Today's IPO of Buffalo Wild Wings
The company's S-1 filing is interesting stuff, including a discussion of corporate history and strategy, and years of past financial data. S-1s can be great reading. They're the first glances the public gets at the inner workings of private companies, and they can reveal a lot about businesses we've grown familiar with but have never had the opportunity to invest in or research in detail. (Companies generally file initial S-1s months before a planned offering and then update them over time with information about the offering size and the price as the "big day" nears.)
In Buffalo Wild Wings -- where, I should mention, my sister works -- investors now have access to information about a quality chain that's growing fast and has plenty of room in which to do it. (It currently has 220 restaurants but believes the U.S. market alone can accommodate more than 1,000.) Its restaurants are affordable and extremely casual, featuring large bar areas, tons of television sets, and a heavy emphasis on sports. Fans of the chain might be interested to know that its sauces are made by Lancaster Colony
Buffalo Wild Wings chooses its markets carefully, and looks to develop these markets to the fullest in order to leverage distribution and marketing. What's more, the company requires franchisees to have significant credibility before joining the family. Its strategy and execution appear successful, as it has a strong history of same-store sales growth at both company-owned and franchised locations.
The company's IPO proceeds are going to a good cause: to pay off all debt and lease obligations, and to fund operations (though the business is profitable) and perhaps repurchase restaurants from its franchisees. This looks like a sign of stable management and realistic goal-setting. I'd be concerned if the company immediately planned to splash out millions on a massive expansion plan.
Fools don't rush in to buy IPOs, regardless of how hot they are. Even so, I'm intimately familiar with this company as a customer, and it's one I'll be watching closely as an investment idea. Even if I never buy the stock, I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn more about a chain I've loved for years.
Dave Marino-Nachison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.