Elevated Sports Restaurant Franchise Grows Through Strategic Approach to Attracting New Guests and Increasing Customer Loyalty
When it comes to building a successful restaurant, Buffalo Wings & Rings has always subscribed to a long-term strategy to build a loyal fan base and win over new fans through proactive marketing and delivering on its service promise. The company has developed a refined approach towards scaling a business incorporating methods to speak to would-be customers directly and take care of loyal customers to increase retention.
The philosophy behind creating a business model that will continue to be successful may seem simple, but is part of the company’s culture – instill a strong “people first” mentality throughout every level of the Buffalo Wings & Rings model.
“We want to make Buffalo Wings & Rings a regular part of our guests’ behavioral pattern,” said Philip Schram, chief development officer for Buffalo Wings & Rings. “It's all about building the business and at the end of the day, this is a service industry. In an increasingly competitive environment, those who take care of each and every person that walks through their door will be successful.”
Believing that true success in the restaurant industry doesn’t come from one big splashy bang during a grand opening, but rather comes from a continued proactive approach to attracting and retaining guests, Schram and the leadership team at Buffalo Wings & Rings encourage franchisees to enter the business well-funded. Having a long-term game plan that includes continued investment in marketing and in maintaining quality team members and solid operations will lead to the building of a sound business over time. The company focuses on winning every opportunity with new guests and proactively ingraining the business into the local community.
Bill and Christine Melton, Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisees and restaurant industry veterans, opened their Arlington, Texas, Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurant in October 2016. The couple has subscribed to the same “people first” approach held by the Buffalo Wings & Rings corporate team and have made that a focal point of their restaurant’s growth plan in the last year and two months in operation.
“From day one, we always say that it doesn’t matter what’s going on at the time, the people are the most important part of the restaurant,” said Melton. “My wife and I role model that - we open the door for people – and there are very few places that are still doing that. Opening the door and welcoming people, and then thanking them for coming when they leave is important.”
According to Melton, his restaurant is up an average of 67 percent heading into the end of 2017 and he attributes the growth to building the business one guest at a time. Schram, who visited the Arlington restaurant in the fall, got a chance to see this first-hand.
“Bill Melton is focused on hospitality and developing his people. It's showing. His staff was extremely well-trained and he is on an excellent trajectory,” said Schram. “Bill and Christine understand the power of creating a culture of success inside of their four walls but they also don’t wait for guests to come to them. They get out there and act as fantastic brand ambassadors in their community.”
Besides a heavy focus on people and maintaining a clean and welcoming restaurant, Melton has also found ways to build his Buffalo Wings & Rings business by tapping into opportunities in the technology realm and in the community.
For example, Melton started working with Fooda, a company that connects restaurants with office buildings to create lunch time “pop up” restaurants, in order to drive sales during lunch time, amp up catering and introduce Buffalo Wings & Rings to a new audience. Melton has also started working with Uber Eats in order to expand the footprint of people they reach and build sales outside of the restaurant’s four walls. He’s mixed these innovative approaches with some of the tried-and-true marketing efforts such as targeting the nearby Dallas Cowboy’s fan base, working with hotels near the restaurant by providing menus and free wing cards, and finding ways to introduce the brand’s high-quality product to as many people as possible.
“The restaurant industry has changed so much,” said Melton. “Anyone who serves food is competition. There are so many options out there. But we have the best wings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. If people don’t believe me, and try our wings and don’t like them, I tell them that I’ll pay for them myself. No one has corrected me yet.”