Franchisee Al Hauck breaks down Buffalo Wings & Rings’ simplified approach to casual dining
When Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisee Al Hauck decided to buy into a franchise system, he knew it had to be the right fit. After spending 20 years in the automotive dealership business, he understood the complexities of business and a customer-first mentality, but the amount of capital needed to start his own dealership proved to be challenging. That’s when he turned to franchising as means of achieving his business ownership dream.
Hauck has always loved the restaurant industry, and he felt there were some striking similarities between running a restaurant and the automotive dealership business he was so familiar with. While the commodity is different, both are based on providing superior customer service through efficient operations, and that was something Hauck could get behind.
He researched all kids of restaurants – from QSR to casual dining – and eventually settled on Buffalo Wings & Rings because of the brand’s culture, its commitment to its customers and the potential for higher returns compared to a smaller burger or sandwich shop operation.
According to Buffalo Wings & Rings Chief Development Officer Philip Schram, casual dining in general provides a higher return on investment than smaller QSR footprints because of size and scale. Furthermore, the brand works very hard to find franchisees like Al Hauck who are a cultural fit.
“Franchisees need to share in our culture, our vision and our values,” Schram said. “We’ve shown time and time again that when our model is matched with the right real estate, the right franchisee and the right community, it’s a recipe for success.”
This shared commitment is evident between Hauck and the corporate team at Buffalo Wings & Rings. In fact, that commitment and the emotional connection that Hauck immediately felt for the brand is what drove him to franchise with the business from the beginning.
“After researching many different options, we chose Buffalo Wings & Rings because of the feeling we had as soon as we stepped into the restaurant. It’s the kind of place that my wife and I like to eat at,” said Hauck. “We knew that passion would translate over to running an effective business and the more we looked at it, the more we liked it. There are not a lot of places where you can go and sit down and have a great meal and watch a game. Our chef-inspired, elevated sports atmosphere is not something you can find anywhere else.”
However, running a full service restaurant is often seen as complex. There can be dozens of moving parts, which all need to be aligned and focused on delivering the brand experience to the guest. While many full service restaurants tend to scare away some potential franchisees, Buffalo Wings & Rings has worked diligently to simplify and streamline its model so that a franchisee such as Hauck, with no previous restaurant experience, can thrive by following the system.
“As Buffalo Wings & Rings has taught us, operational efficiency is the key to running a successful full-service restaurant. The best thing about Buffalo Wings & Rings is that the executive team has tested and re-tested the business to ensure that franchisees can maximize their potential without sacrificing on taste, presentation or customer service,” said Hauck. “From menu engineering to streamlining kitchen operations, Buffalo Wings & Rings is constantly evaluating how to do things better and implementing those improvements across the system.”
Another way that Buffalo Wings & Rings simplifies its model is by eliminating much of the guesswork out of running a full-service restaurant. With a laser-focus on training and ongoing franchisee support, every franchise operator across the Buffalo Wings & Rings system understands they are not in it alone.
“Buffalo Wings & Rings works with its franchisee partners every step of the way,” said Hauck. “From site-selection to construction, grand opening and beyond, the corporate team at Buffalo Wings & Rings does everything in its power to ensure that every franchisee has the resources they need to be successful.”
In fact, as Hauck looks to open his second location in the next 60-90 days in Bismarck, North Dakota, his restaurant management team is already in place and has been through training—that’s because Buffalo Wings & Rings wants to make sure that his new restaurant hits the ground running.
“There is a passion for the brand at the corporate and franchisee level that you just don’t see in a lot of other franchise systems,” added Hauck. “When your CEO gives you his cell phone number and tells you to call him personally should the need ever arise – that’s the kind of brand I can always get behind.”