Creating the H5H Culture

Over the next five weeks, we will be reviewing the H5H values.  It’s going to challenge each individual in our organization to examine themselves and where they stand in their belief and execution of these on a daily basis.  First, do you believe in the value or statement and then, secondly, do you behave like it?

This is about the culture that we would like to see in our restaurants. A culture that will set us apart from our competition and create an expectation that is no different than the hospitality we’ve seen in a place we describe as “my pleasure”.  See…you all know the brand that I’m talking about.  What’s the name of the restaurant brand that stops everything they are doing at noon every day to play the national anthem?  First of all, they don’t have a patent on that practice and secondly, I can think of a brand that may want to adopt it.  Henry Ford said it best; “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”  What is the culture we are creating in our restaurants?  Because we really are the ones creating it.  What do we mean by culture?

Webster’s Dictionary describes it as “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”  Look at the culture around us.  Some of you remember the story I’ve told of a Saturday morning when I was grabbing a coffee at Wawa at 6:00am.  As I exited the front door, I saw a green Ford Explorer pull up into one of the front parking spaces, roll down the window and throw out the plastic container that their hotdog or sausage was sold to them in.  I took about three more steps towards my car, stopped, turned around, and without making eye contact with the people in the vehicle, walked back and picked the container up off of the ground and threw it in the trash can 10 feet away.  Then I walked to my truck.  Why?  It is simply not a culture that I choose to participate in, a culture of disrespect or entitlement.  That someone else will come along and clean up, provide for and improve.  Yet that is the culture that has been created in America.

Mass Media (television, Radio, social media), Religion, social politics, an over reaching government, deteriorating morals and values have all contributed to the social influence we experience on a daily basis.  Social influences could be defined as the sum of all things that may change or have some effect on a person’s behavior, thoughts, actions, or feelings. We have stood by and allowed this culture to become our reality.  So do we give up?  Do we give in? My position is NO.

This past week, in America, we have witnessed divisive comments from a leader and disrespectful actions by grown men under the guise of freedom of speech.  There is not a side of the issue that you can stand on without controversy.  America is bigger and better than this.  America has survived bigger issues.  But a culture that embraces the freedoms they have but disrespects those who sacrificed their lives to provide it, is on the pathway to destruction.  What can we learn from this and apply to our business?  Michelle Malkin said it best in a statement to the NFL. “There’s no business enterprise that’s ever going to survive by insulting and trashing its own customer base.”

The goal of creating a culture, an experience, something extraordinary for every guest that visits one of our Buffalo Wild Wings locations, the Stone Balloon Alehouse or a Touch of Italy restaurant is realistic.  It is in our control every single day.  We set the stage. We lay out the expectations.  We role model the demeanor and energy we expect.  We choose the team members that represent our business. We train (or fail to train) each person that interacts with a guest.  We hold the team accountable to the conditions of employment.  We maintain the quality of our food, control the ticket time in the kitchen and the handling of every ingredient and every plate.  We provide the environment and control the moments of truth by which our guests form an opinion of the level of service, sanitation and hospitality we provide.  Remember, “Different is not always better, but better is always different”.


  1. Serve others well: We all do what we do for one reason and one reason only, and that is to serve others, knowing that the better we serve others, the better we in turn are served.  If you are not serving the guest, you better be serving someone that is.
  2. Take Responsibility: Go to the mirror, look yourself in the eye and have a little heart-to-heart with yourself. Say these words: “My thoughts, my words and my actions have created the life I am living. I take complete responsibility for everything going on in my life. I will stop blaming. I will stop making excuses. I am in charge of my life and I am taking control of my results from this moment on!”
  3. Attitude is Everything: Your actions affect your attitude and your attitude drives your actions. It is powerful when you get your actions and your attitude working consistently in the same direction. A small positive action can often make a big positive difference in your outlook on your shift today and in life. Even something quick and simple can shift your momentum.
  4. Results Matter: It makes sense that you would want to learn from your past failures. But first, you must realize that it was not really a failure, it was a result. Some combination of your actions successfully caused the result, undesirable as it may have been. So in reality, you were successful. You were effective. You achieved something. What you need to do now is achieve something different. You’ve already proven that you’re effective at getting results. Now it is just a matter of getting the specific results you seek.  “You can have the results you want, or you can have all the reasons in the world why you can’t have them. But you can’t have both. Reasons or results: you get to choose.” – Pancakeism
  5. Sell More: Find out what people want and then give them more of it.  Find out what they don’t want and don’t give them any of that.  That’s what it really takes to sell more: just find out what they want and sell it to them.  The problem is that we don’t always know what they want.  So then what?  Find out what they want.  You know how to find out what people want?  ASK!  Become a master asker!

Lead The Way!