Karim Webb and Edward Barnett of PCF Management have accomplished what other businessmen would have been hesitant to even attempt. The pair have opened a Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in the Crenshaw District of Baldwin Hills, California. To give you an idea of the magnitude of PFC’s phenomenal accomplishment, when you start typing “Crenshaw District” into Google, the first two suggestions that come up are “Crenshaw District Shooting” and “Crenshaw District Crime.” But this was not a deterrent, it was more of an incentive. As role model, mentor, and acclaimed action sports commentator Sal Masekela might have said, Webb and Barnett are eliminating circumstance and replacing it with opportunity. In other words, they are making a difference.
Examiner.com was lucky enough to get a chance to ask this visionary duo a few questions about what they do.
Examiner.com: When you opened a Buffalo Wild Wings in Baldwin Hills, California, were you looking to create a revolutionary new business model or were you just looking to open a new restaurant?
PCF Management: We were looking to open a restaurant and deliver a first class dining experience in a community that has been underserved for years. We were also looking to provide training and employment opportunities for the young people in the communities we serve. We are one of a handful of African-Americans from our generation who actually are owners/operators of a national restaurant brand. We want to take this platform and hopefully inspire our generation and the next to see the importance of ownership and the positive effects it will have on the community as a whole.
Examiner.com: Is there anything unique about a restaurant model that makes this work? In other words, do you think you’d have the same success with a different type of business in the same location?
PCF: We believe the success of your business has a lot to do with the product or service you are providing. If that product or service isn’t in demand, you will not be successful regardless of the location. For example, our Baldwin Hills location is doing very well, however the space was formerly a Hollywood Video! Technology has rapidly evolved and changed how people choose to rent movies. The vast majority of people rent and view movies online via Netflix, Hulu, etc. instead of going to physical locations to rent movies. Location wasn’t the reason for Hollywood Video’s demise, it was because they no longer had a viable business model to meet the customer’s demand.
All in all, there are other casual dining concepts that could have worked, however we’re pleased we chose to bring Buffalo Wild Wings to the Crenshaw District. Buffalo Wild Wings is the fastest growing and most successful concept within its segment, so by bringing Buffalo Wild Wings, we brought the best.
Examiner.com: What do you look for when you are hiring? What would be your ideal candidate who would get the most out of this work situation?
PCF: High integrity, hard working and a willingness to learn. We look for candidates who understand the opportunity they are being presented and will make the most of it. At Buffalo Wild Wings, they aren’t just getting a job at a restaurant, employees will be taught valuable skills that are transferable to any work environment. From learning the principals of operations to marketing tactics and finance, we go the extra mile to teach our team members the business of running a restaurant. We are also in a growth mode; there is tremendous opportunity for the candidate who seizes the opportunity.
Examiner.com: What is it about your background and your upbringing that makes this such an ideal situation for you?
PCF: Well, Karim grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and Edward has a background in finance. However, more important is our passion for making a difference for disadvantaged youth. Our location on Crenshaw Boulevard is a platform from which we can engage the youths in the community. This passion was instilled at a young age by our parents and has carried through in everything we do.
Examiner.com: Do you find the kids are eager to move beyond their situations, or do they initially fight you in any way?
PCF: Kids want to know you genuinely care and want to help. Many of them have gone through so much and seen so many things at such a young age and can pick up quickly on what is real and want is not. Most of these kids have never been exposed to positive role models that look like them that they can have a personal connection with. All they know is the 2.5 square mile radius in which they live, which often isn’t a positive situation. Thankfully, most of them want to do right, better themselves and their situation. There just hasn’t been someone in their life to show them how. We are going to be that someone who shows them how.
Examiner.com: Do you see this working in other inner cities or is there something unique about this particular location that makes it successful?
PCF: Our approach is valid anywhere. It is an approach that says: let’s agree on why we are here and for all of us to serve our community (customers) at the highest level. To make that happen, we (ownership, team members, and management) need to commit to maintaining a positive and productive workplace. A work culture that sets clear expectations, trains effectively to meet those requirements, measures results, and rewards execution.
Examiner.com: Do you see yourself opening more Buffalo Wild Wings. Will they be located in other cities around the country?
PCF: Yes, we will open more Buffalo Wild Wings. At this time, however, they will be primarily in the Southern California area.
Examiner.com: Does it have to be a Buffalo Wild Wings or would other restaurants have the same potential for success?
PCF: We are always open to exploring opportunities to grow as long as they compliment what we are already doing. A large part of our success has come from how we respect, train, and include our team members. It doesn’t have to be a Buffalo Wild Wings in particular, but it does have to fill a demand within the area.
Examiner.com: Did it surprise you that you were able to make both a difference and a profit?
PCF: It didn’t surprise us at all that we could make a profit. We were giving the community something they didn’t have and wanted.
If you now have an irresistible craving for wings, you can visit Webb and Barnett’s Buffalo Wild Wings at www.lawildwings.com.