Be the Buffalo

Be the Buffalo

In keeping with our 2019 theme, MINDSET, and having just returned from the Buffalo Wild Wings Worldwide Convention, I will ask for a little latitude.

As most of you know, I grew up on a farm in West Virginia.  I am pretty familiar with how chickens, pigs, sheep and cows behave.  However, in the west (see what I did there) the topography and landscape is much different.  The state of Colorado is divided almost exactly in half.  In the western part of the state, there are the famous Rocky Mountains and then in the eastern part of the state, are the great Kansas plains, it is very flat.  This makes Colorado one of the only places in the world that has a unique climate that allows for both cows and buffalo to roam freely, in close proximity to one another.  Cows and buffalo are similar in many ways, but there is one distinction that is worthy of noting.

Storms in Colorado can be unpredictable given the terrain of the mountain range. The Rocky Mountains are a natural barrier allowing only the mightiest of storms to come over the ridge into eastern Colorado and western Kansas. When a storm is coming, cows and buffalo respond very differently.

When a storm approaches from the west, the cows see it, so they head east and run away from it.  Makes sense — hard to argue with that logical behavior.   I don’t know if you have ever paid attention to a cow, but they are not exactly built for speed, so the storm eventually catches up to them and they continue to run until the storm passes over.   All their running really does is keep them in the storm longer, extending the pain and discomfort.  That’s a problem … the fear and the avoidance of facing the storm causes cows to run.  The cow hopes the storm goes away, and when it doesn’t, the cow is surprised with that reality.  Optimism, wishful thinking, running away, avoiding the danger, looking away and pretending the storm is not there do not work.

Buffalo, on the other hand, do something very unnatural.  When they see a storm coming, they don’t turn and run away, they head west, right into the storm.  Running as fast as they can into the storm.  This counterintuitive act actually shortens the length of time they spend in the storm.  By moving toward the storm, the impact of the storm is dramatically reduced.

The lesson… Be the Buffalo!

When something bad, difficult, or fearful comes over the ridge, how do you respond?  Do you respond like the cow, running away from the storm and hoping it chooses a different path, hoping it goes away?  Or do you respond like a buffalo, going head-first into the storm with eyes wide open, knowing that facing challenges straight-on with courage and fortitude will ultimately lessen the significance and effects?

It is easy for us to justify and rationalize the logical cow behavior of running away from the tough and the scary.   Our challenge: to Be the Buffalo — facing the storms and fears we are avoiding, moving towards them with faith and confidence, knowing that beyond the storm the clouds fade away and sunshine awaits.

Too often we turn and run from the storms in our lives, obstacles in our paths or challenges in our business.  The big project, the uncomfortable conversations with a team member, or a personal habit change we need to make.  We avoid it or waste time working around it, trying to tip toe the easy path that avoids the stress.  Be the Buffalo!  Lean into your problems, don’t hide, run into the storm, fight, embrace struggle.

In our Buffalo Wild Wings Sports bars, the Madness of March is here!  Menu item enhancements with both food and beverage, plateware changes, burning the boats, the physical menu, FOH uniforms, new commercials, MARCH MADNESS, learning management system (LMS), FUMBLE, Brand Champ, legendary experiences between friends that turn game time into stories worth telling, SWAGGER…did I forget anything?  This is our time!  Be the Buffalo!

At the Stone Balloon, we are tweaking some menu items as well.  Happy Hour sales continue to grow and we are adding cocktails on tap.  Chef Jester awaits the results of a potential hat trick as Delaware’s Best Chef.  Curt is preparing to take over the helm.  Main Street will be partially closed (for two years).  Regardless, it is time for the Balloon to soar to new heights.  Mindset Matters…Be the Buffalo!

Meanwhile, at Limestone BBQ and Bourbon, the word is out!  We are coming off of a big spread in Delaware today, anticipating our planned visit from the Governor and awaiting the results of the Best of Delaware nomination.  Smoker Takeovers are seeing positive results and we are setting new sales records.  This is what we know:  Cows are good for one thing…. BRISKET.  (so eat the cow, Be the Buffalo!)

Construction continues for Eggspectation.  Equipment and furniture are ordered, Luke Luckini and Rob Ford are gearing up for their “Eggs” training in Owings Mills and the chatter on the street about the new cafe is increasing.  The “Coming Soon” will soon be a “Now Open”.  Eggciting times!

Opportunities abound.  The work will be hard.  It will require time and effort.  Training is the key.  Twenty-nineteen will be OUR YEAR.  We must seize this moment.  We must make a choice…. Cow or Buffalo….14 flawless shifts will create the culture that will drive us through the storm.



PS…..It’s National Pancake Day!  You’re Welcome!