Consumers’ views of Buffalo Wild Wings have hit eight-year highs this spring, and for that the Minneapolis-based chicken wing chain can thank David Ortiz.
Last month, Buffalo Wild Wings posted a video prank on some New York Yankee fans talking trash about Ortiz, a star for the rival Boston Red Sox who is in his final year. Ortiz was listening in the next room — covered in Buffalo Wild Wings clothing — and then pops out to surprise them.
Consumers’ views of Buffalo Wild Wings have been surging ever since.
YouGov regularly surveys consumers on their views of various brands. Buffalo Wild Wings’ scores on four key metrics have surged since May, including consumers’ impression of the chain, their perception of the chain’s quality, whether they would recommend the concept and their purchase consideration.
To be sure, consumer surveys can be a poor predictor of sales results, and an improving brand perception doesn’t always lead to higher sales.
Yet an improving score is certainly better than a falling one, and it could portend to stronger sales. And indeed, the percentage of consumers who said they would consider purchasing a meal at Buffalo Wild Wings the next time they dine out increased from 13 percent in mid-April to 16 percent now.
The general impression of the chain increased to 20 percent, higher than the previous peak of 18 just before the Super Bowl.
These scores would be good news for Buffalo Wild Wings, which has seen its sales slow in recent quarters, and its stock price fall along the way.
Same-store sales fell 1.7 percent at company restaurants in the quarter ended March 27, after slowing for much of 2015. The company’s stock is down about 11 percent so far this year after falling 11 percent last year.
That comes after the chain fared poorly in some other consumer surveys.
Buffalo Wild Wings performed last among Casual-Dining chains in Nation’s Restaurant News’ recent Consumer Picks survey.
The Ortiz video was viewed more than 100,000 times. YouGov suggested some other efforts are having an impact on the company’s reputation.
The chain — along with Arby’s — became official sponsors of Eleague, a new e-sports tournament broadcast on the cable channel TBS that kicked off in May. And the chain announced a limited-time offer takeout pack for Ultimate Fighting Championship events.
YouGov is a daily consumer perception service that interviews 4,800 people each weekday about their perception regarding certain U.S. brands. Brands receive scores on a scale of -100 to 100, with 0 being neutral. Buffalo Wild Wings’ scores on those four metrics are in the 16-20 range.
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