There's no place Franchise Times would rather be on Labor Day than Buffalo, New York, at the National Buffalo Wing Festival, but alas we weren't among the 74,000 who attended this year's event. And so we've turned to Stan Friedman, president of ACI Franchising and a former executive with Wing Zone, to be our correspondent. Friedman is the chairman of the Buffalo Wing Hall of Flame, and it was in that capacity that he officially inducted Buffalo Wild Wings' founders Scott Lowery and Jim Disbrow, who was honored posthumously, into the festival's Hall of Flame.
“Last year we honored the Bellissimos and the Anchor Bar, where all of this began. This year we honor Scott Lowery and Jim Disbrow for where Buffalo Wild Wings has taken it,” Friedman said. The honor coincides with the chain's 25th anniversary. The company, which now has 442 restaurants, was started by the life-long friends when they were students at Ohio State University and couldn't find their beloved Buffalo wings in Kent, Ohio.
Franchises that handed out wings included Buffalo Wild Wings, Buffalo Wings & Rings, Hurricane Wings, WingStreet, Wing Zone, Wings Over and World of Wings.
Hurricane Wings was honored as the festival favorite, a distinction voted on by attendees.
Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas won the wing-eating contest, tearing through 173 wings in 12 minutes, setting a new record. Thomas, who weighs 100 pounds, consumed 5.17 pounds of meat during the contest sponsored by the International Federation of Competitive Eating.
For more on the winners and to find out how many dieting days are left until the 2008 festival, check out www.buffalowing.com.