New wings joint gives variety to Logan sports, food scenes
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:03
With two professional sporting venues in the state and a limited budget, many students face the challenge of being able to have a game-day experience at the stadium.
Not anymore: Buffalo Wild Wings is making sure of that.
The national chain opens its newest location March 11 in Logan with one major goal in mind: to bring the “stadium experience” to the restaurant for “fans.”
“We don’t have guests, we have fans,” said Josh Baumann, managing partner for the Logan location. “People that have never met each other high-fiving and that high energy environment; it’s a place to hang out. People come back because of that. We bring the stadium to the restaurant.”
As an added motive for the grand opening, Buffalo Wild Wings, nicknamed “B-Dubs,” is giving away free wings for a year to the first 100 customers through the door the first day. Baumann said he expects people will set up camp starting Sunday afternoon, and said there are plans to interact with and entertain those that spend the night.
“We’ll have the parking lot shut down. We’ll put porta potties out there and have people during the night doing games and giving stuff away,” Baumann said. “It’s a lot of fun. People have a pre-party in the parking lot, just hanging out. We’ve got a lot of giveaways going on that first day.”
“Our vendors are bringing a bunch of stuff to give out,” he said. “We’ve got a band coming. It’ll be a hopping day all day.”
In addition to the giveaways, Baumann said there are plenty of activities to participate in. With 61 LED TVs ranging from 40 inches to 80 inches and a 12-by-6.5 foot projection screen, every game in every sport is covered.
The Buffalo Wild Wings chain has implemented a new staff position, referred to as guest experience captains, something Baumann said is unique.
“They get to hang out with the guests and make sure they have a good time,” Baumann said. “We tested it in Texas and the company is going nationwide with it. They’re authorized to talk smack and let you talk smack back. They’re here to create that environment for the guests and makes sure they have a good time.”
Ben Rivera, a native of College Station, Pa., and a New York Mets fan, couldn’t believe the job description.
“I’d never heard of (GEC’s),” Rivera said. “Josh explained it to me and it was one of those moments that I was like ‘Really? I get paid to do that?’ It’s a ball.”
GEC’s are designated experts on each of the 16 signature sauces and 20 drafts of beer offered at the restaurant. They are responsible for assisting with sauce samplings, controlling the TV’s and are the staff representative on hand when customers attempt the “Blazin’ Challenge.”
“Guests have to eat 12 of our hottest wings in under six minutes,” Baumann said. “You can’t take a drink, you can’t use ranch, you can’t use celery: It’s just the wings. You have to get all the meat off the bones in under six minutes.”
Those who accomplish the feat are rewarded with a free “Blazin’” T-shirt and have their picture posted on the “Wall of Fame” displayed on a television near the front of the restaurant. Baumann said in the five years he’s been an employee for Buffalo Wild Wings, the fastest he’s seen anyone accomplish the task is 42 seconds.
Other activities available include the trivia challenge, in which customers are given an electronic box to answer questions posted on TVs throughout the restaurant, and a new feature — the Big Shot challenge.
An app available on smart phones transforms advertisements on tables into a basketball shooting challenge, allowing participants to score as many points as they can during their visits throughout the NCAA tournament. The top performers at each location are rewarded with gift cards, and the top score nationally will win a trip to the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta, Georgia.
With the grand opening less than a week away, regional training manager Natasha Bronzini is putting the 115 newly hired employees through the gauntlet.
“It’s just what we do. It’s a passion, it’s believing in a brand. We have a staff that motivates us and keeps us going. This staff is unbelievable. Their energy and passion pumps us up,” Bronzini said. “That’s what we want our staff and our team to be about. That’s all we ask our teams to do, love sports and love what you do. When you do that, the rest happens naturally. We bleed black and yellow.”