Sally Smith

Sally Smith

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., Sally J. Smith leads one of the nation's fastest-growing national restaurant chains, which includes more than 1,030 restaurants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico with system-wide revenue of over $2.8 billion.

In 2003, Smith led the company in its initial public offering, raising more than $50 million which has helped fund the company's exceptional growth. The company has achieved compounded annual revenue growth of 27% over the past ten years and compounded annual net income growth of more than 34% over the past ten years.

Smith joined Buffalo Wild Wings as Chief Financial Officer in 1994 when it was a fledgling chain of 35 restaurants, mostly in Ohio. With her keen financial and leadership skills and a healthy dose of tenacity, Smith worked to establish a sound infrastructure and build the talented team that has helped the company grow from a regional chain to a thriving national brand.

Smith's exceptional achievements and leadership were recognized by the restaurant industry in 2010 when she received the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO)Operator of the Year Award. In 2009, she was honored with another one of the industry's highest awards, the Gold Plate Award, presented by the International Food Manufacturer's Association (lFMA).

Other honors earned by Smith include: Twin Cities Business Outstanding Director Award in 2014, Twin City Business Hall of Fame in 2012, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Career Achievement Award for 2010; Restaurants & Institutions magazine's Restaurant Executive of the Year in 2005; Nation's Restaurant News Golden Chain Award in 2003; and Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midwest Region in 2001.

Prior to joining Buffalo Wild Wings, Smith sharpened her business acumen with positiens at the international accounting and consulting firm, KPMG, llP, and during her 11 years at the national franchise company, Dahlberg, Inc. (now Miracle-Ear, lnc.), where she ended her tenure as Chief Financial Officer.

A native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Smith is a graduate of the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accounting, and she is a CPA. She served as the 2011 Chairman of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors. She is a director of Alerus Financial Corporation, Allina Health System, and Hormel Foods. Smith is also a member of World Presidents' Organization and Women Corporate Directors.

News Updates

Dynamic Roster of Foodservice Industry CEOs and World Renowned Speakers To Keynote the 2015 Women’s Foodservice Forum Annual Leadership Development Conference
Dallas, TX ( February 4, 2015) – The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announced today that industry icons Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith, Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent and McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson will keynote the 2015 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference to be held on March 8-11, 2015 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida. The lineup of renowned thought leaders will also include best-selling author Daniel Pink and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad.

This year’s theme is “Changing the Face of Leadership” and marks the culmination of a year-long celebration of WFF’s 25 year anniversary.  “It’s amazing that WFF emerged out of the vision of 14 women who came together to discuss the state of women in foodservice 25 years ago and has blossomed into meeting the needs of our industry’s companies and thousands of individuals on an annual basis,” said Hattie Hill, WFF president and chief executive officer. “We expect nearly 3,000 women and men ranging from emerging leaders to mid-level, senior and C-suite executives in the foodservice industry from across the United States and Canada to attend this year’s conference.”

The three-day event delivers best-in-class content, builds meaningful and strategic industry connections and develops core leadership competencies. In addition to dynamic keynote addresses, there will be numerous educational sessions on topics ranging from strategic thinking to increasing employee engagement to the art of leadership storytelling.

“I’m pleased to be part of an organization that is focused on helping diverse talent not only understand what is possible in our industry, but also build the competencies needed to create strong careers, great businesses and a pipeline of ready talent,” said Kat Cole, WFF’s 2015 board chair and president of Cinnabon, Inc. “As WFF embarks on the next 25 years, we will continue to help foodservice-related companies and professionals maximize their success in elevating and retaining women leaders and strengthening the business and leadership capabilities of diverse talent. As part of one of the largest industries in the country employing more than 13.5 million people, we have an opportunity and an obligation to build diverse talent, drive top performance and be an industry of choice for generations to come—WFF will be a catalyst in that effort.”

“We are pleased that Brinker International, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Sysco Corporation are among the top supporters of the 2015 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference and are committed to our mission of advancing women leaders in our industry,” stated Hill.

Registration Opens for WFF 2015 Annual Leadership Development Conference
Dallas (October 15, 2014) – Registration is now open for the WFF (Women’s Foodservice Forum) 2015 Annual Leadership Development Conference. This year’s conference will be held at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, FL. March 8 – 11, 2015.

Sold out last year with record-breaking attendance (3000+), this year’s event is sure to be as memorable. Make plans today for your team to attend and receive premier leadership development paired with the only industry networking opportunity of its kind. The 2015 WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference will focus on elevating the foodservice industry, advancing organizations and developing leaders. Attendees will be inspired by key note speakers and go home with actionable insight learned in first-class breakout sessions to share with their teams and implement in their own careers.

To ensure that you don’t miss out, register today!