If you grew up in America you’ve certainly had your fair share of hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken wings. But have you ever stopped to think how these came to be? Who created these tasty snacks we often indulge in. If you search for ‘Who created the hamburger?’, you will find many stories and claims, but no story is certain or without challenge. The same uncertainty goes for the hot dog, with stories ranging from 1487 to 1910 with many names taking credit. When it comes to the Buffalo chicken wing though, there are no disputes on the creator. In 1964 Teressa Bellissimo was in the kitchen of her restaurant, Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York when her son’s friends came in for a quick snack. She had some large chicken wings she was going to use for a soup the next day but decided to fry them up, season them with her special blend of hot spices, and serve it with blue cheese dip and some vegetables, knowing the heat was going to need some contrast. The boys where in disbelief, they had never tried anything with such a punch of flavor before, they immediately loved it. Teressa probably didn’t think that a half century later, her accidental idea would land in the New York Daily News as one of the 50 most influential inventions that changed the world.
By the 70’s and 80’s every sports bar in America was trying to copy Anchor Bar’s spicy buffalo wings. And although they have had over 40 years to find a way to emulate or defeat the Anchor Bar chicken wing, no one has been able to do it. Anchor Bar continues to win countless awards, which include the James Beard Award, Best chicken wing sauce Quality international gold medal – 1000 chicken wing sauces, Scovy award. The original flavor wins over and over again.
Anchor Bar prides itself on the amazing story that came from it’s kitchen, but also in their ability to operate their business to the highest standards not only regarding the food, but for their franchisees, employees, and clientele. “Our business has strong processes that have been ironed out over our lengthy history. Many of which have been working for us for decades.” Mark Dempsey states, the CEO of Anchor Bar.
Anchor Bar has been offering their restaurant franchise opportunity since 2009 and now has 17 locations across North America.
Not many businesses survive the test of time – with over 70% of businesses failing within 10 years. The old cliche seems to be right for the Anchor Bar, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Anchor Bar has been thriving for almost 85 years. Clearly it’s not just the original seasoning that has withstood the test of time.
“We do understand the importance of change – adding technology into our business makes operations more smooth, but the culture we have been able to build is something that took time. We do change the menu 2 – 4 times per year, now including vegetarian and vegan options as well as adaptations to classics, but yes we will never touch the original Buffalo wing, that will always be on the menu prepared the way Teressa made it,” states Dempsey.
Beyond the food, Anchor Bar is very proud of their operational support program that franchisees benefit from. This begins on day 1 with site selection assistance and extends through project management including build-out, design recruiting assistance, corporate training in Buffalo, and on site pre-launch training and grand opening support. Post opening, they visit all of their franchisees, 5 miles or 5,000 miles on a regular basis throughout the year. If problems arise that cannot be solved remotely, a team member is on site within days.
Anchor Bar’s recipe continues to work both in the kitchen and the office. Anchor Bar offers their restaurant franchise opportunity throughout North America.