Sally J. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar, will discuss  the restaurant chain’s success story at the National Chicken Council’s Annual Conference scheduled October 4-5 at the Four Seasons in Washington. Hugely successful Buffalo Wild Wings is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has more than 750 restaurants nationwide and one in Ontario that opened in May this year.  The company’s revenue rose 14 percent last year, according to Technomic, a restaurant industry research firm,  weathering the recession well unlike many of its competitors.

The restaurant chain was originally founded in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1980s by two Buffalo, New York, natives.  Smith joined the company as chief financial officer in 1994.  In July 1996, she was named CEO and president.  Under her leadership, she got the books in order; shook up the supply chain; and added marketing, human resources, and finance departments.  Smith set out to diversify the customer base, and in 2003, she took the company public.  The company now is making plans for international expansion.

Prior to joining Buffalo Wild Wings, she was the chief financial officer of Dahlberg, Inc., the manufacturer and franchisor of Miracle-Ear hearing aids.  Smith, a CPA, began her career with KPMG LLP, an international accounting and auditing firm.

Smith, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, is currently serving as chair of the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) board of directors.  She began serving on the NRA board in 2002 and previously held the NRA board positions of vice chair and treasurer.  She was the recipient of Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, named Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midwest by Ernst & Young, North Dakota Innovator of the Year, and most recently, selected as the winner of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association’s Gold Plate Award in 2009.

The deadline to register for NCC’s Annual Conference is September 12.  Online registration is available at www.chickenusa.org/ac11.  Before registering, please be sure to log on in the upper right-hand corner of the conference Web site with your email address and password.  If you do not know your password, contact Wade Parker in the NCC office at wparker@chickenusa.org.

Meeting participants are responsible for making their own hotel reservations at the Four Seasons no later than September 12.  Group rates at the hotel are $299 per night, plus tax.  After September 12, hotel rooms will only be available as space permits, and the group rate will no longer be available.  To make hotel reservations, call the hotel at (202) 944-2055 and mention the National Chicken Council.

 

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