Everything You Need to Know About the Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise

For all those entrepreneurs that are considering the opportunities for launching a new Buffalo Wild Wings franchise, this information about its initial investment cost and owner profit can give valuable insight into what entrepreneurs can expect by investing in this type of restaurant business!

Key Takeaways:

  • Two types of Buffalo Wild Wings franchise locations are available for acquisition; the ”Sports Bar ” and ” GO” Restaurant!
  • Launching a new Buffalo Wild Wings franchised restaurant is between $2,481,500 and $4,604,800 for ”Sports Bar” franchise and between $564,100 to $967,300 for ”GO” franchise.
  • This company franchisees pay from gross restaurant revenue between 5% to 6% for Royalty Fee and between 0.5% and 3.25% for the Advertising Fee.
  • On average, the Buffalo Wild Wings “Sports Bars” franchises make approximately $3,100,000, and “GO” franchised locations make roughly $950,000 in gross revenue per year!
  • This brand franchises deliver 10% of the profit margin from all sales generated throughout the year.
  • The owner of the average-earning Buffalo Wild Wings “Sports Bar” franchise can expect to make $310,000, and the franchisee of the average-earning “GO” restaurant can expect to make a $95,000 salary per year.

The Available Types of Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurants For Purchase

The capital outlay needed to start a new Buffalo Wild Wings franchise will depend primarily on the type of franchise location that investors choose.

The two main types of franchised locations are:

  1. Buffalo Wild Wings “Sports Bar” Restaurant: operate in 3,500 to 6,500 square feet of space with a seating capacity of approximately 155 to 285 people; decored in sports entertainment-oriented style.
  2. Buffalo Wild Wings “GO” Restaurant: operate in 1,100 to 1,600 square feet of space; sells food and beverage products primarily for off-premises consumption.

As we can see from above, the primary difference between these two types of locations is in the square footage of the space in which they operate and how they serve food to their customers.

Currently, there are, in the U.S, more than 1,250 “Sports Bar” locations, and approximately 30 “GO” locations are operating under the Trademarks of this brand.

This franchisor started offering the possibility of starting Buffalo Wild Wings “GO” franchised Restaurants in December 2020. Due to that fact, not too many of these types of locations are presented on the market!

How Much Does The Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Cost

The capital needed for launching a new Buffalo Wild Wings franchise is between $2,481,500 and $4,604,800 for ”Sports Bar” locations and between $564,100 to $967,300 for ”GO” restaurants.

Table of initial costs for starting “Sports Bar” franchised location:

  • Initial Fee: $25,000
  • Fees related to site approval: $1,200 to $53,800
  • Opening Team Training Fee: $0 to $15,000
  • Reimbursement of expenses for Opening Team: $0 to $15,000
  • Architecture Fees: $90,000 to $160,000 (based upon utilization of national firm)
  • Leasehold Improvements: $1,200,000 to $1,900,000
  • Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment & other Fixed Assets: $570,000 to $925,000
  • Audio/Visual equipment: $275,000 to $425,000
  • Computer POS System/Kitchen Display Unit: $66,400 to $75,000
  • Office Equipment & Supplies: $6,000 to $13,000
  • Sports Memorabilia: $12,500 to $26,500
  • Signage & Graphics Package: $43,000 to $100,000
  • Training Expenses: $8,000 to $12,000
  • Initial inventory Package: $15,000 to $19,000
  • Insurance: $14,400 to $48,000
  • Additional Funds: $100,000 to $150,000 – working capital for first three months
  • Rent: $7,500 to $40,000 
  • Lease & Utility Security Deposits: $10,000 to $20,000
  • Grand Opening Advertising Fee: $12,500
  • Liquor License: $5,000 to $500,000
  • Professional Fees: $20,000 to $70,000 – attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, etc
  • ESTIMATED TOTAL INVESTMENT COST: $2,481,500 to $4,604,800 

The Buffalo Wild Wings” Sports Bar” operates in 3,500 to 6,500 square feet of space on a free-standing premise. You will need to spend between $2,707,900 to $3,624,500 on leasehold improvements (Building /Construction) and purchasing equipment necessary for work.

