In June, hundreds of corporate team members and franchisees came together in Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate 2015’s victories, discuss best industry practices and brainstorm ways to continue driving Buffalo Wings & Rings’ expansion efforts forward. This year, the brand’s key message was loud and clear: people trump profit.
“We had a lot to celebrate at this year’s annual convention. But in particular, it was about acknowledging the great people in our system who have helped us to accomplish great things. For Buffalo Wings & Rings, that starts with ensuring that the club-level experience is something that’s embodied from the corporate headquarters all the way to every store’s employees,” Masadeh said.
By club-level, Masadeh is referring to the brand’s four key pillars: chef-inspired recipes, crave-worthy wings and rings, a family-friendly sports experience and unmatched VIP service. During the convention, Masadeh put a strong emphasis on the brand’s club-level experience, explaining that more work needs to be done to ensure that everyone--from corporate headquarters to store-level employees--has a true understanding of the concept.
“We found that at the store-level, there was still a weak understanding of what the club-level experience is all about. Every single person in the Buffalo Wings & Rings system needs to live by that brand promise,” Masadeh said. “This starts from the top down. So I would take every opportunity I had to speak about the brand—whether I’m in a meeting with staff or talking to a news outlet. You have to keep driving that message home at every opportunity you get. It’s not a one-time exercise—it becomes a part of what you do and who you are.”
At the convention, Masadeh also explained that the “people trump profit” mindset hinges on a system-wide servant-leadership mindset.
“In this business, serving people comes first. Our highest performing franchisees share these core values on which we have built the Buffalo Wings & Rings brand,” Masadeh added.
To celebrate those franchisees, Buffalo Wings & Rings honored a handful of their top-performers at the convention. Here are this year’s winners:
Local Store Marketing Award: Justin Bobin of Bridgeport, Chicago was recognized for promoting the brand by utilizing existing local store marketing tools and leveraging local marketing opportunities.
Growth MVP: Todd Fetter of the Fetter Group, which owns multiple locations throughout Ohio, was recognized for his commitment to the brand through restaurant development.
Community Service Award: Al Hauck, a franchisee in Minot, North Dakota, was recognized for his ability to harness community service opportunities to develop meaningful ties to the community.
Club Level Experience Award: Mike Weyer, a franchisee in Jasper, Indiana, was recognized for delivering the ultimate VIP guest experience, putting him at the top of guest satisfaction scores. This is the second year in a row that Weyer has received this honor.
Manager of the Year: Nick Kallander, a franchisee in Rapid City, South Dakota, was recognized for his strong management, adherence to brand standards and passionate training and development of an effective team to execute the brand’s service promise.
Buffalove Award: David Bourlier, a franchisee in North Port, Florida, was recognized for creating measurable brand loyalty by embracing and living Buffalo Wings & Rings’ core values and service promise. This award also highlighted Bourlier’s relentless pursuit in ensuring his team is recognized and rewarded and that guests leave happier than when they arrived.
Franchisee of the Year: Raul Munoz, a franchisee in McAllen, Texas, was recognized for being a passionate and dedicated Buffalo Wings & Rings brand advocate with a strong desire for collaboration, natural drive for continuous improvement and an unwavering commitment to the brand’s vision.
During the conference, Diane Matheson, the marketing director of Buffalo Wings & Rings, also introduced a few new initiatives coming to the Buffalo Wings & Rings system. This includes the Buffalove Foundation—a 501(c)(s) committed to combatting childhood hunger. Buffalove was founded to help franchisees get involved in their local communities. Franchisees will be able to make requests for funds from the foundation to use for local initiatives.
Matheson also unveiled the new Buffalo Sauciety—a loyalty club designed to make customers feel like a VIP with rewards and unique experiences. Through the program, customers get in-store perks, exclusive promotions and VIP experiences (like tasting and panels). They can also earn points, which can be redeemed for a variety of fan and brand gear, gift cards or donated back to the Buffalove Foundation.
“Our franchisees, our employees and our corporate leadership—we’re all one entity. Our existence and our success depends on each and every person in the Buffalo Wings & Rings system. Our yearly conference is a chance for all of us to be in one room, celebrating our achievements while also brainstorming ideas on how we can work together for a better future,” Masadeh said. “It’s all about working together in one direction, and after our conference, I’m confident we’re all on that right path.”
Tune in to 1851 for even more exclusive conference coverage and interviews!