182 - Business Blunder - Buffalo Wild Wings - John Laurito

182 – Business Blunder – Buffalo Wild Wings

Today, host John Laurito talks about a mistake that business owners often overlook in decision-making. As a leader, you need to ensure that there is a good return to an investment your company just made. If you are a business owner, all the more that you need to figure out how to turn a profit and give your clients or customers the best experience. Start thinking about the system and processes you have in place that may be a blunder, and if you are having a hard time doing so, get perspective from the outside AKA hire a coach.

[0:00] Intro

[0:26] What were these businesses thinking?

[0:51] The Rubber Match: McGregor vs Poirier

[6:55] Here’s the scoop

[8:47] Hello, Buffalo Wild Wings

[9:31] Here’s John’s two cents

[10:28] What business owners need to do

[12:27] Outro


John: Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito, and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. 

John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader related to leading yourself and leading others. I am John Laurito, still your host today and every day. 

John: So we’re going to name this kind of topic or theme or show business blunders, because, as you know, there’s a lot of times where I’m out and about and I see things the businesses are doing and I scratch my head. I’m like, what were they thinking? Maybe that’s the name of the segment, the what were they thinking segment. So this nevertheless is another one of those examples, this took place about three weeks ago, this was in Bethany Beach, Delaware area. 

John: So I go every year to Bethany Beach, 12 years in a row. I’ve got my kids and sister and brother in law and nephew and niece and have just a phenomenal time, great memories. We go back every year and always look forward to doing some just relaxing and having some fun. 

John: So the first night that we were down there, I was really excited because of the Connor McGregor fight was on that night was taking place, I think it was 10:00 or 11:00 o’clock at night. UFC fight. So a huge deal to see Connor McGregor fight and he was fighting. And I should have done my prep here because now I am struggling to think of the guy’s name. 

John: For those of you listening, you are saying, God, how could you forget this? OK, so Pourri, I don’t know if that’s how I’m pronouncing his name right, but in any event, this was a big fight between Dustin Pedroia and kind of McGregor. They had each fought once before Dustin took one fight, Connor took another. So this was, in essence, the rubber match. And this is a highly, highly anticipated fight because these guys hate each other, hate each other, absolutely hate each other. 

John: So needless to say, this is my first day of vacation. I’m like, OK, this is great. Jeff and I learned that the fight was on, which we did not know other than that day, I think, or the day before. And so we decided, ah, let’s find a place where we can go and take Nick and Gavin and go watch this fight. The boys wanted to see it too. 

John: So we looked around and not many places showing the fight. And here’s the reason why it’s expensive. So if you actually buy as an individual the pay-per-view subscription for that event, it’s like 100 bucks. I’m going to say something crazy. It’s a lot, but never. Nevertheless, people do it that’s, you know, pay per view, makes a ton of money. But if you’re a bar and you want to buy the pay-per-view and show the fight, it’s not like you pay 100 bucks. You pay pretty much an exorbitant amount of money. It’s thousands. And I’ve heard different numbers. 

John: I mean, basically, I heard like 25 times your max, your fire max number of people that can be in there. So if you can hold 200 people safely, it’s twenty-five times that. Call it five grand. If you can hold 400 people, you’re talking ten grand for the fight. So needless to say, we do our searching and nobody is showing the fight with the exception of maybe three places, two of which are bars and you have to be over twenty-one to go there. 

John: So we tried to sneak Nick and Gavin into one that didn’t work. So we were down to our last option, which was a Buffalo Wild Wings. So we’re like, OK, well, I don’t think that’s just the bar. It’s a restaurant. I know that. So there’s not necessarily that twenty-one-year-old requirement. So we took the boys there. That wasn’t the issue. Actually, we could have gotten them in, no problem. But we see a long line outside the door now. OK, I get it. Not totally unexpected because it is a big fight, that’s one of the few places that are showing in and there’s a lot of people that want to get in there. OK, I get it. 

John: So if you’re the bar, you’re the business owner. You’re saying, OK, for me to invest 5000 dollars, let’s say that’s the number. I have to make sure that I have a big incremental lift that night. Otherwise, it’s not worth it. Why would I spend 5000 to do the same amount of business? Well, that obviously wouldn’t make any sense. I’m going to try to spend that money to attract a lot more people and do high turnover and just get them in and out, ideally, or at least in and spending a lot of money so that we can make incrementally 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars, whatever, on that 5000 dollar investment. Well, that would be the smart thing. 

John: That would be the goal. And most businesses would look and say, OK, well, how do we get as many people through here as possible and spending money instead? This line was out the door and we went up and figured, OK, well, let’s try at least maybe to just stand in the bar. Maybe we can do that. And I’m not sure if that will fly and we’re going to be able to do that with Nick and Gavin. But let’s just try and see if we can do that. 

John: So we walk in and there’s just, you know, a hostess or host that’s not really doing much or paying attention. They were talking to somebody else. So we just walkthrough, we just walk to the bar and there’s nobody in the bar except for some people sitting at the bar itself. Now, keep in mind, you may say, well, covid restrictions. It’s in that no, this was July 10th in Delaware and covid restrictions were removed. So bars were really back to normal. You could put as many people into a bar as you would covid. 

