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Observations on the Commercial and Catering sections!

 
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 13184
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24 10 11:29 pm    Post subject: Observations on the Commercial and Catering sections! Reply with quote

One of the things than most newbies want to know are the exact methods and techniques used by those that have either a commercial operation or cater for a living.

As newbies you have to understand that some of this information has taken years to acquire, and to ask for the detailed specifics may get you less answers the second time you ask for it than the first time, at other times you may get a full and complete answer as it could be something generally know to all cooks, chefs and caterers, or your grandmother may have know it as an old wives tale.

For the pro's, if it is possible to help and guide the newbies towards either the direct answer, or in such a way that you may shorten the learning curve, without giving away for free, all your hard earned information, where is the harm.

For the pro's with franchising in mind, I'm well aware that most franchising opportunities are set up to include the sale able information as well, but that some information that can be held as proprietary and not part of the franchise, this can then be supplied for a cost on a regular basis from the main store or restaurant.

You don't need to offer proprietary information if you don't want to, but if you can answer part of a question, please do so, if the question leads into areas you don't want to get into, just leave one more post stating that is getting into proprietary information areas, I'm sure most readers will understand the process, and if you want to refer back to this post, I'm sure that would be understood too!

The more we can guide and help new members the better chance they have of making wise choices to either go for it, or back off from an idea, those that are already successful and not going to become less successful in the same breath.

I'm positive that none of us want to have the competition set up next door but across the state or the nation can only increase the number of good BBQ places and increase the demand for more BBQ restaurants... isn't that what we want overall?
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Last edited by SoEzzy on Thu Feb 25 10 11:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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matt6150
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Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 141
Location: Mooresville, NC

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25 10 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Observations on the Commercial and Catering sections! Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:

I'm positive that none of us want to have the competition set up next door but across the state or the nation can only increase the number of good BBQ places and increase the demand for more BBQ restaurants... isn't that what we want overall?


This!

I understand how people can be protective of there secrets, esp. a rub or sauce recipe. But, c'mon is this site not here for learning and helping people out. You could copy someones recipes and techniques to a T and it probably wont be the same. Giving someone starting out ideas and successful techniques and practices will only help the BBQ industry grow to much higher quality establishments. Not only that but to help someones business grow and to provide more jobs to this unemployed country!
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cjschuckwagon
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Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 258
Location: northwest pa, but my heart is in avery california

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25 10 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it takes longer, but you can learn so much by trial and error...and having a guide thats been there is very valuable...no matter what anyone here says, you have to try it yourself...imho cj
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Harry Nutczak
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Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8562
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26 10 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think it is people not wanting to help, it is the ridicule and bashing they get from other members that keeps them from sharing, here is a classic smokering response that one can reasonably expect when they share information and some of the "less enlightened" are allowed to comment on it.
The same as Tony and a few others that are actually in the BBQ restaurant business, I have gone to using the PM system to offer help instead of putting out there on the forum for everyone to see and have their say.

Quote:
I will step up to the challenge and let you put those ribs before me.. And if I cant tell you what is fresh and what is reheated in about 15 seconds.. Well.. I just dont know but come one dude.. I am not some walk off the street that dont know crap about BBQ.. You honestly think I cant tell the difference between fresh and reheat..?? You got to have some voodoo magic reheating machine then I would say.

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Geronimo
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 2896
Location: Montgomery, Texas (and lovin' it)

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26 10 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually if truth be known, this forum is the FRIENDLIEST of any of them and I have been to many of them so I have seen this first hand.

I do agree however that (at times) things (feelings) can get out of hand from time to time but it HAS been better in the last few weeks. We can only hope it will continue that way.
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 13184
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26 10 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope that the fact that I was trying to look at it from both sides of the questions and answers comes through?

I want the newbies to be able to ask the questions, but also for them to understand that sometimes the answers they do get aren't going to be as complete as they may want.

I also wanted the pro's to be able to answer with as much or as little information, but also to be able to say, "I can't describe it all as that's proprietary information"! Or to be able to refer back to this thread and be able to give a nod to the reasons listed above.

All of this without anyone being or feeling slammed!
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BRBBQ
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Joined: 01 Mar 2008
Posts: 1294
Location: Council Bluffs, IA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26 10 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ask questions since I have a commercial smoker but not getting great results, easier to ask questions then shake my head and waste my crappy tasting Q..I wasn't born with BBQ knowledge thats for sure. I'm not located in the same state, city or town as most people responding, so no fear from me stealing your business. As far as secret rubs and spices, I can't taste any thing special when I do eat bbq out, some places gaurd this stuff like fort knox, again it's safe with me... Any way I appreciate all the help I can get.
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qfanatic01
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Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 764
Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02 10 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SoEzzy.

Restaurants and Catering are really two different animals. I have done both for over 20 years, restaurants for over 30 and I am a long ago graduate of the CIA (experience has taught me far more).

Catering is more exact and much easier to manage. One just has to learn from mistakes and be organized. There are always those unforeseen problems that need to be worked through. Experience helps make things smoother even when things do come up, which is true in all areas as well, no doubt. I might add, I couldn't see having a BBQ restaurant without catering or at least bulk take out.

