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News: Buffalo Wild Wings, Denny’s, Baskin-Robbins, Bennigan’s, Donatos

Buffalo Wild Wing’s own restaurants in the second quarter rose 8.3%, and franchises rose 4.5%.  Again, the corporate owned restaurant see double the same-store gains as the franchise.Same-store sales alone can be deceiving because it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Were higher same-store sales a result of additional customers, expensive marketing blitz or promotions, new menu items or new pricing?

Denny’s performance has been mediocre for the 2nd Quarter of 2008. Same-store sales decreased 0.7% at company units and decreased 3.7% at franchised units. Company restaurant operating margin increased by 0.9 percentage points to 12.5% of sales 

Do you live in Cincinnati? If so, Baskin-Robbins wants to open 30 stores in the surrounding counties. 

The Bennigan’s bankruptcy came as no surprise. There are about 150 company-owned Bennigan’s restaurants, compared with 138 franchise locations.Bennigan’s franchisees are unaffected, only the corporate-owned locations are shutting down today. The bankrupcty filings also do not include the Metromedia-owned Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse restaurants. 

One of the best deals in franchising was made when Jim Grote sold Donato’s to McDonald’s and then bought it back for a rumored $50 million, a 1/3 of what he sold it to McDonald’s for just four years prior. Now, Donato’s has remade itself with a new look and expanded menu. [I love their pizza, bias alert] However, I am skeptical of management now that his daughter has taken over running the company. Is the best person to manage this company just happen to the be the daughter of the owner?   

About Ryan Knoll

Attorney and advisor with an interest in franchising. Feel free to email me comments and questions on the "Contact Us" page.


  1. Cincinnati is covered with United Dairy Farmers (UDF as it is commonly referred there) convenience stores that are very popular. Dunkin’ Donuts I’m sure will do fine, but there is entrenched competition in the Cincinnati market.

  2. A huge problem with Bennigan’s was quality control. Some restaurants had a high-end appearance and service, and others were neglected and cheap looking. That is one of the problems in franchising if the franchisor does not enforce its standards of service and you have absentee franchisees.

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