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Buffalo Wild Wings fly into Logan with wild and tasty grand opening

March 15th, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By Curtis Lundstrom

LOGAN—The northeast corner of 1400 North and Main Street is seeing a lot more black and yellow these days.

After months of demolition and construction, Buffalo Wild Wings has opened its newest restaurant—the eighth in Utah over the past 13 months, with two more coming.

“We’re ready,” said Josh Baumann, managing partner for the Logan location, before last week’s opening. “It’s about creating something: an experience, an environment, the uniqueness of what we bring. You can’t get what you’re going to experience here at Buffalo Wild Wings.”

The biggest challenge was obtaining a state liquor license, but Baumann said they finally managed it after planning to open multiple locations in the state. Some unique Utah liquor laws hindered the process, including bartenders being unable to mix drinks in front of customers.

“It had to do with the in-house liquor laws,” Baumann said. “I’m still trying to figure those out. There’s a lot of laws that are so different for me, coming from Texas. [In Utah] you have to be 21 to serve alcohol, but in Texas you only have to be 18 to carry and serve the beers to the table.”

As a result, the 20 beers Buffalo Wild Wings has on tap are poured behind a wall in the bar, and then brought out to customers.

With the hurdles cleared and the store set to open, Baumann and his 115 local employees are ready to create a “stadium environment” for Cache Valley residents. They are giving back to their customers before the store even opens.

Last week, Baumann and regional training manager Natasha Bronzini hosted “Friends and Family” and “VIP” nights for their new employees, with every penny donated to the Fisher House, a non-profit organization that supports military families in need.

“We try and give back $1,000 per month to the community, to whatever programs that need it,” Baumann said. “It’s kind of cool to be able to work toward something that allows you to be connected with the community and be a part of it.”

In addition to the Fisher house, Buffalo Wild Wings has set up an announcement board at the front of the restaurant for other non-profit organizations to post flyers for events and charities. This week, the store is setting up a booth and bringing in special needs groups to do activities such as scavenger hunts.

Perhaps the most unique thing happening at Buffalo Wild Wings is the newly created staff position of “Guest Experience Captain.”

“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.”

Wearing white jerseys, responsibilities for captains include interacting with guests, fulfilling guests requests such as what games to play on any of the restaurant’s 61 TVs, conducting sauce samplings with the 16 signature Buffalo Wild Wings sauces, and creating a “stadium environment.”

“We just get to be ourselves and make sure people are having a good time,” said Ben Rivera, who was originally hired to be a bartender before being made a captain. “I’d never heard of (GECs). 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.”

But the most significant task GECs perform is that of conducting the “Blazin’ Challenge,” in which customers are required to eat 12 wings covered with the restaurant’s hottest sauce in less than six minutes.

Those who accomplish the feat earn a spot on the “Wall of Fame” at the front of the store, along with a free “Blazin’” t-shirt.

“I love the energy. The stadium-style that we try and provide, you feel it,” Bronzini said. “On game days, on every day. It’s allowing people to have their personalities. When you’re in a stadium, the energy is just unbelievable, the towels are swinging and people are pumped up. That’s what it is every day when you walk in this building.”


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