two months ago in street taco specialist Rusty Taco. Most importantly, both are small, fast-casual chains with the potential to be scaled nationwide and -- just like Buffalo Wild Wings -- enjoy loyal customer bases supported by a distinct dining experience. In the end, that seems like a relatively simple recipe for success. But make no mistake, Buffalo Wild Wings carefully considers its investment candidates before diving in.
 
In the end, it remains to be seen which promising chain will be the next to join the Buffalo Wild Wings family. But this much is clear: One way or another, Buffalo Wild Wings is coming to a location near you.
 

Steve Symington owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings. The Motley Fool recommends Buffalo Wild Wings. The Motley Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings. 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.