John: So for a fight like this, you would expect that this bar would be kind of shoulder to shoulder. I mean, why not drive as many people in there as possible and, you know, get them drinking beers and whatever and all that kind of stuff? So they’re watching the fight. You’re making a lot of money. It’s a worthwhile investment. Instead, there’s nobody in there except for a few people at the bar sitting at the bar. And then the rest of the place is filled with tables that are clearly not doing anything. So at least 50 percent of the tables had no food on them. 

John: They had already eaten and they were just sitting there just buying time. And some of them had no drinks in front of them either. So the restaurant was making no money and very little money, much less than a normal kind. Based on what I’m looking at now. They’ve got a line out the door that has not moved at all in the time that we’ve been there. 

John: So let me just kind of give you the scoop. We went up to the bar. We tried to order a drink. They would not serve us a drink because we were not sitting either at the bar or at a table. I said, well, why can’t we just stand here? Well, we just we’re not letting that. We’re not allowing them. No good reason. I’m like, well, why we can’t. We came in here to watch the fight. Why can’t we just stand here and we’re going to order a beer we’d like please take our money and we’d love to watch the fight. 

John: Why can’t we? And there was no honestly, there was no good reason. The hostess came over in a really rude way, just said, did you guys put in your name for the table knowing that we did not? And she said there’s about there’s a ten-person wait ahead of you. You have to put your name on the table and basically grabbed us and pulled us out of the bar area. We were not allowed to stand there. We were not allowed to give them money in order to enjoy what we came there to watch and for them to make money. 

John: So instead, they were put on a waiting list that in the time we were there, which is probably fifteen minutes, maybe twenty did not move even by one person. There was nobody in that restaurant that was making an effort. And why should they? They’re sitting in a nice comfy chair in the booth or whatever. They’re watching the fight that’s about to start now. It’s about ten o’clock. The fight itself didn’t go on. McGregor didn’t go until probably eleven-thirty so that those tables had already eaten. They probably came in at eight. They had already eaten. They’re just hanging out now. 

John: They’re going to be staying from 8:00 until midnight, four hours, basically sitting at a table, not ordering any food, maybe ordering a couple of drinks, clearly not making the money, the restaurant, any money, in fact, significantly less money than they would on a normal night. Yet they spent five grand or whatever was to get the fight. Hello. So why would a restaurant do something that dumb, so, OK, we left very frustrated, obviously not a big fan of Buffalo Wild Wings, or at least just total disbelief that that was a decision that they made. 

John: They obviously lost a ton of money that night because they truly did, I believe, a fraction of the business they would have done on a normal night. Very few people could enjoy the fight. We went away frustrated at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m sitting here doing a podcast too, you know, the huge, enormous global audience that I have told them about Buffalo Wild Wings. That has a thousand locations, by the way, across wherever and just doesn’t make sense. Why would they do that? That doesn’t make any sense. 

John: Businesses make bad decisions all the time. Ask yourself as a leader, as a business owner is what I’m doing right now and the investment I’m making. Is this the smartest investment? If I’m making if I’m investing a thousand dollars in something, what is my return on that investment? What can I do to ensure a better return on that investment? 

John: It doesn’t take a lot of thought to say, OK, well, if we go into this night having paid 5000 dollars, you know, if we change our normal process and we’re not turning over tables, we’re not letting new people in, we’re letting people sit there, not order anything. And we’re not using the open space in the bar to to to allow people to spend money and give us money. Well, how could we expect to turn a profit on a night like that, I’m sure was a disastrous night and a disastrous loss for them. It just doesn’t make any sense. 

John: But I see business owners do that all the time. I think that’s all you’re going to do. Think ahead. What is this system going to be and what am I going to do to make sure that I’m pleasing my customer and my clients and attracting more of them, getting them to say positive things? Now, had we honestly, had we gotten in there, what’s the fight? I don’t know. Maybe I would have been doing a podcast about the positive things about Buffalo Wild Wings. And I’m not here to trash Buffalo Wild Wings because I’ve actually been there and had great times before. 

John: But this one just made dumb decisions. Doesn’t make any sense. So again, businesses do that all the time. My ask or challenge of you is to think about what am I doing right now that may be a business blunder. Is there something that I’m doing that’s just if somebody else looked at my business, that’s why hiring a coach is so important or hiring an adviser? Have somebody from the outside just look in. I could look in immediately and see the problem in this business. Hey, you know what you want to make like tens of thousands of dollars more in a day? 

John: I’ll show you how to do it. I’ll tell you exactly how to do it really easily. Just let people in and let them give you money. It’s not that hard. And yeah, you work through some other systems and stuff. Make sure you’re, you know, operating on code and all that stuff and not letting too many people in. But there’s an opportunity to make a lot of money here and you’re just doing it all wrong. So get some perspective from the outside. All right. 

John: So anyway, I had had that building in my head for a long time. I want to get that out. So hope you enjoyed it again. My job is to help you think a little bit differently about what you’re doing. You as leaders of your own business, of your own life, and leaders of other people. Just think about what is it that I’m doing that’s ultimately getting me closer to my goals is the stuff that I’m doing that’s not. And if so, stop doing it. That’s easy. All right. Stop doing it. 

John: So for now, thanks for listening. Make sure you like, subscribe, comment, share all that kind of good stuff. Go down below, give a five-star review and we will see you next time. Thank you. Bye. 

John: Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at johnlauritogroup.com. Once again, that’s johnlauritogroup.com. Thanks, lead on!

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