Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., founded in
1982 and headquartered in Minneapolis, is a growing owner, operator and
franchisor of Buffalo Wild Wings(R) restaurants featuring a variety of
boldly-flavored, made-to-order menu items including its namesake
Buffalo, New York-style chicken wings. The Buffalo Wild Wings menu
specializes in 21 mouth-watering signature sauces and seasonings with
flavor sensations ranging from Sweet BBQ(TM) to Blazin'(R). Guests
enjoy a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere that includes an extensive
multi-media system for watching their favorite sporting events. Buffalo
Wild Wings is the recipient of hundreds of "Best Wings" and "Best
Sports Bar" awards from across the country. There are currently more
than 1,220 Buffalo Wild Wings locations around the world.
May 30, 2017
Buffalo Wild Wings President and CEO Sends Letter to Shareholders
MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (NASDAQ:BWLD)
today sent the following letter to shareholders from President and
Chief Executive Officer, Sally Smith, highlighting the Company's long
history of value creation and the importance of electing the Company's
director nominees to its Board on the YELLOW proxy card:
Dear Fellow Buffalo Wild Wings Shareholders:
I have served as the Chief Executive Officer of Buffalo Wild Wings for
almost 21 years. We have always focused on creating value for our
shareholders and innovating to stay ahead of the competition. Over that
time, we have had significant periods of outperformance and some more
Casual dining restaurants face a uniquely challenging market today.
Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at
home, ordering delivery from restaurants and eating quickly, in fast
casual or quick-serve restaurants. Mall traffic has slowed. And,
surprisingly, television viewership of sporting events (important for
us, especially) is down.
Despite these headwinds, Buffalo Wild Wings continues to perform well,
achieving positive same-store sales growth in the First Quarter of 2017
and generating substantial free cash flow. I am proud that we have
outperformed our peers on critical operating metrics like same-store
sales and restaurant margins for many years. But, make no mistake: to
remain a market leader, we need to continue our evolution and address
changing customer demands and sentiment. And, we need to drive costs
out of our business.
We are doing so.
We are testing smaller footprint units that can be opened in more
population-dense areas, focusing on takeout and delivery. We are
working to drive traffic and check size through new marketing programs
and to lower our costs through multiple projects throughout the
company. We have made our balance sheet more efficient and our
management structure leaner.
And while I have the privilege of reporting these achievements and
initiatives to you, Buffalo Wild Wings has always succeeded because of
our outstanding team. Our employees, from the cooks and servers to our
executives, and the Board, are the reason we have done so well for our
guests, and our shareholders. Fortunately, we have built a company that
is bigger than, and will last longer than, any one person. Doing so
requires carefully balancing new perspectives with people who
understand our history - our prior successes and failures. This
critical balance, in the restaurant, in management and, importantly, on
the Board, is central to our ability to grow off our current platform
without repeating what did not work in the past.
In these challenging times, we surely need fresh thinking and new
ideas, but we also cannot afford to reinvent everything or unknowingly
try again things that don't work.
I write to you as we approach our 2017 Annual Meeting. At this meeting,
one of our shareholders is seeking to remove all of our independent
directors that have served for more than eight months. Without them in
the Boardroom, I would be the only person in the room who knows our
history. And while I love my job, sooner or later, it will be time for
me to retire.
It is critical that we maintain institutional knowledge and memory on
the Board and it would be unwise, in my view, to jostle the careful
balance we have achieved between fresh perspective and intimate
knowledge of our operating model, company history and culture. I should
not be the only person in the Boardroom with first-hand recollections
We have nominated an excellent Board that is committed to evaluating
our plan, leadership and performance objectively. It is a balanced
group - with deep restaurant and food service experience, consumer
marketing prowess, sports and entertainment expertise and financial
acumen. We have two professionals on our slate who would be new to the
Board, three who have been on the Board for less than a year and four
of us with longer tenure. As a Board and a management team, we are
using our experience - at Buffalo Wild Wings and from our other
professional positions - to stay ahead of our competition and continue
our tradition of generating market-leading returns for our owners.
We appreciate your support and investment and ask that you please vote
using our yellow proxy card. Help us maintain our momentum, with a
balanced Board that can draw upon the past as it charts our course
Sally J. Smith
President and Chief Executive Officer
Buffalo Wild Wings shareholders are reminded that their vote is
extremely important, no matter how many shares they own. Buffalo Wild
Wings strongly recommends that shareholders elect the company's
best-in-class leaders by voting the YELLOW proxy card for ALL Buffalo
Wild Wings' nominees - Cynthia L. Davis, Andre J. Fernandez, Janice L.
Fields, Harry A. Lawton, J. Oliver Maggard, Jerry R. Rose, Sam B.
Rovit, Harmit J. Singh and Sally J. Smith.
Lazard Ltd is serving as financial advisor and Faegre Baker Daniels is
serving as legal advisor to the company.
If you have any questions or require any assistance with voting your
please contact the company's proxy solicitor listed below:
105 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10016
Call Collect: (212) 929-5500
Toll-Free (800) 322-2885
About the Company