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Buying smoker trailer & starting a roadside pit - questi

 
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StarsandStripes
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Joined: 06 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06 07 11:50 pm    Post subject: Buying smoker trailer & starting a roadside pit - questi Reply with quote

Hello all. Talk about tons of information and expertise available here. Wow. I'm glad I stumbled onto this site!

I am shopping for a smoker trailer to start a roadside pit/catering business here in the Texas Hill Country. This is currently a part-time venture which I hope will grow into something larger by the time I turn 40 (I'm 33).

My plan is to purchase a smoker trailer at the end of the summer when the wife's car is paid off. When I first get the trailer I will take a 30-day's leave of absence from my job and spend my days getting TTPs (techniques, tactics, and procedures) down and setting up shop in either the Outlet Mall parking lot (over 500 stores) or Wal-Mart, attempting to vend at the local collegiate sporting events (UT or TSU) and/or Spurs games. After the 30 days I will work weekends and hopefully a catering gig or two.

Does any of the above make sense? Could I expect to turn a profit of some sort after 30 days? My expectations are realistic - I know I will not realize bookoo riches after 30 days of work.

I've shopped around a bit for smokers and the folks over at sybb.com seem to have what I'm looking for. Where should I be sure to visit?

I'm passionate about BBQing for my family and friends. Will I be just as passionate about cooking for strangers? Seems to be a dumb question - but what has been your experience?

If there are any tips you can offer up I'd sincerely appreciate it. Every time I think about doing this I get so anxious. I cannot tell if it's 100% excitement or 100% nerves.

Respectfully yours,

StarsNStripes
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marvsbbq
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07 07 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do believe even in Tx there are rules and regulations a person must follow. I am not real sure you can just 'set up' at these locations you mention. Or any other for that matter. You would need to check with your local Health Dept to see exactly what they say about doing this sort of thing. I know in past years (sereral years) there were mobile pits set up at several locations all around Tx. That has since changed. IF you DO know of any, you might just stop by and 'chat' with them and pick their brain as to how they are doing it....and IF legally.

You will also need to get state business lic, city lic (for EACH city you plan to do business in) (everyone wants their share of the all mighty buck) and any permits required by your local Health Dept.

Another thing, IF by rare chance you DO get to set up in a parking lot somewhere, even the owner of that store/lot will probably want a share of your pie (proceeds). But all of that is open to negotiation.

Now don't get discouraged, it is JUST a process that we all have to go through when first getting started.

My brother wanted to operate a Hotdog cart in his area and got discouraged and quit with the first hurdle. Got to have that 'DRIVE to suceed' IF you are going to suceed at all.
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StarsandStripes
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07 07 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for the response. I'm already incorporated. I have the list of health department hurdles and, as long as your trailer is up to snuff, it doesn't sound too difficult.

Operating a road-side pit is still OK here in the Lone Star State. There are so many road-side taco joints it's insane.

You are correct. Most parking lot owners want a cut or Wal-Mart simply wants you to contribute an amount to a local charity.

A good friend of mine used to own *****'s BBQ and also ran a road-side pit to generate income for honey-do's. He did extremely well and is willing to help me out as much as he can. He must abide by his buy-out agreement but he's still helping out a great deal with ideas and suggestions. He is a great guy and a wealth of information but I still like to get other ideas from folks here.
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Butch's bbq
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12 07 11:58 pm    Post subject: doing the same Reply with quote

