Bridge the Gap

When High 5 Hospitality, as an organization, chose “RISE” as our theme for 2020, none of us could have imagined just how much we would be required to “RISE” over the next twelve months.  The president’s impeachment, a global coronavirus pandemic, Government restrictions, the BLM protests, the election crisis and the west coast wildfires that raged on and on.  Then there were the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter along with their friends.  The untimely death of actor Chadwick Boseman.  We also lost Alex Trebek and the notorious RBG in 2020.  The world around us has been in constant chaos for far too long and we yearn for something or someone to pull us back together and give us a goal or an objective to propel us back to “normal”.  That “someone” is you and that “something” is the bridge that needs to be built in order to find the common ground that will connect the huge divide.

“What’s the difference between people who see and seek gaps and those that see and seek bridges? The first stops and stays on the side. The second, crosses and reaches new worlds.

There’s a vast expanse between where we currently stand and where we need to go. Okay, maybe not where we need to go tomorrow, but if we plan to achieve the goals that we have set over the next five to ten years, then it’s quite a divide.   As we get our legs under us in 2021, with a new administration in the White House and the rollout of a vaccine that is in motion, we are facing huge headwinds of economic recovery and the real potential of devastating legislation that could impact the hospitality industry.  It’s time to “Bridge the Gap.” 

Leaders in other organizations have been doing this same thing for years to help drive their organizations to success.  Addressing the culture of the company and bridging the gaps in processes and in customer service cannot wait if you want to achieve the company’s vision. Enzo Renda, the founder and CEO of Eggspectation, relies on past experiences to build a worldwide brand.

Challenges are the necessary ingredient in the development of great leaders.  However, very few organizations tackle more challenges with incredible success than our United States Military.  By asking the why, they allow each person to reach their full potential.  The way that they shifted and adapted and turned directly into whatever storm they were facing in 2020 was nothing less than impressive.  I’m honored to have a front row seat watching Colonel Matt Jones, Wing Commander at DAFB, lead the entire base….facing the storm.

In our own industry, bridge construction began in 2020 and continues to be a huge undertaking.  Thankfully, there are organizations that battle on our behalf for fairness and continually getting our message out.  In Delaware, that push is led by the Delaware Restaurant Association CEO, Carrie Leishman and the team around her.  We are incredibly grateful for her tenacity and forward thinking during the crisis we faced last year.

In our foundational and core brand, Buffalo Wild Wings, reclaiming our place as the Great American Sports Bar is the driving ambition. Lyle Tick, the President of the brand, is fearlessly leading his teams with initiatives across the entire system and is determined to bridge the gap right along with us and reiterate their commitment to provide the tools for our success. 

The individuals that make up our organization are the catalyst to our success.  Every single person is critically important to helping us bridge the gap.  The dumpster fire of 2020 wreaked havoc on us individually, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially.  I keep hearing folks use words like “fatigue”, “over it” and “worn out”.  But, there is hope! 

Believing there is a bridge from where you are to where you want to go is 99% of the battle.  The other 1% is to cross it.

The continuous improvement cycle, “Kaizen”, is already in process. 

The Kaizen approach consists of 5 founding elements:

  • Teamwork
  • Personal discipline
  • Improved morale
  • Quality circles
  • Suggestions for improvement.


The current list of “First 100” initiatives are the bridge builders. image.png

These are the first tools necessary to begin the construction of the structure that will bridge the gap for our organization.  In the beginning, many of us will be bridge builders.  Or will we?

As soon as your mind identifies the bridge, the gap is gone…but the bridge was always there…you just had to see it.

The key to bridging the gap is to apply common sense solutions to the problems we face.  To compromise, when it will improve the equity of our guest or team members, but never when it comes to our values.  We will stand strong in the face of “cancel culture” and outside influences while protecting and improving the culture inside the four walls of our sports bars and restaurants. 

We will strive for excellence in communication, in compliance at all levels, in making certain that all safety protocols are adhered to and emphasized so that our teams and guests not only feel safe but really are safe. 

We will continue to embrace the enhancements in technology that not only help us manage our businesses but also help us run our business.  We’ll “lean in” to providing service enhancements like tablets for servers, contactless payment at the table and curbside pick-up for online and TOGO guests. 

We will continue to refine pathways to grow our leaders’ business acumen, develop their communication skillset with team members and guests, as well as provide insights to the art of the shift.  We will continue to challenge our team member incentives and contests to achieve business milestones.  We will make guest count our measuring stick with repeat guests as the focus.  We will reward tenure improvement and staffing levels at 100%.

There are a lot of things that we are good at, but the goal is to be 5-STAR.  Our guests should feel the difference when they enter our buildings or experience our hospitality.  Our team members should feel it at orientation and should miss our culture should they choose a different career path.  We cannot tolerate almost, halfway or just enough.  We don’t want to build a footbridge but a multi-lane, two- way superhighway that sets us apart in the minds of our teams, our guests and our community. 

Continuous Improvement.  Kaizen.  Literally live our values.“There is only one way to bridge the perceived gap between a person and his or her greatest dreams, and that is to begin.”

Bridge the Gap