KEYSER - The Kelley Society will be inducting two Keyser High School graduates into the Legion of Honor next month.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Kelley Society will be inducting two Keyser High School graduates into the Legion of Honor next month.
Business entrepreneur Bobby Pancake and long-time U.S. Department of State employee Mildred Leatherman will be honored during the annual banquet to be held Friday, April 3, in the Davis Conference Center at Potomac State College.
For Pancake, being raised on a 1,500-acre dairy farm in New Creek instilled the values, morals and work ethic that proved to be the catalyst to his success in business.
Pancake says it all started with a part-time job as a cook and chicken cutter at Kentucky Fried Chicken. He ultimately spent 10 years with KFC, working his way up to regional manager. A five-year stint as senior director of company operations for Roasters Corporation, the franchisor for Kenny Rogers Roasters, followed before the critical move to Cincinnati in 1997 to join Buffalo Wild Wings.
While at BWW, Inc., he moved to the headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was promoted to senior director of company operations and oversaw 80 restaurants in 13 states, reporting directly to the company’s CEO, Sally Smith.
Bobby met Steve Wheat while working for Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. Steve was the local store marketing manager and they spent many business trips discussing their dream of starting their own restaurant and developing their business plan. At the time, the franchise was in the process of transitioning from a local wing joint targeting college campuses to today’s national model of a suburban, family-oriented sports bar and grill.
In 2003, the pair was introduced to Thom Kreusch, a developer and serial entrepreneur from Dayton, Ohio, and they decided to partner up and become franchisees of the growing brand.
Their timing was perfect. In the past 20 years Buffalo Wild Wings has grown from less than 50 restaurants to more than 1,300 locations worldwide. Pancake and Wheat (High 5 Hospitality, LLC) own the development rights for the entire state of Delaware and three counties in Maryland.
Success has not been without its adversities. Within six weeks of opening the first restaurant, Kreusch died unexpectedly. It was a huge personal setback for the entrepreneurs.
Since opening the first sports bar in 2004, High 5 Hospitality has expanded to over 650 employees, and operates eight BWW locations in Delaware and Maryland. They introduced the Buffalo Wild Wings brand with the first sports bar on the East Coast. H5H also operate two independent restaurants, The Stone Balloon and Limestone BBQ & Bourbon. In 2019, H5H became an international franchisee of a breakfast concept called Eggspectation with a June opening in Christiana, Delaware. H5H continues to vet out partnerships and additional franchise and independent brands for future expansion.
They have received accolades for their accomplishments along the way. In 2005, they were named New Franchisee of the Year by BWW, Inc. In 2009, Bobby received the Founders Award from Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., recognizing the individual who best personifies the vision, enthusiasm, work ethic and humility of the chain’s late founder, Jim Disbrow. The SBA honored High 5, LLC in 2010 as the National Entrepreneur Success Award winner. In June of 2010, on an invitation from President Obama, the business partners traveled to The White House and met with the President in the oval office to discuss small business.
Their most recent recognition came in November, when the Delaware Restaurant Association named the pair as Restaurateurs of the Year for 2011.
Bobby serves on the board of directors for The Delaware Restaurant Association (chairman–2014-2015) and Franchise Business Services (FBS). He is chair of the Culinary Advisory Committee for the Delaware Department of Corrections. He serves on the Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Advisory Council (BWWFAC), participating in two subcommittees (Fixed Assets and Restaurant Operations/Execution). He is a civic leader with for USAF Air Mobility Command.
Bobby and his wife Heather reside in Bear, Delaware. They have two sons in college and a daughter who is a sophomore at Red Lion Christian Academy. Bobby’s oldest son, Levi, is a pastor in Syracuse, New York.
The Legion of Honor banquet will get underway at 6 p.m. April 3, and tickets are $20.
Tickets are available at Keyser High School, Coldwell Banker in Keyser, or by contacting any Kelley Society member.