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Starting Your Small Barbecue Joint

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Freddy’s BBQ Joint, President Frank Underwood’s favorite barbecue place, can’t be found in Lanarkshire, but neither will you see it in the Washington, D.C. area near the White House where it’s supposed to be. You love the show The House of Cards were actors Kevin Spacey and Reg E. Cathey, play President Underwood and barbecue joint owner Freddy Hayes respectively. Your dreaming of owning your barbecue place and having that personal connection with customers the way Freddy has with Frank.

You just bought a 3-acre property, that’s right on the path to a famous tourist destination. There are no significant restaurants or a place to rest before proceeding for that long tourist journey. Why not give travelers a breather by opening a small barbecue place like Freddy’s joint? Carpenters, plumbers, and heating engineers are currently renovating the main house, and maybe for an additional fee, they could convert the shack a few paces away into a restaurant. What is required to launch a thriving barbecue place?

An Overview of the Barbecue Business in America

In 2016, the total sale of grills and barbecue, reached $1.47 billion, showing a significant increase from the 2009 figure of $1.21 billion. The estimate is that there are more than 2,000 barbecue joints in America. There are few franchises with a national presence, unlike burgers or chicken or coffee shops.

If you set up your own and there’s the likelihood of a captive audience, the market conditions might be in your favor.

Getting It Done

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You were able to bargain for the conversion of the shack, so that’s a good thing. Here are a few more ideas for you to consider when starting your barbecue joint.

  1. Small Menu. Quality Food. Yours is not going to be a restaurant in the middle of the town but somewhere along the road. Make your concept quaint but quirky. Don’t aim for a vast menu. Make a couple of excellent dishes that customers will rave about on their Instagram account. Focus on pork ribs and other pork variants, if that’s the meat you have easier access to. You can always grow your menu by adding other meats like beef, shrimp, or chicken. Set your standards high when it comes to the quality of your barbecue and your other dishes.
  2. Equipment. Freddy’s BBQ Joint looks simple enough. That could be your model. But you’re going to have to invest in some equipment. You won’t be grilling hundreds and hundreds of kilos of meat, but make sure that your grill can accommodate enough to feed your regular walk-ins and reserved customers. At least you would need a freezer, dishwasher, and a smoker. Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and of course, Texas, have their versions of what the best barbecue tastes like. Don’t re-invent the wheel. Adapt it and add your magic.
  3. Serve your community. There will be travelers, but don’t forget that members of your community are the ones going to be present near your restaurant 365 days of the year. Plan for participating in community activities like charity events or festivals. Open your place where students can do volunteer work as part of their school credits. The point is to make your establishment a true part of the community.

This is a short but sweet list of three points. You, of course, would need to develop a business plan, find out if you need external financing, and do proper marketing to put your barbecue joint on the map of the restaurant world. Be prepared to work hard and long hours.

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