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First Bar-B-Q in Kyrg...Shenanigans...Forever!
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JAllen
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Joined: 27 Oct 2010
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Location: Bishkek

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13 12 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what we've got going on outside so far this year.




That's Mrs. JAllen giving instructions to our new cook, Dasha.

Dasha's working those hospital blues pretty well.

Sorry about the light in the background; something's not right with my camera, but I think you can get the idea.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13 12 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it's Friday and we've got the patio pretty well shaped up, but none of the lights are working out there.

Last night, we were shoveling candles out there by the pound.

If we don't get an electrician in here real soon, we're gonna have a problem tonight.

(That's if we have any customers)
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16 12 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While we had a couple good days last week, business is slowing down significantly.

Reasons could include expats and locals going on vacation, people eating at other well-known outdoor locations, and people eating lighter dishes.

Also, over the Winter, we discontinued draft beer as there were serious problems with frozen kegs that came from Russian, and the local warehouses had heating problems. This led to the kegs producing tons of foam and it was taking me ten minutes to pour a beer.

I'm hoping this problem has been resolved so we can start serving draft beer again.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17 12 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now the moment we've all been waiting for...

Smokie's is open 24/7.

We even had an okay day for our first day, as we hadn't advertised it. I was shocked to see regular customers showing up as absolutely nobody knew we'd be open.

From the picture above, you can see we've got a bar similar to the one inside, and I think the couches are kinda cool out there.

Now, we need to get some more lighting and some green stuff out there.
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Geronimo
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17 12 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JAllen wrote:
And now the moment we've all been waiting for...

Smokie's is open 24/7.

We even had an okay day for our first day, as we hadn't advertised it. I was shocked to see regular customers showing up as absolutely nobody knew we'd be open.

From the picture above, you can see we've got a bar similar to the one inside, and I think the couches are kinda cool out there.

Now, we need to get some more lighting and some green stuff out there.


How many other (popular or other wise) place are open 24/7??
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17 12 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geronimo wrote:

How many other (popular or other wise) place are open 24/7??


Geronimo, almost none. It's very rare around here. We started doing it because we were cooking briskets and shoulders almost around the clock, and we were paying the guards

As it turned out, we do a lot of business in the wee hours.
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GF
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17 12 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JAllen, the patio looks very cool. Cool
Good luck with the 24/7 thing, hope you manage to get some sleep.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18 12 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fun in the Summer.

1. You all saw that we moved the couches outside and they're sitting pretty. Unfortunately, the owner came by yesterday and saw his couches outside and had a fit. They'll get all dusty, and broken down over the summer. He told the night shift to tell us to move them back in.

2. Mrs. JAllen and I decided to have an evening with the kids, so we left early. We arrived to find "Shorty" our 6'7," 155lb night barman had not done any of the twelve things (on a list on the bar) that he was supposed to do.

3. Our wonderful, new, surgeon-dressed cook left a brisket (shipped in from TX) out on top of the warm pit all night long. She was tired and wanted to go home on time, so she left all the kitchen duties to Shorty.

4. Other than that, everything is just peachy.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18 12 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What to do about the Summer business is the hot topic around here.

Now, we have the indoor hall, plus the patio area.

We have a potential Summer doldrum as we had last year as a lot of people want to be outside, and our outside area last year was very very poorly organized and decorated.

We have a chance to make the outdoor area much nicer this year, but it involves taking almost everything from inside, tvs, tables, refrigerators, couches, etc. and moving them outside.

So, we run the risk of losing potential inside business.
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Geronimo
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18 12 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You rent the building AND the furniture so....

1. ask/demand that the owner furnish/decorate the outdoor area and settle for what HE wants and take the chance of him raising your rent to recoup.

or

2. Spend your own dime and pay for the upgrade yourself and be able to do what YOU want (and can afford).

As far as "shorty", either work with him to properly train him or fire his butt and get someone willing/able to do the work your require of them.

Something I have learned is no one wants to do the sh*t work. Shocked
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19 12 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geronimo, thank you very much for your thoughtful advice.

Geronimo wrote:
You rent the building AND the furniture so....

1. ask/demand that the owner furnish/decorate the outdoor area and settle for what HE wants and take the chance of him raising your rent to recoup.


Unfortunately, there is a zero chance of him furnishing the outdoor area. He's trying to sell the place to us now.

Geronimo wrote:

2. Spend your own dime and pay for the upgrade yourself and be able to do what YOU want (and can afford).

As far as "shorty", either work with him to properly train him or fire his butt and get someone willing/able to do the work your require of them.


As far as the upgrade, we're spending some money now. We're making a lot of improvements to the bar, putting plasmas, refrigerators and soon will be painting out there, and bought a bunch of nice furniture covers for the couches out there.

Problem with furniture is during the winter we have no place to store it. To me it makes most sense to build a couple tables (which we're doing now) and move half of the inside tables outside.

As for training and properly training, well he was trained for a week. You can give all the training you want, but if someone doesn't see that a big piece of meat needs to go in the fridge, and can't read the twelve commandments of Smokie's, then all the training in the world won't help.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19 12 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Things are unraveling pretty fast just as they did last year at this time.

Maybe we just should realize that we are not a summer destination.

While we're not putting up goose eggs, business has fallen off a cliff.

Pretty disheartening as there is huge, absolutely huge potential for a few locations during the summer.

During the warm weather, people head to the far South side of the city to sit outside, drink beer and eat shishkabobs at the base of the mountains.

