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New joint

 
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15 14 10:33 pm    Post subject: New joint Reply with quote

Ok so me and my dad opened a joint in April in a town of 11000 in mo. For the first couple of weeks we did really well, but business has really slacked we are basically just making it. I am not asking to be rich but if I went back to factory work at least I would have insurance lol. We have ads in the paper, the current, Facebook page, urban spoon, yelp, twitter etc... We need to pick up foot trafic plain and simple. We are just a joint seating for about 20 serving traditional bbq no nachos, salads, baked potatos, or fries my place is just to small. We cook fresh every day. I know that 3 months is just a drop in the hat and we r still getting established but any pointers would be a plus. We also have done several events for the community with great reviews but still only draw about four or five new clients from each one. Well I'll stop rambling and start listening.
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Louie
BBQ Super Fan


Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 491
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15 14 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
What's your menu & is it enough to attract folks?
What's your hours?
Do you offer specials for lunch, etc?
Do you offer a take out service?

I've found some sort of salad is a must whether it's a slaw, potato salad or a green salad. Ya need spuds, baked with toppings are a great money maker, so's fresh cut fries.
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about the confusion when I said no salads I meant no barbecue salads we do have coleslaw potato salad baked beans our daily special is what we call a brown bag which is pulled pork sandwich with a drink and a bag of Lays potato chips we sell by the pound quarter pound half pound everything is take out or dine in. Meats include brisket pulled pork sausage ribs rib tips on fri we serve the Dino beef ribs. We have one two and three meat platesand sandwiches. We are open at 11 and run until we are sold out
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UpNSmoke
Newbie


Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 27
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any establishment will be busy for the first two or three months because it is new and people want to try it. This is where you "make it or break it". In your case you broke it. You have to wow and dazzle your potential new customers with service and food quality. If either of these are lacking then your doomed.

Now Im not bashing your BBQ (everyone has the best) but you should take a good hard look at both service and food quality and see what can be improved. Look at what others are doing in your area and see what potential customers are use too.

Check your food cost. Food cost should be no more then 35% (closer to 30%). This includes everything from rubs, wood to product. Price check other vendors. Many vendors offer discounts to new customers.

Your labor should not be running no more then 25%, I try to stay around 20% (this includes your salary).

People can only give you so much adavise with so little information offered. Everyones menu is just like you stated. PP Sammies, Brisket, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, etc etc. We need specifics i.e. demographics, pricing, local market, etc etc

Best advertising is word of mouth (food in mouth). If your product sucks or is just ordinary nobodies going to go out of their way to get their friends and family to eat at your establishment. Cook good product and get in peoples mouth, give free samples to local businesses, hit up farmers markets, etc etc

Cook awesome BBQ and they will come (Rain, Sleet, or Shine). you get your product nailed down and food cost under control and the rest will just follow suit.
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for "not bashing" but that's all you did. We have the ONLY bbq in a 30 mile radius. And our food and pricing beats any others around before opening we visited all other bbq places in the area. I would put our product against ANYBODYS. And as for service you'll not find better. Again we are a small Joint, seating about 20. We sell out everyday. The restaurant IS making it and has not "BROKE IT". The only over head we have is rent which is low and electric and water. My original question was how to get more foot traffic, clever marketing ect. So if you have any ideas for that that would be great. As for any other advise I don't really need it.
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brutus1964
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Apr 2014
Posts: 531
Location: Pinson, Tn.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sycobilly, have you got a drive thru or the ability to add a drive thru? I have a buddie who recently opened a raunt after starting out in a concession trailer. the drive thru business alone has more than doubled his walk in business (he only seats 30). If you are selling out each day, you may want to cook just a little more to make sure there is good variety for the after wok crowd. You may want to consider delivery to nearby businesses. just a couple ideas.
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately no there is no area for drive-up window. As far as cooking more food we try to up it every once a while to see where customers are and if we are missing anybody. I do however like the delivery idea is that a delivery for one or do you think I should ask for a minimum order of say five or ten. You would think with the town full of nothing but Chinese and Mexican food that barbecue would be a good change of pace.
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qfanatic01
BBQ Pro


Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 768
Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What time do you usually run out? Are you open for Dinner or just lunch? If folks show up and your always sold out they may quit trying. We have set hours and try not to run out during those hours. We do run out from time to time and see folks leave because they wanted something in particular. You may need to extend your hours to generate the revenue you need. What sux about that is you may make less per hour than desired, but your over all income will pay the bills in time if you are as good as you think. I worked for a couple of years for next to nothing to get established. I hope you have enough money saved to live without income for a while. As they say, it takes a lot of money to make a little. Seven and a half years later I still work 6 1/2 days a week for about 80 to 100 hours. We are closed Mondays, but I still spend half the day trying to get everything done. Living the dream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It takes 2 to 3 people to do my job and they still won't do as good a job. Good Luck.
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Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sycobilly81 wrote:
Thanks for "not bashing" but that's all you did. We have the ONLY bbq in a 30 mile radius. And our food and pricing beats any others around before opening we visited all other bbq places in the area. I would put our product against ANYBODYS. And as for service you'll not find better. Again we are a small Joint, seating about 20. We sell out everyday. The restaurant IS making it and has not "BROKE IT". The only over head we have is rent which is low and electric and water. My original question was how to get more foot traffic, clever marketing ect. So if you have any ideas for that that would be great. As for any other advise I don't really need it.


What I read as a response by upNsmoke was not bashing, not even in the slightest bit. It is the plain, simple and painful truth in the restaurant biz.

Every restaurant believes that they offer the best food in the area, yet few actually do.

What you need to do is ask yourself a few questions to figure out why you are not getting an increase in traffic flow, why are the other places busier than you?

