Being raised on a 1500 acre dairy farm in New Creek, WV, instilled the values, morals and work ethic that was the catalyst to success in business. For Pancake, it all started with a part-time job as a cook and chicken cutter at a local KFC franchise in his native West Virginia. He ultimately spent 10 years with KFC working his way up to Regional Manager. A five-year stint as Senior Director of Company Operations for Roasters Corporation, the franchisor for Kenny Rogers Roasters, followed before the critical move to Cincinnati in 1997 to join Buffalo Wild Wings. While at BWW, Inc., he moved to the headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, was promoted to Sr. Director of Company Operations and oversaw 80 restaurants in 13 states and reported directly to the company’s CEO, Sally Smith.
Bobby met Steve Wheat while working for Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. Steve was the Local Store Marketing Manager. They spent many business trips discussing their dream of starting their own restaurant and developing their business plan. At the time, the franchise was in the process of transitioning from a local wing joint targeting college campuses to today’s national model of a suburban, family-oriented sports bar and grill. In 2003, the pair was introduced to Thom Kreusch, a developer and serial entrepreneur from Dayton, OH and they decided to partner up and become franchisees of the growing brand.
Their timing was perfect. In the past 20 years Buffalo Wild Wings has grown from less than 50 restaurants to more than 1200 locations today. Pancake and Wheat (High 5 Hospitality) own the development rights for the entire state of Delaware and three counties in Maryland.
Success has not been without its adversities. Within six weeks of opening the first restaurant, Mr. Kreusch died unexpectedly. It was a huge personal setback for the entrepreneurs.
Since opening in 2004, with the exception of 2019 and 2020, the Delaware and Maryland restaurants have shown sales increases every year and have expanded to 18 restaurants and sports bars and over 700 employees. Not bad, considering Pancake and Wheat introduced the Buffalo Wild Wings brand with the first restaurant on the East Coast. High 5 Hospitality now operates eight (8) Buffalo Wild Wings franchises in Bear, Dover, Christiana, Middletown, Newark, and Rehoboth Beach, DE, as well as, Bel Air and Salisbury, MD. They also operate two independent restaurants, the Stone Balloon and Limestone BBQ & Bourbon, opening in both 2014 & 2018 respectively. In 2019, H5H became an international franchisee of a breakfast concept called Eggspectation, with a June opening in Christiana. On December 1, 2021, the group acquired five Jersey Mike’s Subs in Delaware to become a franchisee and add the 5th brand to the portfolio. Growth in all five concepts is the vision over the next five years while continuing to vet out both franchise and independent restaurant concepts.
They have received accolades for their accomplishments along the way. In 2005, they were named New Franchisee of the Year by BWW, Inc. In 2009, Bobby received the Founders Award from Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., recognizing the individual who best personifies the vision, enthusiasm, work ethic and humility of the chain’s late founder, Jim Disbrow. The SBA honored High 5, LLC in 2010 as the National Entrepreneur Success Award winner. In June of 2010, on an invitation from President Obama, the business partners traveled to The White House and met with the President, in the oval office, to discuss small business. The Delaware Restaurant Association named the pair as Restaurateurs of the Year for 2011. Their most recent recognition was being named the Buffalo Wild Wings Franchisee of the Year for 2020.
In addition to operating restaurants, Pancake has gone back to his roots by forming Claysville Cattle Company with his cousins in West Virginia. They are currently raising Certified Simmental Cattle on the family farm.
Bobby serves on the Board of Directors for The Delaware Restaurant Association (Chairman–2014-2015), Franchise Business Services (FBS) and Eggspectation Restaurants (North America). He also serves on the Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Advisory Council (BWWFAC), participating in two subcommittees (Fixed Assets and Restaurant Operations/Execution). He is a Civic Leader with for USAF Air Mobility Command.
Bobby and his wife Heather reside in Bear, DE. They have two sons and a daughter in college. Bobby’s oldest son, Levi, is a Pastor in Syracuse, NY. He and his wife Julie are the proud parents of two children, Sophia and Judah.
Joins CMI of Virginia, Inc., a franchisee of Kentucky Fried Chicken as a cook in Keyser, WV
Opens Bobby’s Market in New Creek, WV
Promoted to Shift Supervisor at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Keyser, WV
Promoted to Assistant Manager at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Keyser, WV
Closed Bobby’s Market
Transfers to LaVale, MD as an Assistant Manager at Kentucky Fried Chicken
Transfers to Charles Town, WV as an Assistant Manager at Kentucky Fried Chicken
Attends Kentucky Fried Chicken University in Louisville, KY
Transfers and is promoted to Manager at Kentucky Fried Chicken in New Martinsville, WV.
Transfers to Kentucky Fried Chicken in Charles Town, WV as Manager
Transfers to Chantilly, VA to open a Kentucky Fried Chicken as Manager
Named CMI Manager of the Year and promoted to Area Manager
Assumes responsibility for multi-unit operations of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Reisterstown, Westminster and Frederick, MD
Adds Charles Town, WV to area of responsibility
Opens Frederick, MD #2
Adds two Hagerstown restaurants to area of responsibility
Adds Martinsburg, WV to responsibility
CMI of Virginia, Inc. sells KFC restaurants. Opened 5 new KFC during my ten years with the brand.
Joined Cornett Management Company (same franchisee) and becomes a franchisee of Kenny Rogers Roasters
Moved to Pittsburgh, PA to open Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants in Squirrel Hill, Bridgeville & Monroeville, PA as an Area Manager.
Cornett Management Company sells their Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants to KRR, Inc. based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Moved back to Maryland to oversee operations for KRR, Inc in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, DC
Promoted to Director of Operations of Kenny Rogers Roasters, Inc. overseeing operations from Savannah, GA to Lansing, MI.
Resigned from Kenny Rogers Roasters after opening 19 new locations and assisting in the acquisition of 16 franchise locations
Accepted a position as an Assistant Manager of Silver Diner in Tysons Corner, VA
Accepted a position as District Manager for bw-3 (later becomes Buffalo Wild Wings) and moved to Cincinnati, OH/Florence, KY.
Promoted to Director of Operations of Buffalo Wild Wings and moved to Minneapolis, MN.
Promoted to Sr. Director of Company Operations with Buffalo Wild Wings.
Terminated from Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. During my tenure opened 68 new locations, six years of positive SSS growth and supervised eight Multi-unit operators overseeing 80 restaurants.
Approved as a franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings and join Thom Kreusch and Steve Wheat in forming High 5, LLC
Begin construction of our first Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Bear, DE
BWW Bear opens!
Named New Franchisee of the Year for 2005
Open our second BWW in Dover, DE
Middletown, DE becomes our third BWW location
BWW opens on Limestone Road in Wilmington to mark our 4th opening
Open BWW Newark, DE
Open our first Maryland location in Bel Air, MD
BWW Founders Award winner
SBA Entrepreneurial Success Award – National Winner
Met with President Obama in the Oval Office of the White House
Delaware Restauranteur of the Year
Opened our 7th location in Rehoboth Beach, DE
BWW Salisbury, MD marks the 8th BWW location
Acquired the 16 Mile Taphouse in Newark, DE making it our first independent venture
Closed the 16 Mile Taphouse and reopened as the Stone Balloon Alehouse
Consulted for one year with Touch of Italy, A Lewes, DE restaurant group
Buffalo Wild Wings Franchisee of the Year