Table of initial costs for starting “GO” franchised location:

  • Initial Fee: $30,000
  • Site Approval Fees: $1,200 to $53,800
  • Architecture Fees: $15,000 to $35,000
  • Leasehold Improvements: $225,000 to $350,000 
  • Furniture, Fixtures, equipment & other Fixed Assets: $140,000 to $180,000
  • Computer & POS System + Kitchen Display Unit: $20,000 to $45,000
  • Office Equipment & Supplies: $3,000 to $6,000 
  • Signage & Graphics Package: $15,000 to $25,000
  • Initial Training Expenses: $4,000 to $10,000 
  • Initial Inventory Package: $18,000 to $22,000
  • Insurance: $14,400 to $48,000
  • Rent: $3,500 to $7,500
  • Lease & Utility Security Deposits: $10,000 to $20,000
  • Grand Opening Advertising Fee: $15,000
  • Professional Fees: $20,000 to $70,000 (attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, etc. fees)
  • Additional Funds: $30,000 to $50,000 – working capital for three months
  • TOTAL ESTIMATED INVESTMENT COST: $564,100 to $967,300

The typical size of the premises for a “GO” Restaurant ranges from 1,100 to 1,600 square feet. Most of the initial exspense will be related to arranging and improving the leasehold according to the franchisor’s requirements.

Options To Fund Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Initial Investment Cost

This franchisor, as a company, does not offer direct or indirect financing, so investors will need to search for third-party funding sources to cover the initial investment cost.

Starting this brand franchise, especially the “Sports Bar” location, will demand high-cost investment, and due to that fact, franchisor requirements regarding investors’ financial status are very demanding!

The franchise applicant to be approved as a new franchisee needs to have the following:

  • $1,500,000 of Net Worth
  • $750,000 in Liquid Assets (cash)

As we can see from above, this franchisor has high financial standards, and due to that fact, this franchise will not be available to investors who don’t have at their disposal a high amount of cash for investing.

Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Fees

One-Time Fees

Initial Fee

  • $25,000 for starting new ”Sports Bar” Restaurants
  • $30,000 for starting new ”GO” Restaurants

The initial Fee is a one-time cost, and franchisees are obligated to pay it in full immediately after the franchise agreement is signed. The franchisor uses these funds to cover costs associated with opening assistance, legal fees, and other expenses.

Grand Opening Advertising Fee

  • $12,500 for ”Sport Bar” restaurant franchises
  • $15,000 for ”GO” restaurant franchises

New franchise developers are obligated to spend the amount of money mentioned above on certain advertising and public relations activities during the 45 days before opening and 60 days after franchised Restaurant opens.

Same as an initial fee, this will be a one-time cost!

Ongoing Franchise Fees

Buffalo Wild Wings Royalty Fee

  • 6% of Gross Sales for “GO” Restaurants
  • 5% of Gross Sales for “Sports Bar” Restaurants

The Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee will need to pay between 5% to 6% (depending on the type of location) of their monthly gross revenue to the franchisor for its Royalty Fee.

This ongoing cost will occur during the franchise agreement, so franchisees must know that this percentage will pay throughout the year according to the prior monthly revenue level.

This Fee is the main source of profit for the franchisor, and franchisees pay it for trademarks and ongoing business assistance that the franchising company provides them on an ongoing basis!

Brand Advertising Fund Fee

  • 3.25% for ”Sports Bar” on Traditional Locations
  • 0.5% of Gross Sales for “Sports Bar” Non-Traditional Locations
  • 2.25% of Gross Sales for “GO” Restaurants

Brand Fund outlays that franchisees pay are used for financing advertising, marketing, promotional, customer relationship management, public relations, and other brand-related programs and materials that the franchisor launches on an ongoing basis.

Franchisees pay an Advertising Fee of 3.25% of their Sports Bar’s Gross Sales if they are operating a Traditional Location (free-standing unit), and restaurants that are opened in so-called “Non-Traditional Locations” pay only 0.5% of their gross sales for this Fee.

The owners who operate the “GO” Restaurant pay 2.25% of Gross Restaurant Sales for costs associated with the Brand Ad Fee!

Rent/Landlord Fee

  • $3,500 to $7,500 per month for ”GO” restaurant 
  • $7,500 to $40,000 per month for ”Sport Bar” restaurant

The rent fees will be one of the highest ongoing operating costs for owners of these restaurants. This above is an estimation of what investors can expect to pay to the landlord every month!

However, each investor must do their due diligence and research how much rent prices are in their geo area!

