Buffalo Wild Wings wouldn't serve armed cops

The restaurant chain apologizes after an employee thought plainclothes police officers violated its gun policy.

By Jason Notte Mar 29, 2013 2:45PM

Buffalo Wild Wings in Austin, Texas (© Andy Ennis/Alamy)When a company is riding high and its competitors are wondering what its secret is, that's usually the worst time for an extremely public slip-up.

 

The folks at Buffalo Wild Wings' (BWLD) corporate offices in Minneapolis are dealing with that worst-case scenario after an employee at a Manassas, Va., outlet refused service to a group of plainclothes police officers because their guns were on display, which Virgina's NBC12 WWBT notes is usually against the restaurant's signed policy

 

According to the Manassas Patch, a witness decided to launch a “public awareness campaign” just after the incident and sent the entire chicken-wing-and-sports casual dining empire into crisis mode.


The restaurant's manager offered a written apology, said there was "no reason" the officers should have been denied service and that cops are "always welcome" at his establishment. Buffalo Wild Wings took it a step further by not only offering an apology via The Huffington Post, but spelling out corporate policy that explicitly allows officers to carry their guns in the restaurant when they show their badges, as the officers in this case did.

 

As mentioned earlier, this comes at a particularly delicate time for Buffalo Wild Wings. Market research firm NPD Group notes that the casual dining industry has been in a tailspin, losing business every quarter since 2010. Competitors like Red Lobster and Olive Garden owner Darden International (DRI) and Chili's owner Brinker International (EAT) are changing everything from décor and uniforms to menu items and specials to stop the bleeding.

 

Buffalo Wild Wings, meanwhile, has watched sales grow each year during that span, with same-store revenues jumping 6.6% last year alone. Its U.S. presence has ballooned from 340 restaurants at the beginning of 2008 to 510 at the end of 2012. More importantly, March and early April are slated to be huge sales periods for Buffalo Wild Wings thanks to its new three-year partnership with the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament that allowed the restaurant to dub itself the “official hangout of NCAA March Madness.”

 

There's no good time for bad publicity in an American restaurant market that's steadily turning away from strip-mall chains and prepackaged food and décor. However, Buffalo Wild Wings knows full well that a few comment fields full of angry potential customers and some well-timed “Buffalo Wild Wings hates cops” chain e-mails from people's disgruntled aunts and uncles could derail its lucrative ties to college basketball's Big Dance quicker than a buzzer-beating jump shot.


More on moneyNOW

 

109Comments
Mar 29, 2013 3:48PM
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Big woop. You mean a simple mistake happed somewhere in this great big country?

 

The real crime? Their food !!

Mar 29, 2013 5:12PM
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i swear you dumb*** liberals and democraps live in a damn fantasy world or something. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF SOME JACKASS LIKE A JAMES HOLMES WANNABE COMES IN AND STARTS SHOOTING AND NOBODY IS ARMED WITH A GUN????? everyone in their would be dead!!! lets face it, its safer when people walk around with their guns on their hips or slung on their shoulders. you don't see gun owners running around waving their gun in the air shooting it or pointing it carelessly at people. sometimes they forget their gun is on their hip. having a gun is like having a condom, YOU RATHER HAVE IT AND NOT NEED IT THAN NEED IT AND NOT HAVE IT!!!! its plain and simple! or do I...HAVE...TO...DUMB....IT...DOWN...FOR...YOU....DUMB....BRAINWASHED....BLIND....LIBERALS....AND...DEMOCRAPS??!?!?!?!
Mar 29, 2013 5:55PM
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It didn't say "undercover" you dummies, it said plain clothes, like detectives, etc. Most departments REQUIRE officers to carry their weapons while on duty, some departments require officers to carry off duty.
Mar 29, 2013 4:53PM
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Employee must have been an Obama anti gun goof!
Mar 29, 2013 4:23PM
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Dumb decisions by employees using have their beginnings with the hierarchy. Have the managers been sending the wrong message via their personal comments and views. The company needs to get this message out to ALL its employees ASAP. The politicians have been acting like nuts about the whole weapons thing to the point citizens are afraid to arm their own law enforcement protectors! How sad!
Mar 29, 2013 6:26PM
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We re breeding more and more morons
Mar 29, 2013 7:18PM
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As an american, I wish the anti-gun americans would please become more educated about thier rights and responsibilities as americans.
Mar 29, 2013 6:03PM
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CapM  Better check your facts. It is not a felony to enter a bank with a gun. I have checked with my local banks and they all say I can wear my gun in the bank.  Not sure where you live but I am in Arizona and I believe the bank rules are pretty common from state to state. I have a concealed carry permit but others without the permit can carry in banks also.
Mar 29, 2013 5:30PM
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If I was a cop I would boycott them from now on.    Strange how fast they will call the cops if there is a robbery.   Cops keep your guns with you.   Thank you for your service!

 

Mar 29, 2013 7:11PM
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I DON'T PATRONIZE CRIMINAL SAFE BUSINESSES PERIOD. I HAVE A CCW FOR ONE REASON. I WILL NOT BE A VICTIM IF THERE IS ANYWAY I CAN DEFEND MYSELF OR OTHERS I WILL.  THE ANTI GUNNERS OR YOU LIBERALS CAN HAVE YOUR FEEL GOOD FANTASY WORLD. THE WORLD IS NOT A KIND PLACE. MAYBE ONE DAY YOU BRAINWASHED SHEEPLES WILL WAKE UP. 
Mar 29, 2013 5:10PM
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yep take the guns away from the cops.,then who do you call to bail your dumg a** out or better what do they do when a robber comes in??? yell bang bang a** hole    yep that should stop it and save all.
Mar 29, 2013 3:56PM
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ALL EAT JOINTS can't continue to raise prices & reduce servings and expect the crowds to continue to come. Retiree are on fixed low incomes & parents with kids are at their max now. WAKE UP!!! 
Mar 29, 2013 7:35PM
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BFD - How does this trivial stuff find a place in the news.  Must not be anything of  real importance happening out there.

Mar 29, 2013 3:53PM
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Good thing the police weren't passing through a NY airport, or District Attorney Brown(nose) wouldn't be giving them preferential treatment BWW wishes to bestow on those fine officers.
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Dear buffalo wild wing servers, when you really need help, just run!

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Should undercover cops be that open about it?  How undercover are you if you flash your badges in a restaurant and sit around with your guns 'on display'? (it says in the story...I'm not sure what that means)

But leaving that aside Buffalo Wild Wings sucks...no one should eat there.

Mar 29, 2013 6:54PM
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Screw buffalo wijd wings and their moron employees

 

 

Mar 30, 2013 4:53AM
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Cops can enter w/ guns ,but lawful non cops can't? The 2nd. applys to everyone.Screw BWW.
Mar 29, 2013 9:04PM
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Sooo an armed policeman in a suit can eat but an armed businessman in a suit doesn't rate.....good thing I dont eat there anymore.
Mar 30, 2013 8:48PM
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I really wish you wouldn't drag....Military or Viet Nam Vets into this fray...With smart-azzed cops..
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