Expectations are that Hamilton Crossing shopping center will be the scene of a big slumber party on Oct. 19. If tradition holds true, there could be 100 people in tents, sleeping bags and lawn chairs waiting all night for doors to open on Monday morning, Oct. 20.
Rock concert tickets?
The newest shipment of Wii?
Would you believe hot wings?
Buffalo Wild Wings is set to open at 9 a.m. on Oct. 20 at their new location in Hamilton Crossing, Alcoa. As part of the opening day festivities, the store will give away free wings for a year to the first 100 guests.
The “Free Wings for a Year” promotion is a way for Buffalo Wild Wings to become part of the community quickly, explain company officials.
“We have a tremendous turnout for our Free Wings giveaways with Buffalo Wild Wings fans often camping overnight to guarantee their spot in line,” said Kathy Benning, senior vice president of marketing and brand development for Buffalo Wild Wings. “We’re looking forward to an equally enthusiastic opening in Alcoa.”
Each recipient of the “Free Wings for a Year” giveaway will receive a coupon book with 52 vouchers for six free wings - one order for every week of the year.
Another promotion the restaurant has could give students at Alcoa, Heritage, Maryville and William Blount high schools a reason to develop a taste for Buffalo wings.
Alcoa store general manager Ryan M. Huml said the company enjoys becoming part of the community. One aspect of this policy is their Spirit Wednesdays promotion.
The idea goes like this: Each school is given a specific Wednesday each month. Students, family, friends or anyone who eats at Buffalo Wild Wings on that Wednesday can turn in their receipts to that school. The store picks up the receipts, verifies the date and presents the school with a check for 10 percent of the total spent by their friends and family on their Spirit Wednesday.
“It helps raise money for them and keeps business flowing for me,” Huml said.
Huml says he often sees shocked looks from principals when he presents the checks to the schools.
“It’s fun to give back and help out. It makes it easy to be enthusiastic about a restaurant when it is involved in the community,” he said.
Spirit Wednesdays happens each month. The first Wednesday of each month will be William Blount High School’s spirit day, followed by Heritage High School on the second Wednesdays, Maryville High School on the third and Alcoa High School on the fourth.
For grand opening week, each school gets a Spirit day. Monday is Governor’s day, Tuesday reserved for the Mountaineer, Wednesday is Rebel Spirit Day and Thursday, the Tornadoes.
To reward the folks collecting the receipts, Buffalo Wild Wings offers another incentive. The first school to raise $5,000 through their Spirit Wednesdays gets a Wing Party of 250 wings for the school secretary and the students responsible for keeping up with and collecting the receipts, Huml said.
The new store is located just off Louisville Road at 224 Hamilton Crossing Drive. The 4,500 square foot store has five managers and will have 135 hourly employees, Huml said.
The menu includes a wide variety of wing and boneless wing combinations with 14 signature sauces. Huml has his favorites.
“The best thing to order for me is the spicy garlic wings. If not wings, then the burger slammer, which is three mini burgers, and they’re awesome. If I’m hungry I get both,” he said.
Huml said the impression the restaurant staff attempts to leave with patrons is that customer satisfaction is their No. 1 priority. “You will come in excited to be here and leave thrilled to come back,” he said.
Adding to the experiences is the 38 televisions and seven projection televisions. “It’s insane. They spend thousands of dollars for audio/visuals from TVs to stereos. It’s cool,” he said.
Huml said it’s easy for customers to be satisfied with their experience at Buffalo Wild Wings with the atmosphere and the quality of the food. “We use only fresh wings raised just for our company. You can get chicken wings done in 15 sauces from mild to sizzling and then sizzling that will kill you,” he said.
The restaurant also has salads and burgers to compliment the menu. “We have a wide variety to satisfy anyone’s needs,” Huml said.
The general manager said there are discount days to encourage customers to come to the store. Tuesdays are 40-cent wings days. Boneless wings are 60 cents each on Thursdays. “They drive people to come in and try multiple sauces as opposed to the ones they normally get, so it’s lots of fun,” Huml said.
Huml said it’s sometimes difficult to explain the Buffalo Wild Wings experience. “You have to be here. It’s an atmosphere that’s hard to describe. The slogan of ‘You have to be here,’ is right,” he said of the company’s motto.
Huml said the company wanted to get into the Blount County market. “The up and growing area of Alcoa and Maryville is huge. They’re a community driven organization and they wanted to get out into the community with four great high schools. It was no-brainer.”
Huml said that precedent of getting involved in the communities where the company opens restaurants is something they’re proud of. We’re about helping the community. It isn’t about making a bunch of money. We set out to get our name out as a helping hand in the community,” he said.
In October, Huml said Buffalo Wild Wings annually raises money for the St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis. The promotion involves selling paper pumpkins for a $1 to customers. The company raised $500,000 in 2007 and hopes to raise even more money this year.
There are 535 Buffalo Wild Wing locations in 38 states with 190 of those being corporate store and the rest franchises. The Alcoa location is a corporate store, Huml said.