GM of the Year (by: Jeff Lookabill)

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jeffery Lookabill, General Manager of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Salisbury, Maryland. I have been with High 5 Hospitality for a little less than five years.  We opened the store in June of 2013, with great success and results.  From the start, it was a wild year one! We set records for every day of the week starting in week one with over $140,000 in sales and haven’t looked back.  We have experienced positive SSS results in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with projections looking good for 2017.

I have been a two-time General Manager of the Year award winner.  Both awards were very exciting to receive.  This award, however, I feel is much more than an individual award.  I believe that our success is in large part due to our ability to properly staff our restaurant.  It all starts with hiring right and continuing with proper training.  A major contributing factor to this is our WCT’s. Out of our twenty-one WCT’s, thirteen of them have been with us since the beginning!  Having this award mounted on the wall gives the entire staff a sense of pride, especially when these awards hang side by side with our three Restaurant of the Year awards!   The sense of accomplishment flows over into the way we treat our guests and each other. It’s intangible!

While hiring and training the correct team members is very important, having the right management team in place around me played no small part in the restaurant’s success.  Nick Connolly and Tom Spies were a part of the team since day one and were invaluable assets to have.  What made their roles so valuable was their proactive frame of mind, their initiative, their can-do attitude and how well they related to the staff. Having the team(s) like this that I’ve had, gives me the ability to focus on more of everything!

In my thirty plus years in this business, the old saying “you get out what you put in” holds true more than most people give it credit for.  Pay attention to the details.  Come in with no blinders on.  Take responsibility.  Don’t take any shift for granted. Lead by example and your management team, along with the team members, will follow suit.  For those of you who weren’t hourly cooks or servers early on in your careers, it may be hard for you to understand this, but there is no easier way to gain the respect of your team members than to be active and get your hands dirty with those that you’re leading!! Take part. “People Buy into the Leader, then the Vision” – John Maxwell

It’s important to remember that this is not an impossible task. I’m living proof. All you have to do is Lead The Way!