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First Bar-B-Q in Kyrg...Shenanigans...Forever!
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GF
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06 12 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JAllen, it seems to me that your place is " turning itself" into what your customers and you want. Very Happy

Wether it's a bar serving BBQ, or a BBQ place with a bar, is not relevant, as long as your making money and your customers enjoy themselves, thats all that really matters. Cool

I have enjoyed reading about what's going on there. Good luck on continued success! Very Happy
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Geronimo
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06 12 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have thoroughly enjoyed reading every single post...no matter who posted it.

If you call my post(s) "stirring the pot" I hope I didn't do so in a bad way.

My posts were not meant to be hurtful to anyone, simply asking questions and making comments about things as I see them along your journey.

As far as how you "repaid" the 2 guys that did you favors (big favors from what you say), that is great on your part!!...I didn't realize it was only 2 guys. Embarassed

And you are right, making great BBQ isn't that hard...making a successful business out of it is.
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thsmoker
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06 12 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always glad to hear about your BBQ business -- in whatever form. I am sure it is a lesson to others thinking about running their own BBQ place. Seem to remember way back when there was a lot of drama in the kitchen. Sounds like you have that nailed down -- same with food. Call me crazy, but I would enjoy seeing some picts of your plated food. Hope for your continued success!
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cjschuckwagon
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07 12 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jallen, just because one sourpuss wants to pee on you and tell you it's raining, doesn't mean the rest of us do.....you rock, and your place has morphed as it should....wish I was there....cj
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07 12 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cj, thsmoker, Geronimo, GF,

Thanks for all the comments.

Geronimo, as for stirring the pot, your comment was useful because it made us think a little more about the business.

Our margin on food and alcohol is about the same. So do we care if we sell more food or alcohol? I dunno.

It might be a problem if too many people started coming not to eat but just drink, 'cause our waste would go up.

As it is now, we write off about $200 in food a month.

Had some soldiers in from the base yesterday. They had a checklist in their hand asking about distance to police and fire houses, if we had an extinguisher, etc.

They said we were just a couple days away from being approved as a location where soldiers could come and eat.

Might improve the lunch business, which would be good. A year ago I would have been jumping up and down. And while we're very happy for them to think of us, and it could be a significant boost to the business, I'm pretty pleased with how things are going now.

Also, I'm not getting my hopes up too much as this conversation has been had before with no results.

If they start coming regularly at lunch, we're gonna have to start another cook at 6am, which changes some things in the kitchen, as we don't have a cook at that time. We'll also need to hire additional help for prep. And we're already understaffed every night, so that we need to add anyway.

I guess I should be happier than I am, and I'm never unhappy to see people ready to eat and drink come through the door. One of the things about a growing business is it's harder to control.

As it is now, we're doing the amount of business we used to be happy with-- after we have gone home for the night, and that's usually around midnight.

Employee theft is on the rise, and at about $180 per month. The only way to control for that is to reconcile our inventory of almost 200 items every day.

Wood use is way up also, at about $6 per day.

And overall theft from the location includes our Mr. Cactus, a ladder, a monitor from downstairs (compensated by the security company), a power sander, and three remote controls for the plasmas inside and downstairs.

I think there's also a limit to the amount of pork we can get if we include the Aussie Butcher and the bazaar across the stree, and I think we're nearing that limit already.

Our alcohol purchases have gone through the roof, and the bar is literally bulging with bottles. There's almost nothing I can take down.
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Ridge View BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08 12 12:27 am    Post subject: Please continue posting Reply with quote

I only skim this thread from time to time (time being an issue for me) and I hope to some day read all the installments. I wish I could have recorded our own history as well as you have your's. It really doesn't matter what your food alochol ratio is,,,,your making money and thats why were all in business. I wish you continued success !!

Jim
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08 12 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jim,

thank you very much for the kind words.

JAllen
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08 12 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bottles clinkin' in the garbage all night long.

Some beer bottles.

Some were Beam, No7, and Glen.
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08 12 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's liquar that's disapeering,keep all your bottles but the two or three you go though each night in a locked cabinet and only you or the mrs. has the keys.then at the end of each shift the bar tender inventorys and signs a form of the amount.that way no one can say It's not me.and if it's there ass on the line they will make sure no one else gets to it.You can also get a postal scale and weight a full bottle and the get a empty,weight it, and put one Oz of liquid in it and weight it.Then you'll know how many shots where sold that day.
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ecocks
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10 12 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff:

Just suggesting:

If you're running out of space, my advice is to look to your menu offerings (alcohol AND food) in terms of net profitability and competencies/ability to produce.

