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Restaurants Take Advantage of Closures

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., a sports-themed bar chain based in Minneapolis, is one of the companies emphasizing conversions as it expands. Over the past two years, it has acquired eight Don Pablo's restaurants and turned them into new versions of its sports-themed bar chain. As of the end of the year, Buffalo Wild Wings had 560 sites.

It has also put in place a rebranding "SWAT Team" of construction, operations and other professionals who can take a vacated site and convert it in just a little more than five months.

Giving Buffalo Wild Wings a boost in pursuing the locations is the chain's balance sheet. "We don't have any debt and we have cash on the book so these are the kinds of opportunities that we can take advantage of" and the competition often can't, says Matt Brokl, a vice president and associate general counsel.

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