Guest Post: My Buffalo Wild Wings Rant


David BurkusOne of the great benefits of blogging is that you get to connect with people you would never meet in real life. David Burkus of the LeaderLab is providing this blog with his second guest post. If you want to read more from David, check out his previous guest post Lost in Definition or visit his website at the LeaderLab  So for the second time around, I am proud to introduce David Burkus this time eating buffalo wings….

My Buffalo Wild Wings Rant

(or, on the folly of rewarding A while hoping for A).

Do you guys have email addresses?” our waitress asked. It was Thursday, and I was partaking in 60-cent Boneless Wings Day. After delivering a sarcastic “No” I asked why she was asking. She wanted us to enroll in the Buffalo Circle Loyalty Program. No, she didn’t want us to…BWW did. Most restaurants have some variation on “offer a free $4 appetizer on your birthday in exchange for attacking you with spam” programs. Our waitress didn’t seem too interested in gaining our email so I asked, “What do you get out of it?

I get a ticket for each person enrolled, and every week we have a raffle. The winner gets out of clean up duty.

Suddenly, I figured out why she wasn’t interested.

In a perfect world, employees would be perfectly matched to their job. Every manager would be a leader and leaders would inspire and engage their employees by reminding them how their job ties into a larger mission. But sometimes you just need wings delivered to table eight. Those jobs call for transactional leadership, a.k.a., incentives. It’s a standard rule of organizational psychology: that which gets measured gets done; rewarded gets done better (or more often). Expectancy theory tells us incentives work when task performance is easily related to the reward, and the reward is desired. But if you make the incentive too complex, or one no one cares about, the system falls apart.

You get waitresses who don’t care if I become a member of the hallowed Buffalo Circle.

So what should Buffalo Wild Wings do? Pay for performance: a dollar for each enrollee. Or force rank employees: everyone gets a percentage in tip share equal to their percentage of enrollees. There are many different incentive solutions that would simply tie performance to reward.

A raffle tickets is not one of them.

David Burkus
editor | LeaderLab

More from my site

1 Comment on "Guest Post: My Buffalo Wild Wings Rant"

  1. I think you need to go into restaurant management in leadership there and not just eating the wings.

    Your premise is correct but I am sure that they have had several hundred different things to involve staff it something that they should want to do without incentives.

    Budgets are tight. Budgets are insanely tight in all businesses. They will have another type incentive soon for a new dessert, new meal etc and it continues.

    You are looking at just one. Project your ideas versus all BWW employees over that time period in each idea and think how that hits the bottom line.

    Better yet, just do it on the store level versus the 150 at the store, so you can look at how which item you would choose that you have budget money for, if you have any budgeted for incentives in this period or quarter.

    I look forward to that. While I enjoy the trivia and the wings at my nearby BWW which I am a member of the Circle for several years.
    Hank recently posted..JaxStateFan- RT @NBC13- Jay Lenos Miss coast show to benefit fishermen- Jay Leno will be doing standup to help the Gulf Coast http-bitly-cjD2an

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Bret L Simmons

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


CommentLuv badge