After working in the automotive industry for 25 years, Al Hauck decided he wanted to go into business for himself. But he knew he wanted the support and backing of an established brand behind him, so he decided to look into franchising opportunities.
However, Hauck wasn’t interested in an ordinary franchise. He wanted to invest in a brand that aligned with his personal values, and was somewhere that he would want to visit with his family and friends. That’s when he discovered Buffalo Wings & Rings—the brand’s family-friendly atmosphere and delicious food were a perfect combination. Hauck knew that as soon as he opened up for business in Minot, North Dakota, the restaurant would be a hit.
“The corporate team at Buffalo Wings & Rings makes it their number one priority to help you succeed. It’s rare to find a brand that shares your passion for your local business,” said Hauck. “They’ve created an environment that makes it really easy for franchisees to not only thrive, but also contribute to the overall success of the brand.”
For Hauck, that heightened level of dedication doesn’t end with the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee. He believes it’s just as important for his Buffalo Wings & Rings business to give back to the local community it serves. That’s why he launched the #MeanHurts campaign to end bullying. After watching his kids, employees and customers grow up and face bullies, he decided to get involved in the anti-bullying movement. Hauck knew there had to be a way to educate people and let them know that it’s not cool to be mean.
“It’s really important for people to know that if they’re being bullied, they’re not alone,” said Hauck. “The whole purpose of this program is to bring awareness to the issue and teach people to step in when they see someone being bullied. If we can help even one person, then the entire #MeanHurts campaign will be a success.”
The #MeanHurts anti-bullying program primarily focuses on educating people on the negative consequences surrounding bullying. It’s also extended its reach outside of Buffalo Wings & Rings-- #MeanHurts brings speakers into local schools for presentations on bullying, and has been supported by the local NBC affiliate in the area, KMOT.
The success of the campaign ultimately led to Hauck being awarded Buffalo Wings & Rings’ Community Service Award at the brand’s annual conference. The award recognizes franchisees like Hauck who make it a priority to make Buffalo Wings & Rings more than a business.
“We’re incredibly proud to have franchisees like Al in our system. It shows that Buffalo Wings & Rings isn’t just a brand—our owners care about their customers and communities on a personal level,” said Philip Schram, chief development officer at Buffalo Wings & Rings. “By continuing to bring the best local business owners into our system, we’ll ensure that Buffalo Wings & Rings uses programs like #MeanHurts to make a difference in communities across the country.”