The Minneapolis-based chain this week tapped consultant Pile & Co., Boston, to conduct the agency search. Semifinalists will be selected by mid-October for a decision by the end of the year.
Independent agency Periscope, Minneapolis, has been handling ad duties for the restaurant. It is the largest chain in the country positioned around Buffalo chicken wings. With more than a dozen sauces as its main sales driver, the chain in February launched a co-branded Captain Morgan sauce with the rum maker.
The $126 million chain supports a marketing budget of about $12 million and uses the tagline "Wings, beer, and sports -- all the essentials." Earlier this year, Periscope unveiled the first of five new spots positioning the wings as "heaven."
The 220-unit chain, concentrated mainly in the Midwest, went public in 2003 and has posted double-digit same-store sales gains since the fourth quarter of that year.