Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

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magnus392
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Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby magnus392 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:11 am

Yeah, been thinking about it for a while. I have a question, it takes so long to smoke stuff...simply how could I smoke stuff over night and still get some kind of sleep? Probably gonna build a pit out of a 250gal propane tank, just can't afford to start a business off buying a large commercial smoker. It would be a one man operation for the most part with some help from the wifey. I am looking to keep it fairly simple below is what I am thinking of as a menu.

Brisket-sliced, chopped sammiches
Pork Butt-pulled sammiches
Links
Beans
Potato Salad

Ribs as a special one day a week...maybe? I haven't decided on pork, beef or both.

What says the collective?
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby OldUsedParts » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:39 am

I've often wondered myself, how the good "Joints" make it all come out at the right time and serve it to the customer, tasty and fresh.

I myself would never want to go into the food serving business because the public is pretty fickle when it comes to loyalty for local Mom and Pop Joints, however, I do know that one of the most important factors is "LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION"

GOOD LUCK with whatever you decide,
OUP
OUP

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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby RWBTEX » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:25 am

OldUsedParts wrote:I've often wondered myself, how the good "Joints" make it all come out at the right time and serve it to the customer, tasty and fresh.

I myself would never want to go into the food serving business because the public is pretty fickle when it comes to loyalty for local Mom and Pop Joints, however, I do know that one of the most important factors is "LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION"

GOOD LUCK with whatever you decide,
OUP


Everything OUP said is correct.
Its not as easy as it looks or sounds although it is doable. Jan 2008 I bought a small Mexican food restaurant and started slowly adding bbq, chicken first then ribs then brisket. By the end of 08 I needed some help cooking as It took too much time away from the customer contact and the cash box for me. Though things were finally taking off, sales were good and consistent and slightly profitable. Hired a guy I had know a while that always bragged about how good he was at Qing. I showed him the pit and exactly what and how I did everything (training) first day. Second day I left him alone and he totally ruined all the meat, burnt. That was the beginning of the end. The economy was going down fast, 8 new restaurants had opend in my area since I bought mine, the cooks sometimes screwed up and sometimes didnt show up, cashiers stole money, waiters and dishwashers stole food or gave it way free. By the third quarter of 09 I was tracking a 90 grand loss for the year so I gave it a few more weeks and in the meantime I put it up for sale on craigslist, was fortunate that someone came and bought me out. When the dust settled and all the taxes, and baloney was paid I stll lost the 90g's on my little venture.

Not trying to dicourage you just saying that its alot of work, more than most people think. You have to have somewhere to store the meat and all else. You have to prep it all, cook it all, keep it all warm to health dept codes, clean it all up each day and start over.
One man show? Really? Your gonna hate to bbq very quickly like that. Remember that your handling cash, one the dirtiest thing in the world and then handling peoples food too. BBQ is really tough because it has to be all pre-cooked, how much do you start with? What do you do with the left overs? Do not ever sell reheated bbq, no matter what anyone says, its not the same. BBQ has to be just right or they wont come back and you will have a bad reputation to boot. I have seen alot of "one man shows" around here, they last all of about three weeks in most cases.

Having said all that I will say that operating the restaurant was the most fun thing I have ever done in my carreer and I enjoyed most of it overall but its hard to do, its a very big commitment of time and money and service. I would highly recommend you get a couple of people to help you to start out, wife is good but you may need one more. I think there are a couple guys on the "National BBQNEWS" forum that have owned and operated restaurants that have way more experience and advice than me, you may try asking for help there and other forums too.

I think a mobile operation is the best way to start out and see if your "cut out" for that kind of work and lifestyle. Try to find a good used one, many many people have started the same way and there are alot of them for sale on craigslist and ebay. If it all is too much, youre not bound to a lease and all the other stuff that goes with a restaurant. If it takes off and you love it you may want to go ahead and go into the restaurant biz, but it takes a lot of ca$h to get the ball rolling there.
Catering is a god way to make good money bbqing and a great way to develop a clientel, there is little or no watse and you know exactly how much to prepare and serve and you can pick and choose your jobs as well.

Whatever you do good luck and I truly wish you the best. I still want to get back into the biz and am working on a plan as we speak as well but this time I'm gonna do things a little smarter due to experience.

God bless ya man.
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby Gator » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:09 am

One man show = no sleep + you going to need some type of auto-magic smoker...maybe you could come up with a limited operating hours place, but that in itself has limited income potential.

