Buffalo Wild Wings manager: “For sports fanatics out there, this is the place to make it happen”

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 8, 2017

By Jessica Coates

SALISBURY — Karl Gaukstern said that, although Buffalo Wild Wings has almost 1,300 stores across the country and internationally, he doesn’t consider the restaurant a chain.

“I see us as a community restaurant. And, yes, we’re blessed to have these amazing TVs and this amazing ambiance, but it’s the people, the community that make your restaurant up. And, when you get great people that work for you, you’re going to flourish just like a winning team,” Gaukstern said.

The idea of having a “winning team” is a popular concept for the sports-themed restaurant. Gaukstern said that there is an emphasis put on having important games and matches — whether they be football, soccer, baseball or UFC fighting — on every television.

Servers and hosts also wear jerseys and have a “team” mentality, Gaukstern said.

“It’s amazing to have that energy because that’s what sports are about. You have energy and you feel like you follow your team, whether that be the Panthers or USA men’s soccer or women’s soccer,” Gaukstern said. “You get a lot of passion and that passion has to be shown in the service but also in the quality of the food that we give to our guests.”

Gaukstern said that, when guests come into the restaurant, they can choose what game they want on the nearest available wall-mounted television.

But, he said, there are also things on the walls that are unique to Salisbury.

“We have local jerseys from some of our local high schools and colleges. And, when we first came a couple of months back, setting up the restaurant, we reached out to some of the local high schools and colleges and anybody who had an interest to post one of their jerseys. And I think it gives it more of that community (feel),” Gaukstern said.

Gaukstern said that, in the first few days, the restaurant has had a “huge” response from the community.

Rowan Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding said that, when the restaurant opened Oct. 2, there was a line out the door.

“Buffalo Wild Wings is a wonderful new addition to our business community,” Spalding said. “They are providing over 100 new jobs; they have embraced the local schools with sports jerseys on the walls; and they joined the Rowan Chamber.”

In addition to being a part of the business community, Gaukstern said that he wants to be part of the larger community as well.

“We did reach out to some of the elementary schools — local schools within our community — about a program for the students and just rewarding the kids,” he said. “And it’s a great program to reward children not just scholastically but based upon what that school would like to do. Maybe it has to do with perfect attendance or maybe it is improving the number of books they read.”

Gaukstern said that Buffalo Wild Wings also has a program — Eat Wings, Raise Funds — that allows businesses to apply online for the chance to hold fundraisers at a Buffalo Wild Wings location. Gaukstern said that 10 percent of the proceeds for the event go to the organization.

“The community is there for us and we need to be there for the community,” he said.

Gaukstern also said that he is not done hiring. The restaurant currently employs 105 people.

“If we believe you can do the job, we’re going to give you that chance and opportunity to be part of the Buffalo Wild Wings family,” he said.

To apply, Gaukstern said that those interested could go to buffalowildwings.com and click on “careers.”

The Salisbury Buffalo Wild Wings is located at 1519 E. Innes St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

The restaurant can be reached at 704-636-0290.

And, Gaukstern said, “for sports fanatics out there, this is the place to make it happen.”

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.