Building the Future of Experiential Dining & Managing Partner, Amp Up1 Hospitality Management Group
Aaron Sagendorf was born and raised in upstate New York, a region where bowling is part recreation and part religion. Not surprisingly, his love for bowling started at a young age as he was naturally drawn to the community culture in his hometown. Aaron spent his teen years working in bowling alleys learning from some of the industry’s best bowling mechanics and proprietors in traditional bowling houses. In his free time, Aaron coached bowlers in leagues and honed the skills of his own game.
While visiting Boston with friends in 2010, Aaron stumbled upon a fairly new upscale “boutique bowling” concept and was immediately drawn to the unique design and alluring décor. He inquired about a position and, after meeting the leadership team, he was motivated to move to Boston to join the growing company.
Aaron’s immediate focus was learning the culture and absorbing all information and the many differences between his new establishment and a traditional bowling house. Having worked previously in a culture where high volume bowling machine usage was the norm, Aaron began to see how his unique knowledge and experience could be helpful and how his opinion was trusted. Quickly recognized for his talent and skill set, Aaron was empowered to implement systems and routines to improve the operations. Having only 16 lanes in his first location, Aaron knew that any downtime had an adverse impact on the guest experience and set out to eliminate downtime by creating and fostering preventative maintenance systems and training procedures within the company.
As the concept continued to grow, Aaron accepted the challenge and accompanied the team in assisting with the opening a new location, which at the time was in a new market with a new team who needed a dedicated leadership team ready to help them grow and prove the brand. Aaron was able to assist in recruiting efforts as well as training and implementing the systems he had been refining throughout his time with the company. Always the consummate hard worker and professional, Aaron was fully ingrained in the culture and the expansion of the concept and had an important hand in each location from that point forward (11 in total).
Having set a standard for success, Aaron was promoted to Director of Safety & Facility Management for the entire company. His new role would entail the direct oversight of all facilities management, gaming, and maintenance for all locations. Aaron was directly involved in helping build and evolve the gaming program for the company and worked with his Regional Safety, Facility, and Gaming Managers to develop safety programs and a comprehensive training program for the dozens of technicians in the company. In total, Aaron was responsible for nearly 300 thousand square feet of property in 5 states as well as the warehouse where he and his team would rebuild machines, games, motors, and ship out inventory to the locations.
Aaron’s journey reunites him with a passionate group of leaders at AMP Up1 Hospitality
and his incredible set of tools (both literally and figuratively) are a cornerstone of the company’s successful future. His input on gaming, facility, and equipment layouts are crucial to the growth and successful setup of eatertainment concept Kenekt’s
new locations. Aaron will play a large part of all decisions with gaming and equipment choices in each building, working closely with vendors to find the perfect mix of bowling machines, retro arcade games, low-tech games, and several of the new entertainment options that will be part of the Kenekt brand.
Aaron has helped to develop a proprietary guide at Amp Up1 that allows him to analyze the square footage of a location and optimize the space allocated for gaming, furthering his passion for providing the guests with what they want, while improving sales per square foot. On top of this, Aaron has innovated safety by implementing several incredible changes into the design of the building. Aaron and his team have studied every aspect of the guest gaming journey and through research and development are able to make subtle changes that have a big impact on reducing friction.
Aaron’s relationship with the dozens of “vendor partners” he works with to build and maintain the complex facilities is legendary. He will always credit these vendors as a pillar for him and his team's success. Aaron and his team consistently operate below their department budget for the maintenance of the facilities and their machines, but you rarely see a machine down or an “out of order sign” posted. Between the “help desk” process Aaron and his crew have developed and the communication protocol he puts in place, he and his team pride themselves in always keeping the machine running smoothly. Aaron will often say, “if it’s broke, fix it”, followed by “figure why it broke and how we can avoid this from happening again”. This mentality shaped a culture of proud craftsmanship among the team.
One of Aaron’s stand out attributes, besides his unmatched integrity and work ethic, has been his passion for safety. Ask any technician who has worked with Aaron what their most important job is and you will hear the same answer from each - “Always working Safe”. Working with large machines and as many moving parts as the mechanics at Kenekt - each one will be sure to know the company’s passion for ensuring personal safety at all times as he places this as a foundational value that is a non-negotiable and truly becomes part of the culture.
As bowling is an important part of the gaming mix at Kenekt, the technicians are the unsung heroes of the operation. Being a technician takes a special kind of person who has patience, focus, and the ability to solve problems, multi-task, fix and maintain heavy machinery, and troubleshoot any issues that come up small and large, all while maintaining safety standards. Being in charge of massive buildings and everything inside of it is not an easy task, but the technicians are what keep it all running. Aaron’s ability to recruit, train, and empower these future leaders of our company is something that makes Aaron a stand out leader in the organization. Under Aaron’s leadership and mentorship, he had industry-low turnover and incredible development. His team learns every day as he commits time to their personal development. Among Aaron’s proudest achievements are promoting and developing Assistant Facility Managers, Head Mechanics, Regional Facilities Managers, and more. Those who work under Aaron are, by no coincidence, a group of passionate and self-sufficient leaders who care about the business and each other.
Aaron’s role at Amp Up1 Hospitality Management Group will be overseeing facilities, equipment, safety, gaming, “rolling” out new locations along with training and mentoring leaders and dynamic teams. Aaron’s biggest focus outside of safety will be “innovation” as Aaron is a true and talented innovator. Whether it be with games, processes, build-outs, people, or sales, this man has a talent for listening, reflecting, digesting, and taking action to take a seedling of an idea, no matter how crazy, and making it a polished reality. The culture of teamwork and the passion for “Kaizen” improvement and always looking for a better system has been Aaron’s focus and what makes him a stand out Executive Leader and Partner in the AMP Up1 organization.
When Aaron is not working, you can find Aaron working at home, fixing up an old car, perfecting his video gaming rig or scouting the next great spot for Karaoke.