Buffalo Wild Wings CEO wins IFMA Gold Plate

Buffalo Wild Wings CEO wins IFMA Gold Plate

CHICAGO —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Smith, who has led the 580-unit chain for 13 years, cited her colleagues while accepting this year’s Gold Plate Award for innovative talent from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. She was selected for the honor from among the 2009 Silver Plate recipients. IFMA’s Gold and Silver Plate awards each year recognize outstanding and innovative talent in nine foodservice categories. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Her team members tip their hats to her as well. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

“Sally is a fabulous leader,” said Judy Shoulak, senior vice president of operations for Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings. “She really challenges us to do the right thing and to do it the right way.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Smith was honored for helping Buffalo Wild Wings achieve “phenomenal profit and sales growth with integrity and creative business savvy,” IFMA officials said. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

The company, which has full-service restaurants in 40 states and total annual sales of $1.2 billion, has bucked the negative trends affecting many casual-dining players largely through its operational execution and fun atmosphere, Buffalo Wild Wings officials said. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

For the first quarter ended March 29, Buffalo Wilds Wings reported a 30-percent increase in net income to $8.5 million. Revenues were $131.6 million, up 35 percent from the year-earlier quarter, driven by same-stores sales gains of 6.4 percent at corporate units and 41 new locations. Same-store sales at franchised units rose 6 percent. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

“I can say to my team: ‘Woo hoo!” Smith said after receiving the award at the IFMA banquet, held annually during the National Restaurant Association [3] Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago. “I was shocked to be announced as a Silver Plate [award winner]. My team should be up here tonight. I may be the face of Buffalo Wild Wings, but they are out there building restaurants.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Smith joined Buffalo Wild Wings in 1994 as chief financial officer and was named president and chief executive in 1996. “I’m blessed to be a part of truly wonderful restaurant industry,” Smith said. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

The Gold Plate honor has provided a boost to everyone at Buffalo Wild Wings, Shoulak said. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

“She has been gracious enough to say she is the face of the company, but it’s an award that everyone has contributed to,” Shoulak said. “Sally has made us feel this is an organizational award. It confirms that we’re working for a great company that is successful in tough times.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Shoulak said the Buffalo Wild Wings team was very proud of Smith’s honor. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

“She’s a very humble person,” Shoulak said. “She’s very down to earth. She sets a great tone for being authentic, and that’s throughout the whole organization. I think her style is a great foundation of our success.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Smith’s management style is the basis for that corporate tone, Shoulak added. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

“She gives us a lot of autonomy within the organization,” Shoulak said. “She really challenges us to come up with creative, new ways to look at our business and encourages innovation. She also has high expectations to achieve results, and we have done that.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Michael J Licata, president and chief executive of IFMA, said, “People recognize the IFMA Gold Plate as the foodservice ‘Oscar,’ and Sally Smith is an outstanding choice.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

He added, “In every way that matters, she epitomizes true success and the passion that is so prevalent in our industry. The Silver Plate winners are the best in their segments, and the jury has singled her out as the best of the best.” —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

The Gold and Silver Plate awards are voted on by a panel of trade press editors and previous award winners in nine categories in a secret ballot. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Smith won in the chain full-service category. Other Silver Plate categories and winners honored this year included: —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Independent: Ming Tsai, chef-owner of Blue Ginger [4] in Wellesley, Mass. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Fast service: James Skinner, vice chairman and chief executive of McDonald’s [5] Corp. in Oak Brook, Ill. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Health care: Betty Perez, director of food and nutrition services at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Education: Marcia Smith, director of foodservice for the Polk County School Board in Bartow, Fla., won among elementary and secondary schools; and Stuart Orefice, director of dining services at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., won among colleges and universities. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Business and industry foodservice management: Robert Whitcomb, chairman and chief executive of Whitsons Culinary Group [6] in Islandia, N.Y. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Hotels and lodging: Ed Mady, vice president and area general manager for the Ritz-Carlton [7] in San Francisco. —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.

Specialty foodservices: Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America [8] in Hyde Park, N.Y. — [email protected] [9] —Sally Smith, president and chief executive of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., credits team-work with contributing to the success of the sports-oriented casual-dining concept.