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Get to Know John Bowie, COO of Buffalo Wild Wings

By Raj Prashad

A version of this Q&A was originally published in The Score by Franchise Business Services.

With more than 25 years in the restaurant industry, John Bowie brings extensive insight to his role as Chief Operating Officer of Buffalo Wild Wings. As he makes his move from Chief Operating Officer of Arby’s, John has found the passion from franchisees and guests alike to be instrumental in creating the new vision for Buffalo Wild Wings.

“Our franchisees have a deep and infectious level of passion for the brand. They’re into the details, and they love what they do.” John Bowie, Chief Operating Officer, Buffalo Wild Wings

Prior to joining Buffalo Wild Wings, John served first as Arby’s Senior Vice President of Operations for the northeast region and then as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing global operations for more than 1,000 company-owned restaurants and more than 2,400 franchised restaurants across seven countries. Before joining Arby’s, John was President of U.S. Operations for Church’s Chicken, and prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp.

What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?

In my role as Chief Operating Officer, I’m responsible for overseeing North American operations for more than 600 company-owned restaurants and more than 500 franchise restaurants. I lead all operations services, including training, systems, equipment, quality assurance and performance management.

Tell us about your vision for the future of Buffalo Wild Wings.


What do you feel are the biggest strengths in the BWW system? 

Our team member culture is our biggest strength. Everyone wants to win and be a part of Buffalo Wild Wings. We have so much tenure across our restaurant teams, which is terrific. They know their guests, and it makes it a very inviting, casual and friendly atmosphere.

What are your goals going forward in this position?

To bring a strong, disciplined operating approach to our restaurants. Let’s drive efficiency in the heart of the house so we can spend more of our time focused on a great guest experience. 

Tell us a little about your personal/family life.

I’m a proud Dad to four children: two boys – a lawyer to-be and an investment banker; and two girls – a college sophomore (and aspiring school teacher), and the youngest headed off to college at Auburn University later this year.