The Sept. 11 opening of Buffalo Wild Wings, a popular sports bar franchise, brings more than another place to eat and drink in Oxford – the restaurant is bringing jobs as well, according to BWW employee Devin Savage. “There’s about 100 people that work there including servers, hostesses, the kitchen and the bartenders,” Savage said.
Savage said she thinks the chain’s national reputation will help the bar and restaurant succeed. “I think we have more advantages because all of the out-of-state students that come from big cities are used to Buffalo Wild Wings,” she said. “We know what it’s all about and know what to expect from it so I think that will bring in a lot of revenue.” Richard Gentry, a management professor, agreed that having a known brand makes a difference. “What a franchise offers that is difficult for a local person to come up with from the start is decor, food, menu and how to put all that stuff together,” he said. “So they buy all these systems that basically have already been tested and tried out. That’s actually a pretty big advantage.” Griffin Tanner, owner of The Levee/Cellar, said the nationwide chain also brings competition, especially to bars and restaurants on the Square. “I do think that Buffalo Wild Wings will hurt my business as far as wing sales go because people may go there to eat and watch the game instead of here,” he said. Both Tanner and Gentry said Oxford’s Sunday alcohol laws may affect BWW. “For a lot of sports bars, NFL football on Sundays is a pretty big draw and that will not be as available in Oxford,” Gentry said. Tanner said he believes his prime location gives him an advantage over Buffalo Wild Wings. “The thing that makes Oxford great is that people go to the Square to enjoy themselves, and it’s difficult for some bars to stay in business if they are not on the Square,” he said. “We have a higher premium being on the Square; there’s much more going on on this side of town.” Another recent restaurant addition to the Oxford community was the Locker Room Sports Bar and Grill, which opened in the fall of 2011 on Jackson Avenue, and it closed within a year. Tanner isn’t sure whether BWW and the added jobs will stick around until football season is over. “This is a very seasonal, suitcase town – multiple businesses struggle in off seasons,” Tanner said. “But if they can keep up with the restaurants on the Square and make enough revenue during holidays, they can survive.”