Tick Joins Buffalo Wild Wings as President

Photo of Lyle Tick provided by Inspire Brands
Leadership change

Franchising firm Inspire Brands, part of private equity firm Roark Capital Holdings, announced Monday that it has appointed Lyle Tick as president of sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings. The company’s interim president since February, John Bowie, will continue on at his previous position of chief operating officer.

Tick will be based at Inspire’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tick has been managing director for Walgreens Boots Alliance beauty brands business in the Americas. He also served as senior global category director for Bacardi and vice president for its North American marketing efforts. Before working at Bacardi, Tick held positions with advertising and marketing agencies J. Walter Thompson, Gotham, McGarryBowen, and DDB.

“His deep experience with global retailers and spirit brands makes Lyle the ideal leader to help us re-ignite and grow the Buffalo Wild Wings brand, said Paul Brown, chief executive officer of Inspire Brands, which oversees nearly 4,700 affiliated franchisees and the selling of franchises for such brands as Arby’s, Rusty Taco and Buffalo Wild Wings. Buffalo Wild Wings makes up 1,200 affiliated restaurants.

Inspire’s Brown also commented about Buffalo Wild Wings’ former interim president, John Bowie. “John has done a remarkable job leading Buffalo Wild Wings and helping us create a new vision for the brand,” said Brown. “His knowledge of restaurant operations is unmatched, and he is a wonderful asset to the brand’s leadership team.”

Atlanta-based Roark Capital bought Minnesota-based franchisor Buffalo Wild Wings in November of last year. The acquisition was after a battle in the summer of 2017 with activist Marcato Capital Management, who argued that it wanted more representation on the board of directors of the then publicly held Buffalo Wild Wings. Marcato wanted to refranchise Buffalo Wild Wings’ many company-owned stores to become a chain that was 90-percent franchised.

Shareholders voted for Marcato and its plan. Marcato won three seats. But then in November of last year Roark Capital bought Buffalo Wild Wings.

Buffalo was at first operated by franchisor Arby’s Restaurant Group; however, Roark Capital quickly launched Inspire Brands in February of this year to take over Arby's duties.

The aim of Inspire has been to create a more efficient franchising firm that can administrate to an increasing number of restaurant chains. “Our goal is to build an organization that leverages the benefits of scale, not only to save cost, but also to enable outsized investments in long-term growth initiatives,” said co-founder of Inspire, Paul Brown, at the launch of Inspire. Brown had been the chief executive officer of Arby’s from 2013 to February of this year. Neal Aronson, founder and managing partner of Roark Capital, is Inspire’s other founder.

Photo of Lyle Tick (above) courtesy of Inspire Brands

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Don Sniegowski