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Marcato, Mick McGuire Again Urge Big Change at Buffalo Wild Wings


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Earlier this week, Marcato Capital CEO Mick McGuire, sent another inflammatory statement to franchisees of Buffalo Wild Wings that, among other things, urged a radical increase from the company’s current 49 percent franchise standing.

"We believe all stakeholders would benefit from seeing the system transition to a 90 percent or higher franchise mix," McGuire wrote in the letter. "To achieve this target approximately 600+ company units would be refranchised, inclusive of expected future system growth.”

McGuire also mentioned, as he has before, that Buffalo Wild Wings could benefit from an “introduction of fresh talent at both the board and management levels.”

McGuire has made many bold statements to Buffalo Wild Wings franchisees and executives since Marcato acquired a 5.2 percent stake in the company back in July. The activist blasted the company in August, sending a harsh letter to the restaurant chain’s chairman, James Damian, calling for a management and board overhaul.

Back in October, McGuire told the crowd at the Sohn San Francisco Investment Conference that the restaurant chain must transition to more of a franchised store model to unlock value, bringing up the proposal to make at least 90 percent of its stores franchised. He also called for the company to improve operating margins and optimize the company’s capital structure by issuing more debt. McGuire stated that the stock (NASDAQ: BWLD) price could rise by more than 2 to 3 percent under Marcato’s proposal.

Buffalo Wild Wing’s CEO Sally Smith addressed the concerns from the August letter in an interview with Franchise Times, saying that the company has already addressed many of the concerns brought up in the letter, while citing the company’s strong international growth. “If you look at our G&A metrics or our operating margin metrics, we’re always in the top quartile,” she said in the interview.

In the midst of a struggling casual dining marketplace, Buffalo Wild Wings sales have been slightly above average. The broader segment reported -1.9% same store sales results in the third quarter, while Buffalo Wild Wings announced a -1.8% same store sales result in their most recent quarterly report.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is staff writer at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 
Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner.
 

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