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					Ralph Perrella President and Founder
Buffalo's Southwest Cafe

A Conversation with Ralph Perrella, President and Founder, Buffalo's
Southwest Cafe

Buffalo's Southwest Cafe is about to turn 20. What are some of the
highlights of the last 20 years?
We've grown a lot, both in terms of our concept and geographically. The Buffalo's
concept has matured from a "wing place" to a more Southwest-style theme.
Through our Corporate Executive Chef Shaun Curtis, our menu has evolved to
offer a wide variety of tempting dishes, many of which draw upon southwestern
influences. The look of our restaurants has changed, too. We've developed a
freestanding prototype that features a 35-foot tower with our signature Buffalo
head-and-wing logo. The building design incorporates a desert canyon palette of
stucco and stacked stone with terra cotta, sandstone, red and yellow hues.
Interiors continue the Southwest motif with metal ceilings, wooden floors and
walls, and hundreds of southwestern American artifacts and memorabilia. We've
also expanded beyond being a regional chain. Today, we have units in Texas,
Nevada, Indiana, Missouri, Puerto Rico and Kuwait.

What does the company look for in a franchise investor?
We look for partners with mature business backgrounds and strong people skills.
They should have a minimum net worth of $1.5 million, with $300,000 in liquid
capital. Experience in the restaurant industry is preferable and they need to be
development-minded.

How do you keep franchise business partners involved in the company's
strategic direction?
We constantly keep our franchise business partners aware of company projects
and solicit their participation through workshops, seminars and conventions.

What makes Buffalo's Southwest Cafe a good investment?
Investors benefit from becoming part of a 20-year franchise system with well-
established standards, training and operations, and growing brand awareness
within the casual dining segment. Additionally, our system is still young enough
to offer outstanding growth opportunities for single and/or multi-unit operators.
What advice would you give someone looking to invest in a casual-dining
restaurant?
Be prepared, at least initially, to participate in the day-to-day operations of the
restaurant. Don't skimp when hiring a management team and be prepared to
reward those who make a positive difference in the success of the restaurant.
Putting together a great team takes time -- and keeping them takes recognition
and positive reinforcement.

What are the company's "hot growth" markets?
For 2005 we're targeting growth in and around the Houston market. With two
restaurants opening there this year, we're also looking at growth in adjacent
markets. Additionally, we'll focus on Florida and the southwestern United States.
Internationally, our Kuwait business partner will add more restaurants in the
Middle East.

You're a Georgia-Tech trained architect. How did you get interested in the
restaurant business?
I always wanted to design and build a restaurant. A friend of mine, David Hyde,
had been kicking around the idea of a new themed restaurant. When we finally
got together, the original Buffalo's Cafe in Roswell, Ga. was the result. The
concept took off, and after opening four restaurants in five years, franchising was
our next logical step.

What's your favorite Buffalo's Southwest Cafe dish?
I still crave our wings!

If you weren't in foodservice business, what would you be doing?
Well, I probably would have gravitated back towards the architectural and
construction field. The creative challenges coupled with the ultimate reward of
seeing a design move from paper to a real structure is very fulfilling to me.

Link to view the article on Franchise Gator:
http://www.franchisegator.com/interviews/buffalos_southwest_cafe_ceo_interview.html

				
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