PHCP: If we went to a happy hour, what would you order?
David: I would probably have a nice, bourbon… neat! I’m a simple guy, no ice. Nothing but some nice old bourbon!
PHCP: What are some of the new events happening outside the office in your personal life?
David: My wife and I just had a baby! We met bartending about 18 years ago and really learned each other’s ins and outs and eventually got married. She gave birth about three months ago to our baby girl, Avery, and we’re starting a whole new chapter in life. These first three months are almost a blur and the days and weeks just kind of happen but it’s an exciting time!
PHCP: If you had all the money in the world to spend, what kind of vacation would you plan?
David: My wife and I went on a safari in South Africa and we’ve been wanting to go back. We’re not sure how or when but I think that would be right at the top of the list. To be out there and realize how small you are especially when a lion or elephant gets within 30 feet of you…it’s crazy! We were able to camp outside where each “tent” has its own splash pool and chef onsite making your daily meals. It was truly incredible! (Side-note: PHCP taught David this is called “glamping”). The beverage part of me truly enjoyed having an amazing view every afternoon with the host setting up a bar in the bush to make us gin and tonics and serve Biltong jerky (made from various elk). It was the most wonderful happy hour I’ve ever been to!
PHCP: What does “hospitality” mean to you?
David: Hospitality means always taking care of friends and family. If you’re in the business, that’s what your guests and consumers become and you should treat them that way. Growing up in a life of hospitality, I have always said it’s a great thing to have gone through because you get to understand people and their culture, wants and needs. Another big thing about hospitality is putting others' needs first while learning about yourself and being humble.
PHCP: Tell me about how you got into your line of work?
David: My first job was flipping burgers and frying chicken at Roy Rogers which was at a biking distance from my house at 16. I always liked the idea of restaurants, so I worked there and had a great time doing it. During school, I started working at TGI Friday’s and that’s where beverage became my passion. I continued my career working for Champps as a bartender and then onto the management operations team in the DC/Maryland District. While I was playing hockey as a hobby, one of my friend’s playing asked me if would ever consider coming over to the supplier side. I told him yes and ended up interviewing with Heineken and working with them as an on-premise sales rep and eventually on the national accounts team and running customer marketing in NY for a while. Finally, I was fortunate enough to get into Buffalo Wild Wings and back onto the retail side of it which is where I am today.
PHCP: So, you played hockey? We must ask, what was your position?
David: I always played defense. Being tall I can skate backward and always loved the aspect of being the playmaker and seeing the play develop in front of you. I like to be behind the team and be the strategist guy.
PHCP: What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
David: I think it goes back to always being the strategist and knowing a lot about various categories (e.g. beer, spirits, and mixology). My strengths happen to be in this role. When you surround yourself with great people that are experts in their field, you mold a team that can together take things over with a win and that’s what I like doing. From a people development standpoint, that includes coaching and seeing what the next steps are. Additionally, having those people on the team that can execute and have a passion for their specific parts and bringing that together to have that wholistic team.
PHCP: Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
David: My background in customer marketing and working alongside a lot of national chains taught me a lot. It built up my muscles for insight development, and I think that’s a big one for me. I think that’s something I took a lot of pride in and that’s what I brought to each job and getting to the next level. My advice is to dig deeper and find the insight you can take action on. Coming on board with Buffalo Wild Wings allows me the opportunity to work with beverage partners and help them find their insights about us. In return, we can help with their brands, especially as we make this shift to becoming a great American sports bar and separating ourselves from casual dining. Together, we find insights along the way about our guests and understand them a little better as a team!
PHCP: What is your favorite part about your job?
David: I’ve always had a passion for being in the restaurant business. To me, it doesn’t feel like work being on-premise and around beverages – it’s the perfect combination of growing a business and being able to put your creativity and stamp on things. When you create a drink that gets placed on the menu and people can order it…it’s a great feeling. For example, when an artist creates a painting or sculpture and someone buys it and puts it in their house, that’s how I feel when people buy something off the menu from our bartenders and it brings happiness or enjoyment to them. That’s what it’s all about!
Category: Client Love