When you know what sells the most and what puts the most money in the till, then start cutting back on the items. Watch for complimentary products and strike a balance that recognizes space, time, supply and profit.

I went through a disastrous time with my partner over what we wanted to produce, what people would buy and what we actually made money on. It wasn't pretty and resulted in a catastrophe when the answer was to simply offer everything we thought AND everything customers said they wanted.

Best of luck! PS - I'll be back in mid/late-January.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12 12 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecocks, thanks for the advice

I'm not sure what we're gonna do.

Right now, our business has doubled from just a couple months ago, and we weren't complaining then.

Everything feels like it's bulging, from meat and alcohol purchases that we can't keep up with, to serving at night, to stockpiling ice as our machine can't even begin to keep up.

And the thing that's most troubling is customers requesting songs all night, so I'm DJing in between pouring drinks.

Requesting songs all night long. One after another.

It's a great service we provide, but it takes time. I think we should just hire someone to do this.

Even our trash can at the bar where we throw empty bottles is not nearly enough and we need to empty it a couple times every evening.

We're always running out of alcohol of some sort as we don't have much storage space here and we just can't get it that we need to buy up to ten liters a day to keep everything in stock with at least a backup.

We just implemented a minor price increase on several items 'cause too many people were commenting how inexpensive things are here. Also our meat prices have increased. I checked some competing locations and found that we're about 25% cheaper on drinks and a lot of comparative food items.

For example compared to the Metro Pub across town (and it's probably not fair to put us in that category, but a lot of our customers hang out there too, and some have forsaken the place for ours) well drinks are $5.30 there and $3.60 here.

Personally, I think $5 drinks outside of a five-star hotel in this city is exorbitant.

Entrees in other places our customers go are in the $10-$12 range, while our half-rack and pulled pork are about $8.

Even for locals, there's a forum here where people talk about dining out. There was a question about "best five places to eat out." -- I think we were mentioned in about every third response, which was really flattering.

We did it at the beginning of last week and nobody commented, so I see that as a good thing.

As far as prices go, we decided to bring in some higher-end tequila. A friend of the bar shows up with a bottle of $60 Patron, and we mark it up to about $9 a shot.

It was gone by the end of the night, so he brought another bottle the next night. That bottle is half empty after one night.

All of this in light of my start up predition: "5% chance that we'll be open after one year" is pretty unexpected.

And as I reflect on the idea of having a bar and a BBQ together, I can only say that they complement each other immensely. So many places we looked at before that didn't have bars. I can't imagine things going like this without a bar.

And at the end of the day, what is bittersweet about all this is that Mrs. JAllen and I are both married to this place. While we do get away more than we did the first year and a half, it's still 90 hours a week. And we still have people commenting that they were here and neither of us was around and that was a bad thing.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12 12 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now this is just downright unpleasant, part I.


Last Friday in come a group of flight attendants from a company we serve often here.

Now, these ain't the kinda flight attendants you might be thinking about. One lady just turned sixty, and I used to like her.

The other lady looked like a fireplug.

The guy...well what can I say about that...

Anyway, the old hag had been here before and was really nice. But this time I get called over to the table and they're complaining.

Fair enough, 'cause we make mistakes sometimes and I always want to hear about them and try to make things as right as possible.

Ribs were tough
Ribs were too spicy
Chili was too spicy
Fries were cold.

I took everything back in the kitchen and checked everything.

Absolutely nothing was wrong, and I was dumbfounded. As for spicy, the rub is about a 3.5 on a scale of ten. The chili is about a 5...but it is chili.

I was polite as possible and didn't charge them for everything, even though I should have.

They walked out and I'm trying to figure out what was the deal because everything was absolutely fine, when the hag comes back in...

"Oh, can I have some napkins for my friends, they're throwing up in the parking lot."
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12 12 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, this is just downright unpleasant, Part II

So, I get home and I'm still puzzled about the table that was complaining and saying they were puking in the parking lot.

And then I link a couple things together.

Remember the guy who ran up a $234 tab here a couple months back? His name is Jody, and if he comes into your place, don't run him a tab.