I'm trying the same thing here in Fl. I went around a bought lunch at a few roadside places and chatted with the guys. They are all making a good buck but not legally evidentally. When I went to the county and the city they both shot me striaght down. The said if they catch me they'll fine me. I asked them how are these guys all doing it???? They said if they catch them they'll fine them too. I've seen some of these guys in the same place for 12 - 15 years now....so I guess the county just looks the other way. He did tell me that the county code enforcement doesn't work weekends. But some of these guys work all week...I'm getting pretty frustrated too by trying to do things right. The roadside guys all don't like to talk about permitting but they'll all talk all day and help me with the how to's of running the place and one guy even was telling me I could take his spot becaus he was moving to the dog track. He told me a few places he's been at and how much he made there. Right now I'm trying to get in with a bar that got rid of the guy they had for a few years. Good luck with your new endevor. Jim
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13 07 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use to be an inspector for Florida. If the rules havenít changed, the vendor licenses are handed out by the state (Bureau of Business and Professional Regulation.) The rules are fairly straight forward and not too excessive. Give them a call. They will tell you the requirements for the State of Florida. They normally inspect vendorís trailers once a week and you will need a commissary or commercial kitchen (normally a Bar) to work out of so they can inspect. Be careful though, the legal (and illegal) vendors are VERY territorial, a hot dog vendor working two construction sites could make about 60K a year (at least according to the Miami Herald.)
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Butch's bbq
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13 07 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Alien, I'll give them a call. As far as guys working out of a kitchen, we probably have a bout 30 vendors at least and only one uses the VFW kitchen for a place to call home. There was another guy working out of a bar that has a kitchen, and that's the one I'm trying to get into. Problem was the bar was suppling the meat and the bbq guy was ripping him off so he's reluctant to try it again. Everyone else just uses coolers and cook under a tree. None of them seem to be licensed from what I can tell. We even got a pressed cuban guy on US41 at the carwash right in the middle of town. It's amazing, he's been there for years. According to the city and the county, none of it allowed period. . They just keep telling me none of it is allowed.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13 07 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use to have a burrito lady come into the Ft. Lauderdale office all the time with just a small cooler. Talk about entering into the lionís den.
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14 07 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Butch, where in Florida are you?

The only legal roadside vending location in Pinellas County is on the lead in to Gandy Bridge which crosses Tampa Bay. The area is unincorporated.

We have a small town just north of us called Seminole. No open flame there of any kind- not even the typical hotdog vendor at Lowes/Home Depot. It is okay for thier festivals however- they get a good buck from the vendors to participate! Wink

I have yet to have the need to go that route, and hope to never have to in the future.......................................
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19 07 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Butch's bbq wrote:
Thanks Alien, I'll give them a call. As far as guys working out of a kitchen, we probably have a bout 30 vendors at least and only one uses the VFW kitchen for a place to call home. There was another guy working out of a bar that has a kitchen, and that's the one I'm trying to get into. Problem was the bar was suppling the meat and the bbq guy was ripping him off so he's reluctant to try it again. Everyone else just uses coolers and cook under a tree. None of them seem to be licensed from what I can tell. We even got a pressed cuban guy on US41 at the carwash right in the middle of town. It's amazing, he's been there for years. According to the city and the county, none of it allowed period. . They just keep telling me none of it is allowed.


Butch, I know you must be referring to Bradenton now, I was just at that carwash last week (they do a crappy job BTW).


That was the first sandwich trailer I have seen at a carwash on US hwy-41 in Florida. becuase I know there is a dog-track just down the road a bit in Sarasota too.

Am I right>????

I see Roadside Pits all over the place, and damn some of them are real tempting. But I doubt anyone has even got near a food handling and sanitation class. I am a little leary about raodside food.
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Butch's bbq
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23 07 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Harry ..you were about a mile from my house! I live on Sarasota Bay. There are a couple of guys who have taken the class..I've been talking to these guys. I take the class and test tomorrow. Some of them I really doubt have - LOL ...like the guy in Palmetto you mentioned with the lowlife crowd around doubt he could sign in cursive! Yea there's tons of guys around here that do all types of roadside...but the county says if the catch them they'll fine em.....must just be a deterent...either way it's just a start for me...a foot in the door. Wish I wouold have knew you were here..could have stopped in or met for lunch.
Hope you had a good trip. Jim
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23 07 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stop in at the market before it closes in May Jim, we'll feed you some "on the road" BBQ! The market is set up on Central avenue between 1st and 2nd streets, just south of the Baywalk entertainment complex. happy to feed you and any other ring members on the house! Very Happy

I pass by a number of those road side guys- I buy my wholesale meats from Suncoast Beef and Provisions in Palmetto. And no, I don't eat at them either! Wink A stop at Alvarez Mexican Restaraunt is usually in order though- great food! Very Happy
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Butch's bbq
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23 07 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks BBQMan, we talked about me stopping by before but I knew you were taking some time off. I keep wanting to go bac to the old post and see what days it was, and only remeber on Thurs - LOL I will definitly try hard to get up there. Thanks for the tip on meat. A few people have made suggestions on where they get thiers.
Everyone like Alverez! There's one place here in Bradenton that has a burruito the size of a shoebox...love it! All sliced steak and a fantastic sauce. They also just happen to win the best margarita in bradenton award every year...which is a plus!
Take care, I'll try to come up one Wed.
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