While we are far outside the center, and on the South side, we're not up against the mountains. But overall, I think we're in the Summer region, so the potential is there.

Some places pack in people in the hundreds.

Still, we're persevering. We've almost got our projector up and running, in addition to a big screen tv out there.

On the down side, Mrs. JAllen and I have taken the chance while business is slower to spend a bit more time at home in the evenings with the kids.

Every time we've done this there has been some catastrophe, from the left out meat two days ago to last nights total destruction of our sound and video system that I spent all day today trying to fix with minimal success.

At least we have one tv outside.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19 12 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After significant time and expense to reinstall the outdoor projector, get a new bulb, put the plasma outside, music outside, our night shift yesterday destroyed everything.

The problem is that the wiring goes through a gauntlet to get out there, is very cheap, and was put in shoddily.

Now I'm having to rework everything that was done.

I spent a whole day thinking about audio/video and no time at all thinking about bbq.

Hardly a recipe for success as the kitchen and Dasha are running on I don't know what.
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Teleking
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19 12 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why run wires when you can stream WiFi video with a blue ray player, roku box, or even a Wii?
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20 12 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teleking wrote:
Why run wires when you can stream WiFi video with a blue ray player, roku box, or even a Wii?


Teleking, thanks for the input.

Aside from the headache, the cost for having video three months a year is not something I'm ready to shoulder right now.

Having said that, we had an okay Thursday, thanks to a big flight crew that showed up from the base, and some new customers in town working on building the new Canadian Embassy.

So we move into Friday, hoping to start this afternoon painting the outside wall yellow, instead of the drab beige, considering adding burritos to the menu and working on getting all servers to offer desserts.

Spring cleaning continues, but I'd really like to get the video sorted.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20 12 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Saga of Vern continues...

Remember Vern and Lola? Lola ran away with the cash, but after a coupla months showed back up looking let's say a bit rounder in the stomach.

Who woulda thunk that?

Anyway, she's asking Vern for help buying stuff for her store, but she's not asking him to help with her tummy for now.

Last time she came over, Vern had a new girlfriend, Missy. Vern liked Missy because she was 22, hot, and liked to drink.

Well, Vern and Missy were at home a week or so, and Lola calls saying she's coming over. Well, the visit ended with Lola and Missy getting in the elevator going down.

Vern watched out the window for ten minutes before they came out. Missy later said she couldn't see Vern anymore as she was probably threatened by Lola.

Anyway, the story continues with Missy showing up yesterday really drunk. She puked on Vern, drank some more and tried to jump out of his 9-story window.

Rinse, reapeat.

Vern: "JAllen, she was drunk and tried to jump on me!"

me: "Well that's normally a good thing, isn't it?"

Vern: "No, I mean she tried to jump out the window."

me: Vern, maybe you're hanging out with the wrong crowd.

This has got to be one of the most interesting personal stories I've ever heard or written about.
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Geronimo
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20 12 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vern needs some good soap & water to wash that "sucker" stamp off his forehead. Rolling Eyes

I mean come on, how many times does it take to "get the picture"?? Shocked

Is the guy really that dumb and/or desperate? Shocked

On a more positive note, glad things are coming together for you.

Did the new people that showed up to eat sit inside or outside?
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21 12 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geronimo wrote:

Did the new people that showed up to eat sit inside or outside?


Geronimo, everyone is loving the outside. I took a survey last night and nobody wanted to be inside.

They were all watching the Rangers beating Detroit and liking the "natural air conditioning."

We had an okay Friday, I'm not complaining. It was one of those days with no big rush, just people coming and coming to a not-very-full restaurant, and at the end of the day it was a good day.

I had to serve a big table all by my lonesome and it was really a task.

At the end they all asked for separate checks and that just really made my day.

Moving on, we were informed that today, Saturday from 3pm to midnight the water would be turned off. So to make sure we had water for the most important uses.

So we're filling up fifteen gallon jugs at home that had been sitting around for awhile.

We go to get in the jeep, and I toss one in the back seat and...

and..

and the sucker breaks, completely breaks filling up the back seat and the entire floor of the car with water. When we got to the bbq, I opened the door and water was still pouring out.

So we get here and there are some tables outside and that's a good thing.

But Mrs. JAllen has invited all the employees for a polite meeting to explain procedures and other things that need to be done.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21 12 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today's Facebook post:

To celebrate the heat, anyone showing up in a parka and pumps and smoking a cigar eats free! ...then we throw you out.

Look for us on Facebook - Smokie's BBQ

note to mods: If you don't like that Facebook advert, please remove it before banning me.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22 12 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, okay. Friday and Saturday were not a bust by any means. If we can go through the Summer like that, it will be a big improvement over last year.

Then the idea has to be to leverage what we build last Fall/Winter.

I think I wrote about the "team meeting" we had yesterday, where we went over all the procedures, and areas for improvement.

Well, I show up today, less than 24 hours after the meeting to find the ice maker empty, the teapots empty and half the trash cans (while emptied) without fresh plastic bags in them.

In other news, the patio is in pretty good shape, with a fresh coat of pastel yellow on the walls, plasma and projector, surround sound (well not really surround), and a bar that still needs some work.

I'm always asking myself if I would go to a place like this.



On the upside, for anyone planning to open a place, one of the good things is that most of the investment has been done; kitchen, refers, ice machine, tvs, projectors, decoration...

All of those expenses were done last year and were a drag financially. It's a good feeling to know we don't have all of those ahead of us. Mostly just repairs.
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