Well, Jody came out on facebook talking about another bar in Tulsa who was hassling him about a supposedly several-hundred dollar tab. He was denying it and saying bad things about the guy.

I'm saying, "Hey, you owe our place a lot of money too." And I wrote it on facebook. As I wrote it, I'm thinking that it was a bad idea.

Well, he unfriended me and a couple other people to whom he owes money.

He was friends with these flight attendants who came in and were complaining.

Bad, bad, bad.

I shouldn't have said anything and just took it.

I can imagine him making up a lot of bad things about us to a lot of his friends at that company, if he has any left.
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Geronimo
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12 12 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should I dare comment?? Shocked Shocked

People are naturally (in the bar scene) going to go where they can get "the biggest bang for their buck".

You had said recently that you were making a fair profit on your bar and here you are raising prices...again.

Here is what I think...

Go ahead and raise your prices (bar AND food) to compete with your local competition and your business will naturally drop off some but to a point where you can more easily handle it.

Keep going the way you are, you will have to hire more help (bar, kitchen, DJ, bouncers/security, etc) but your low price point won't be able to afford it....which cuts into your profit and in a matter of time you are out of business.

And no, I am not trying to run you down or be negative, just my observation as an outsider looking in.
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14 12 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless your a bank and not a bar why are you loaning money?A tab is a loan.If your not loaning then if they don't pay you, your giving.Nothing good for a business is going to come from bad mouthing a customer on facebook.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14 12 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geronimo, daddywoofdawg, thanks for the comments.

On the price increase idea. Yeah, you have a good point about matching the Metro Pub prices, but I just couldn't do that.

I think part of the reason some people come here is that we're less expensive. And for people who eat out all the time, I think we're a good option. And we're certainly not cheap.

daddywoofdawg, on the tabs -- Sometimes we have good customers who spend a lot here and have sat for awhile and want to stay say they'd like to stay, but they'll need to pay a balance next time the come. We make the decision based on the person. We don't do it for everyone.

And on Sunday while we weren't here one of our regular customers who probably is in the top three as far as spending goes, apparently was too drunk to pay. I came in on Monday and saw his name on a $200 tab.

As far as the facebook comment, you're absolutely right.
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19 12 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Saturday was our first annual chili cookoff.

It was a great time, starting at 2pm, and we had ten contestants. It was really interesting to see how other people make chili, but the thing I noticed most was the huge advantage one has if you can add smoked meat.

We didn't enter our chili as we were hosting the event, and if we won that would have been kinda bad and if we didn't win, that would also have been kinda bad.

We've been using trimmings for chili now for about four months and people love it. Surprisingly enough, over two years, only two menu additions have stuck: chili and pepper poppers.

We make and sell some cornbread, but it hasn't caught on like the other two.

As we moved into Saturday night, the regulars started coming in. Oh, one of our best customers from the base, Tennessee Lee also put his chili into the ring. His was pretty good, but I voted for another one that had peanut butter in it.

Anyway, Tennessee Lee is the biggest guy we get around here. I think he's about 280 and pretty solid, but he's been talking for awhile about Rick who works with him who likes to eat and drink, but lives at the base and doesn't get out much.

He was described to me on several occasions as a "big guy." I'm thinking "big guy, big appetite." Well anyway about 5pm the front door opens and the room goes dark as Big Rick comes in. The room goes dark 'cause he's blocking most of the sunlight coming into the place.

Wearing a blue bandanna and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, Rick's tattoos are taking up most of the skin on his arms.

His goatee is mid-chest and wavy and I wouldn't dare pull on it, but for some reason I thought about it a time or two, and I don't know why.

Well, Big Rick sits at the corner of the bar, next to Tennessee Lee, and Lee is looking small for the first time ever, and I'm thinking he must feel kinda bad 'cause he's always the biggest guy in the bar...any bar.

But not tonight.

Well, as it turned out, Big Rick is a very nice guy. Had some drinks, had some BBQ and a pizza and was so happy he dropped some of the nicest tips we've seen in a long time.

"I like to be taken care of, and I take care of people who take care of me," was what he said at the end of the night.
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19 12 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you found two new bouncers!
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JAllen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19 12 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

daddywoofdawg, you got that right.

I had like 600lbs of bouncer on the north side of the bar.

Nobody was making a move.

And today we have a big snow, so we're empty.

Just a bunch of people calling to order turkeys for thanksgiving.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20 12 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are you charging for turkeys?
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