How Much Is Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Profit

To reveal how much franchises of Buffalo Wild Wings can make a profit to their owners, we need first to uncover the average gross revenue and profit margin that these restaurants deliver!

Buffalo Wild Wings Average Gross Revenue Per Restaurant

The Buffalo Wild Wings “Sports Bars” franchises produce, on average, approximately $3,100,000 in gross revenue per year, and “GO” locations have sales levels of roughly $950,000 per year! 

However, the potential investors need to understand that these numbers are just average if we add gross sales of all franchised locations, and that number is split with the number of franchises!

We have found data that in 2021:

  • The highest-earning “Sports Bars” location made $6,967,834 of gross revenue
  • The lowest-earning made $1,141,665 of gross revenue. 

We can conclude that Buffalo Wild Wings franchise owner can expect his Restaurant to make a sales level between $1,000,000 and $7,000,000 in gross revenue per year!

Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Profit Margin 

The Buffalo Wild Wings franchises deliver at least 10% of the profit margin from all revenue generated in the Restaurant per year.

This franchisor charges 8% to 9% of gross revenue for different franchisor royalties, which is one of the lowest fees in the fast food industry, so franchisees of this brand outlets benefit from higher profit margins at the end of the year.

How Much is Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Owner Salary

The franchise owner of the average-earning Buffalo Wild Wings “Sports Bar” restaurant can expect to make $310,000 in salary per year, and owners of “GO” restaurants can expect to make $95,000 in annual profit.

The “GO” restaurants have lower gross sales throughout the year, so their profit is not soo high as it is for the” Sports Bar” location. However, “GO” locations demand less startup capital, so each type of this franchise has disadvantages and advantages!

How We Estimate Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Owner Annual Salary 

We estimate the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise owner’s salary according to financial data that this franchising company has revealed in its disclosure document. 

The disclosure document franchisor has revealed the average gross sale level that its “Sports Bars” and “GO” location had made in 2021. On the gross revenue, we have implemented a 10% of profit margin to calculate the franchise owner’s salary!

The 10% profit margin is a standard amount for the franchising industry. Although this percentage seems low, investors must know that owning a franchise involves certain franchisor royalties, which negatively impact margins.

Is it Profitable to Own Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise

With an estimated franchise owner’s profit of $310,000 for” Sports Bar” and $95,000 for “GO” restaurants owning a Buffalo Wild Wings outlet represents a very profitable business venture.

However, investors must be aware that starting this brand restaurant demands high initial investments, which means it will pass a few years before the franchisee will return the money spent at the start. The expected ROI for this type of franchise is between 7 and 10 years.

Nevertheless, these restaurants produce a huge gross sale level with a good profit margin which means that investors will have a fluctuation of fresh cash to bear the operating cost, loan outlays, and make a good salary at the end of the year.

How Much Is Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Agreement Duration

The Buffalo Wild Wings agreement duration is 20 years for “Sports Bar” franchises and ten years for “GO” franchises.

Are All Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurants Franchises

Approximately 45% of all Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants are franchises, or about 55% are company-owned and operated restaurant locations!

At the beginning of 2022, there were:

  • 1,196 Buffalo Wild Wings Sports Bars operating in the United States
  • 534 franchised restaurants
  • 662 company-owned restaurants

Who Owns Buffalo Wild Wings 

Since 2018 Inspire Brands has been the owner of Buffalo Wild Wings, and as this company’s CEO, Paul Brown is a key person in this brand’s business operations!

Inspire brand is, among others, the owner of the Rusty Taco, Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Sonic Drive-In, Dunkin’ Donuts, Jimmy John’s, Mister Donuts, etc.

However, each of these well-known franchising brands along wild Buffalo Wild Wings operates separately from their owner, presenting each as an individual business entity on the market.


We have outlined all essential data regarding a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise’s initial cost and profit that owners can expect to make by owning this franchised Restaurant. 

The central part of the data presented in this text, especially regarding the financial aspects of starting and operating this brand-franchised Restaurant, came directly from this company disclosure document. 

This Franchise Disclosure Document will be a key item to do your due diligence before the final decision, so read your FDD copy carefully and contact current franchisees of this brand to get an insight into what you can expect in the long run!

Written by:

Stuart MacPherson

Hi, I'm Stuart. I've been running my own small business since 2019 after leaving a successful career in finance. I created FranchiseTheory to share my enthusiasm for franchising and the franchise business model.

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