Building a Legacy – The Buffalo Construction, Inc. Difference
By Scott A. Gregor, President and CEO, Buffalo Construction, Inc.
Looking back over the past 25 years, Buffalo Construction, Inc. has had many accomplishments, including starting as a small contractor and growing into the medium-large contractor we are today. However, the relationship we have with our team, and the work ethic of our Herd, is what stands out as our most significant accomplishment to date, as we celebrate 25 years in the industry.
At Buffalo Construction, Inc., we have an environment where team members have embraced our core values – celebration, commitment, compassion and continuous improvement. We are committed to doing the right thing no matter what for our team and our vendor and client partners, and not only believe in our teammates, but we empower and invest in them, which is why there’s a level of dedication that is unmatched when you look at other construction companies. We support one another and make sure those in the field get what they need to succeed. And we’re all so proud when we see a project come to fruition where we can say, “The Herd did that.”
So how did it all begin? I was in the right place, at the right time, when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself about a decade after I entered the construction industry.
The Beginning of Buffalo Construction, Inc.
My career had started right after high school, and I was eager to jump into construction as a laborer. I later moved to the owner side at age 19, where I was hiring general contractors as an owner’s rep for a restaurant company out in California. Fast-forward 11 years, I was in Charlotte, North Carolina, to be closer to my family when I received the call that changed everything.
Kent Taylor, the founder of Texas Roadhouse, was on the line and looking for a construction guy to help build his restaurants. He had roughly 15 restaurants at the time and wanted to meet about helping them build more. So, there in the Charlotte airport, as he was casually passing through in his shorts, flip flops and sunglasses, I had my first interview with Kent, and you could say the rest is history. After a second interview, I landed the job, and Buffalo Construction, Inc. was officially born. It was March 10, 1997 – the beginning of our Herd and the start of something exceptional.
Continued Growth During a Changing Industry
After a year and a half of building restaurants for Texas Roadhouse, we knew it was time to begin creating other restaurant concepts to continue growing as a company. I didn’t have a clear vision for the company starting out, but I wanted to ensure we always took care of our team. From inception, I’ve always said, “We’re not a construction company; we’re a relationship company.” As we grew quickly, one thing never changed over the years, and that was our commitment to supporting our team and providing opportunities for them and their families.
That path hasn’t always been easy. During the past 25 years, the construction industry has changed tremendously, forcing us to adapt every step of the way. We survived the financial crisis of 2008 and then the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Today, the industry is dealing with a labor challenge that makes this an entirely different business. But what has helped Buffalo Construction, Inc. stand out during trying times is how we’ve been able to pivot our business to understand what those challenges are and to do something different today than we did yesterday.
Gone are the days when there were plentiful materials and more labor than we knew what to do with. That’s where project planning has proven to be extremely important over the past five years – identifying a project as a scope, the threats and resources along the way, and trying to be proactive rather than reactive. While I admit that we were very reactive in the early years of Buffalo Construction, Inc., as we’ve grown, we’ve become more proactive in understanding where we are in our projects and what we need to do to get to the finish line. As we constantly pivot in this changing industry, accountability has been crucial for ensuring continued success.
Offering More Services – the Addition of Design-Build
While most people likely associate us as a “restaurant contractor,” and that certainly is where we got our start, there’s more to our story and what we’re now able to offer our client partners.
From 2013 to 2014, Buffalo Construction, Inc. started diversifying market segments, and today, we’re focused on larger format projects or longer duration projects. While we’ll never get away from our core of restaurants, it’s been vital that we expand our services in terms of pre-construction, trying to get in as a general contractor on the front end of the design rather than on the back end of the bid.
I call it the third leg of the stool between the architects/engineers, owners, and then the contractors. All too often, projects get put together, and they are sent out to bid, where a construction company is selected, and suddenly, it’s a big discussion about how the project is over budget. What we are doing now is partnering with the owner and design team at the front end of the project. This allows us to not only add value in terms of budget development and project planning, but also lean into leveraging our expertise in build methods as we work with architects and engineers so that plans can be designed accordingly, and we can get to the end where everybody’s happy – the project is built on time to an agreed budget without sacrificing design.
This is a new addition we’ve been excited to offer our client partners, which continues to transform how Buffalo Construction, Inc. does business.
The Buffalo Difference
While we have many competitors that we think highly of and respect, I genuinely believe Buffalo Construction, Inc. stands out from the pack for several reasons. One thing that separates us from a lot of other companies is our lifetime warranty. We're so proud of the product that we put out that we're willing to confidently offer a lifetime warranty so that if we didn't do something right or something isn't holding up as it should, we live up to our promise to take care of it. I think that’s a little different than most in our industry, and I think it's one of those things that just gives us a leg up on competitors.
When people join our team, they also quickly see that we don’t put profit before fun or our relationships. We run an organization where we make our decisions around what I call “doing the right thing.” We make sure that we take care of our teammates and client partners, but at the end of the day, we like to have fun too. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we spread the opportunities and work around so that each teammate can also enjoy their life outside of work. We really believe in that family unit, and I think that’s one of the main reasons we’ve attracted and retained the best talent around.
Building a Lasting Legacy
To make it to 25 years is a considerable achievement, with many lessons learned along the way that have created a blueprint for how we operate. We’ve learned just how important it is to practice controlled growth so that we’re not taxing our teammates and have realized how important it is to communicate often to the team. Whether you are updating them on your company strategy or vision, it's essential that you be as transparent as possible and communicate often. I’ve come to believe over 25 years that you cannot communicate enough, and that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.
To make it to 25 years, you also have to have leaders willing to step up to take the company to different heights, and it makes me incredibly proud to see this at Buffalo Construction, Inc. I started Buffalo Construction, Inc. back in March of 1997 and I’m excited to see our future leaders get prepared to take the baton and prepare to step in to lead this company. Just to see and know that the legacy and the culture of Buffalo Construction, Inc. is going to continue is really what excites me and keeps me motivated.
I may have been the one that started this company, but it’s not just my run. What we do every day is for our teammates, and our teammates have aspirations to take the company to different levels and offer different styles and types of construction services. Through diversity and various market segments, we’ve been very fortunate to do things outside of just the restaurant construction world where we first got our start, and I’m just excited to see where it goes and how far it can go.
While I’ve been very fortunate to have partnered with Texas Roadhouse early on and to have some incredible client partners along the way, I couldn’t have done it without our teammates. I would say to them all and their families, thank you for being part of the Herd. Thank you for your commitment. Thanks for your belief in us. Thanks for sticking with us when there were hard times and being there to celebrate the good times. I could not have started and grown this company without the support and love of each of our teammates and, subsequently, their families behind them, and this anniversary is a massive achievement for us all.
The future is bright for our Herd.