“We consider our people at the different levels in the store to be our family.”
That family-first philosophy has been a winner for Todd Fetter and his wife, Audra, ever since they entered the franchise industry with elevated sports restaurant concept Buffalo Wings & Rings. That philosophy has paid off in a string of successful restaurants spanning several states, but now, Todd and Audra can add an award from Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine to their growing list of accomplishments.
The Fetters were recently named winner of the Influencer Award for a Husband & Wife Team by Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine. The award recognizes the two for, “demonstrating growth, perseverance, and excellence as a team,” and the Fetters received the award during the Most Valuable Performer (MVP) Awards ceremony at this year’s Multi-Unit Franchising Conference, April 23-26 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
In his typical humble fashion, Todd Fetter admitted he didn’t think an award for his accomplishments as a multi-unit franchisee was possible when the corporate team first presented him with the opportunity.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh there have to be so many others more deserving than me.’ But as I was putting the thing together I started thinking, ‘Hey, we have done some great things.’"
Fetter attended last year’s Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and had been planning to go again this year. However, he hadn’t anticipated taking home an award.
“It's a fantastic conference. It's such an honor. Especially for my wife. She is the operations portion of our team. I find a lot of sites and handle a lot of the financing, but when it comes to operating the stores, that's her thing. For her to be recognized and be part of that--that's worth it for me, to be her supporting cast,” he said.
Philip Schram, Chief Development Officer for Buffalo Wings & Rings, was the first to suggest the Fetters apply for the award. Schram understands the impact the husband and wife team have had on the brand’s growth. In fact, just one week prior to the award ceremony, the Fetters were busy taking over an Omaha location and finalizing a deal to open Buffalo Wings & Rings’ first location in Minnesota. Those marked the eighth and ninth Buffalo Wings & Rings locations for the Fetters.
“Todd and Audra are the perfect example of franchisees who have a vision,” said Schram. “Values are important to them. Todd always talks about building the team--both with family members and non-family members.”
The Fetters have five children, two of whom are involved directly in the business, and he also has four grandsons. But for Todd and Audra, the employees operating their Buffalo Wings & Rings locations are just as much family.
“To win the Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine award says so much more about the team that we've put together. No one does this alone. If anyone says or pretends that they do, then they're lying. My wife first and foremost, and my boys that are involved, help--it's such a team effort. Corporate's support is huge. And then all of the employees making our restaurants successful. There are dozens of people involved in this. My wife and I may walk across the stage to accept the award but there is so much more involved, and so many more people involved than what you can imagine,” said Fetter.
“We are very proud of them,” added Schram. “They have business interests from farming to industrial, and the fact that they put Buffalo Wings & Rings as their preferred choice says a lot about the strength of the brand,” said Schram.
In fact, Schram added that recently when he spoke with them, Todd and Audra told him that they wish they would have found Buffalo Wings & Rings 20 years earlier.
“We consider our people at the different levels in the store to be our family. The hugs and the kisses and the genuine caring about each other helps push us over the top,” said Fetter. “We had a manager meeting with all of our managers recently and had a guest speaker come in to talk with us. During the speech, he said he was shocked to see everyone hug each other and to see so many genuine smiles. He told us that he speaks to groups all of the time that he can tell hate each other, but was surprised to see that we all really do love each other and enjoy being together.”