A Restaurant means offering as consistent a product as possible, through out the day and is much more of a challenge. In a perfect world every restaurant would have freshly finished product coming out of the smoker at peek quality all day long or you could just sell out everything in the smoker and go home bills paid (some folks have built just such a business and I believe are the exception). Reality is, most have to hold or reheat. Or if there was a magic smoker that always made perfect Q, that could actually just manage everything and everyone could afford one. Unfortunately the world is not perfect and most of us don't have deep pockets and have to work with and manage with what we have. Besides dealing with the sometimes unreasonable city or HD and everything else.

You have to sell a ton of Q to pay for a new 200,000 dollar or more build out. A new restaurant is a big risk even for veterans. There are plenty of failed properties out there to be taken over for far less.

Even with the best food we can't dictate when customers are going to walk through our doors. This is where the real skills and maybe secrets come into play. Not only in the kitchen but marketing as well. I do the best I can to serve tasty quality food all day, every day because every customer is a critic. Success comes with pleasing most of them, no matter how you cook it, hold it, finish it. Every BBQ joint is a bit different and that's what makes BBQ the experience people will drive for. Most often your biggest reward is the comments of another happy customer. I always say " thanks, please post it online and tell your friends"

I also think more people jumping in might benefit from working with someone who is successful then starting from scratch. I have seen a few people lead astray, do your homework. I would much rather have someone use their resources to work with me to expand, than against me. I think that it is more likely to be a win win working together. This is a tough business in tough times! These days it doesn't matter how long you have been in it or open, things can go sour.

I think the biggest factor in being really successful is luck. To be really successful and not just getting by you have to be lucky enough to have the combination of skills, work ethic, money, location and timing. Unfortunately only a very few will be lucky enough to be able to create that perfect storm. I hope I can be that lucky and I wish the same for all of you.

Saturday was our best day ever! I am so grateful to have my wife and kids, especially my oldest son, working with me to make this possible.
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Last edited by qfanatic01 on Wed Mar 03 10 4:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SoEzzy
Site Admin


Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 13184
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02 10 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qfanatic01 wrote:
Thanks SoEzzy.

I might suggest splitting up Restaurants and Catering instead of commercial, because these are really two different animals. I have done both for over 20 years, restaurants for over 30 and I am a long ago graduate of the CIA (experience has taught me far more).


No problem, it was my intention to post a duplicate of this thread on the Catering section hence the title covers that fact, but for the most part the Catering section is the Catering section and the Commercial is the Restaurant section.
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Big Ron
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 2601
Location: Houston

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23 10 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qfanatic01 wrote:
Thanks SoEzzy.

Restaurants and Catering are really two different animals. I have done both for over 20 years, restaurants for over 30 and I am a long ago graduate of the CIA (experience has taught me far more).

Catering is more exact and much easier to manage. One just has to learn from mistakes and be organized. There are always those unforeseen problems that need to be worked through. Experience helps make things smoother even when things do come up, which is true in all areas as well, no doubt. I might add, I couldn't see having a BBQ restaurant without catering or at least bulk take out.

A Restaurant means offering as consistent a product as possible, through out the day and is much more of a challenge. In a perfect world every restaurant would have freshly finished product coming out of the smoker at peek quality all day long or you could just sell out everything in the smoker and go home bills paid (some folks have built just such a business and I believe are the exception). Reality is, most have to hold or reheat. Or if there was a magic smoker that always made perfect Q, that could actually just manage everything and everyone could afford one. Unfortunately the world is not perfect and most of us don't have deep pockets and have to work with and manage with what we have. Besides dealing with the sometimes unreasonable city or HD and everything else.

You have to sell a ton of Q to pay for a new 200,000 dollar or more build out. A new restaurant is a big risk even for veterans. There are plenty of failed properties out there to be taken over for far less.

Even with the best food we can't dictate when customers are going to walk through our doors. This is where the real skills and maybe secrets come into play. Not only in the kitchen but marketing as well. I do the best I can to serve tasty quality food all day, every day because every customer is a critic. Success comes with pleasing most of them, no matter how you cook it, hold it, finish it. Every BBQ joint is a bit different and that's what makes BBQ the experience people will drive for. Most often your biggest reward is the comments of another happy customer. I always say " thanks, please post it online and tell your friends"

I also think more people jumping in might benefit from working with someone who is successful then starting from scratch. I have seen a few people lead astray, do your homework. I would much rather have someone use their resources to work with me to expand, than against me. I think that it is more likely to be a win win working together. This is a tough business in tough times! These days it doesn't matter how long you have been in it or open, things can go sour.

I think the biggest factor in being really successful is luck. To be really successful and not just getting by you have to be lucky enough to have the combination of skills, work ethic, money, location and timing. Unfortunately only a very few will be lucky enough to be able to create that perfect storm. I hope I can be that lucky and I wish the same for all of you.

Saturday was our best day ever! I am so grateful to have my wife and kids, especially my oldest son, working with me to make this possible.


This is an excellent post. I have a quote for your -biggest factor is luck -

"Opportunity comes when luck meets preperation"
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qfanatic01
BBQ Pro


Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 764
Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Thu May 05 11 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I posted that response I was considering my options. Since that post luck stepped in. Yes, Ron being prepared was what got the attention. But today is much different from the chill I was feeling in March 2010. My problem now is keeping up with demand and contemplating how to get the most from the opportunity that luck created. Since that first post on this thread I have added 3 smokers and sold one. Today I bought my fourth in less than a year, a SP XLR1400 to take us to the next level. Now I need to find a new location to take advantage of it's potential. Maybe I can take a day off soon. This is a problem I can enjoy! Good luck to all.
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