Why not catering instead? You, your wife + maybe a temp helper or 2 could do that much easier, IMO.
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby txngent » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:33 am

You will find a lot of businesses are working the meat off rotation. IE: Your serving meat is meat that was smoked the day or two before. Meat seasoned.... fridge.... smoker.... fridge.... smoker to heat... serve.
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby 3 star redneck » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:04 pm

BBq shack in texas? You realize theres one on every street corner? You better have a huge operating budget....cause its extermely exspensive to get started, and to market your product.....ive known quite a few to try this concept and only 2 have made it...and both in a world of debt......Just think I about it.....
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby txngent » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:40 pm

darn Jeff... guessing you don't teach "inspirational support" in your class? :twisted:

Hard words to hear, however true to the core. Starting any business much less a BBQ joint in these economic days, you either need to be a foreigner with one of many great GRANTS from our Government or have a huge nest egg. General rule of thumb is to have 6 months of bill payments set aside.
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby 3 star redneck » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:31 pm

txngent wrote:darn Jeff... guessing you don't teach "inspirational support" in your class? :twisted:

.



:lol: Thanks Randy....not trying to be mean, but really...really...no I dont teach it......its all bout actuality.... :lol: :lol: :wink:
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby RWBTEX » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:02 pm

Restaurants are the #1 failure business in Texas btw. Something like only 2% actually succeed.
Most people (including myself previously) do not have a clue how much work it is.
The thing I did not like the most is having to open on weekends, thats just the way it is. Weekends are your most profitable days. The first 8 months I started the fire between 5 and 6 am. 7 days a week. The bummer was that I missed alot of family time and fun time with the extended family, mothers days, fathers days ect. and only was off most of one day during that time. It was on my dads funeral. That day I stopped in just passing on the way home and caught my cashier stealing $500.00, she wasnt expecting me. She was my most trusted employee at the time.

Again it is doable and can be fun but it is a commitment and a serious one. My employees used to ask over and over if we were closing this day or that day and other than Christmas the answer was no. I always told them, we are a service business and we chose to be in this business, it is a chosen lifestyle, some people are okay with it. I would tell them if they wanted to be off all the time to go get a bank or government job.
Restaurant business is not a normal life, when everyone else is packing up to go to the beach or the mall, you are already at work for four or five hours.

I hate working weekends.
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby HarvestMoon » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:32 pm

I read this somewhere: "If you want to make a small fortune in the Restaurant business, first start will a very large fortune."
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby txngent » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:36 pm

If I was going to do it.... I would make it mobile. Keep it clean, legal, and make it just darn good. If you are the real deal, folks will find you. Some people I know make a lot of cash doing it. They say they make more doing it this way than when they had a store front. They tell me that they just gave me the best financial advice being that they had to find out the more expensive way! :shock:

@ Jeff... Bro... you know that I know you and your schoolin' is the real deal. Just making sure you know I wasn't giving you a jab... "Just saying". :angel1:
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby 3 star redneck » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:39 pm

txngent wrote:@ Jeff... Bro... you know that I know you and your schoolin' is the real deal. Just making sure you know I wasn't giving you a jab... "Just saying". :angel1:



Its all good my q brutha.... :coolnana: :coolnana:
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby bracketracer » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:22 pm

First, let me say I have no experience in the restaurant business....other than eating there! An employee of the car dealership I work at got laid off and decided to go into the BBQ business. He bought a big trailer and all the equipment. I heard he spent in excess of 50k upfront. He planned to go to the fairs and festivals in the area and do lunches on a busy street here in town. Only problem was he bought a trailer 24' long (28' overall). The festivals here do not allow more than a 20' trailer for food service. Oops! Can't go there. He has a good business a few days a week selling lunches and he does do catering also. He advertises the catering heavily for the reasons others have stated, but he had to attract a following before anyone wanted him to cater their event. If you live in a highly populated area, I saw on TV where some mobile food vendors would gather people's contact info and tweet out their location a few hours before lunchtime so folks could find them as they moved around the city. Seemed like a good idea to me! Stephen
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby magnus392 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:15 am

Thanks for the feedback guys keep it coming.

How do the big commercial installed pits run all night without constant attention?

I have done a few events for friends/business acquaintances and catering will probably be the stepping stone. I am not looking to launch tomorrow, just in the knowledge seeking phase.
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Re: Thinking of starting a BBQ Shack

Postby HarvestMoon » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:13 am

Most BBQ rants are using one of these three smokers:
Oyler Pits
Ole Hickory Pits
Southern Pride Smokers

or they have a Guru Controller or a Stroker connected to their pit.
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