As Up stated; "Cook awesome BBQ and they will come (Rain, Sleet, or Shine). you get your product nailed down and food cost under control and the rest will just follow suit."

Have you ever eaten a pizza that you thought wasn't the best? I bet the owners of that pizza place truly thought their pizza was the best.

It took me a little bit to nail down the local preferences in my area, my most popular, most loved BBQ sauce that sells like crazy, it thoroughly disgusts me! I hate the stuff, it is overly sweet, sticky, gooey crap. BUT my customers love it. So if I decided to not serve it, who would that help?

Word of mouth is the best route IMO, it just takes a little bit to get there. Ad campaigns will get a response, but once that ad is done, will it fall off again??

If there is not something served that people just cannot get enough of, they will dine elsewhere. Sadly it is just that simple in this business.
You have got to have something that keeps bringing people back, and those people will bring others with them, and that is how you grow a crowd of loyal customers.

Either that, or sell at a cost that you cannot afford, that'll get people in, but at a terrible cost to your reputation.
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q we are open from 11 to 7 and we generally have enough food to ride out the entire time we don't run out and until later on when moms and dads come in looking for pounds to feed supper to their children at night. The hours are killer but well worth it. It is nonstop and pretty much all I think about thanks for your advice I do appreciate it

Last edited by Sycobilly81 on Wed Jul 16 14 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have got to have something that keeps bringing people back, and those people will bring others with them, and that is how you grow a crowd of loyal customers.

I would say 95% of my customer base are return customers. Word-of-mouth is a very good solution the Jiffy Lube down the street when people come in to get the oil change they asked them if they are hungry and if they are they should try the barbecue joint just down the block. A lot of local businesses are very helpful to us every day we see at least one new customer come in that says hey I was referred by so-and-so. We pay the bills at the shop and at home maybe I'm just jumping the gun a little bit but what I'm looking for is a little extra change in my pocket at the end of the day. I know it's going to take time but I'm trying to stay ahead of the game that's why I'm here asking for creative and helpful ideas on how to be productive and draw in new customers as much as possible. I truly am sorry for all the confusion that my original post has caused when I said barely making it and the comment about working in a factory at least I'd be getting insurance was meant to be a lighthearted joke
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UpNSmoke
Newbie


Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 27
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basic PR is the best marketing you can "buy". "Word of mouth" which I call "Food in Mouth" is the best. In other words get as much product in your potential customers mouths as possible. Give out free samples on the sidewalk, at farmers markets, festivals, host eating contest, throw meet and greets/block parties, take some pp sliders to local businesses at lunch time, School fundraisers etc. etc.

The possibilities are unlimited. Basically GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY/LOCALS. Know Jim Bob down the road and his ten daughters? If one is getting married....offer to cater it at a "discount" (people love deals Very Happy ).

Think your BBQ will stand up to any around? f--k get out there and prove it. Dont wait on people to come to you. Go to them! Show them your just as excited about your product as they should be and they will get excited about it too.

These are basic concepts that any business owner should know. If you follow these simple concepts in my prior post and above you will be successful.
When you are send me a damn check. Wink
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Capt Jack



Joined: 13 Sep 2013
Posts: 21
Location: Southport NC

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16 14 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have received some really good tips. I would add marketing is like a rainbow, it covers the whole spectrum of reaching clientele. Have you considered a loyalty program of some sort? In my years of working with the public, loyalty programs can grow sales by double digits when started after opening. I do not mean just a punch card. But a real program that uses hard data to reach new customers, retain those 95% you see regularly, and get those customers you haven't seen in a while to return. Birthday Clubs are huge. How many people go out to celebrate a birthday alone? Reward the birthday person with free cake or a free entrée, and their whole party spends money on everything else. I like what Repeat Rewards does. They target marketing to your customer. Sounds like you already have a good base of customers coming in the door. I could go on, but you would need to do your homework to identify a loyalty program that works for you. Also, do you have a website that is professionally done? Check with your food reps to see what they offer. They usually have experts to help you grow. If you don't grow, they don't.
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17 14 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to thank everybody for their advice take a lot into mind as far as doing community events and stuff we try to do everything possible that is brought to our attention as far as catering goes it has slowed down some but that's where we started originally was catering we are members with the chamber we go to all the ribbon-cutting events mingle pass out cards as far as a loyalty or A rewards program I'll have to put some thought into that. And kind off the subject about catering I don't want to get to indefinite since others another form for catering but do you guys tell your clients the price per person or as in a whole price I've tried both ways and it seems like since I've started doing a little bit by the person it seems like it kind of scares my clients a little bit maybe I'm just reading too much into it but I would just like to hear your take on the subject
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qfanatic01
BBQ Pro


Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 768
Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17 14 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things we do is work with local churches and schools by discounting to the point of cost to youth based fund raising events. Most kids will eventually graduate and we hope they remember how great our food was. We do at least 20 grad parties every weekend in June. Many are picked up. We also deliver food for a wedding nearly every weekend all summer long and many throughout the year. All from word of mouth. Do you have a web sight? People like to window shop.
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Sycobilly81



Joined: 18 Oct 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17 14 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah were trying to get in tight with the schools and we also have a local community college we got a couple teachers meetings were getting ready to do we just finished up with relay for life and we are doing a wounded warrior Project this weekend hopefully once football season starts our joint is right across the street from football field and will put on a Tellgate party every home game a whole hog roast a pig picking that's the plan anyways right now we do as many community events as possible as many that comes to our attention as we can find In August our town is hosting a Bluegrass and barbecue Festival the first year for it will definitely be involved in that as far as the website goes we don't have one of those yet I am working on getting one put up professionally
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