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View Full Version : How much to smoke at supermarket???


SmokinBobs
02-12-2013, 07:23 PM
I have been given an opportunity to cook at a supermarket parking lot on a Saturday....the market has been bag stuffing flyers all week and I am wondering how much meat to prepare....I am offering free samples and a give away for some sauce. Question is how much to prepare for?? Anybody have any suggestions? I am offering ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and brats. Thanks!!

hamiltont
02-12-2013, 07:52 PM
If yer givin it fer free then ya better set a limit on $$$ rather than quantity. How much $$$ do you want to invest it this thing? That's how I'd approach it anyway... Cheers, and have fun!!!

landarc
02-12-2013, 07:55 PM
You have to decide how much you can invest in meat, and time, and sell until you close or sell out. Selling out is better than being left with too much or course. Without knowing what kind of foot traffic you will see, and if they have done this before, it is impossible to estimate accurately. Are you selling meat by the pound? Sandwiches?

BigBellyBBQ
02-13-2013, 03:26 AM
Free samples? Did the supermarket supply the meat? You are just cookiing for them? Free does not promote biz...a good sandwich or meal of quaility for a fair price promotes sales..just saying..

SmokinBobs
02-13-2013, 07:44 AM
Thanks for the input! I am new to the BBQ business so I am trying to get a following and the supermarket owner suggested something at a bargain at first then after a few times getting away from givin out free stuff. The free hot dogs for kids the market is donating and yes I am getting the meat from the market at cost. I thought of the just selling until I ran out but I wasn't sure how that would be taken from the consumers.

Goddahavit
02-13-2013, 08:00 AM
You don't want to be the cheap guy, or the it was free last week guy, hard to raise your prices after setting that example.

Smokin' D
02-13-2013, 09:03 AM
^^^^What he said. I would charge for the meat and sell till you, hopefully, run out.

landarc
02-13-2013, 09:32 AM
I wouldn't worry about selling out just yet. I'd be more worried about selling in general. The odd thing about BBQ, is that while folks get irritated that you're sold out, it seems to draw them back to try what you sold out of.

Out here, the gateway meat is pulled pork, a decent $5 pulled pork sandwich is how you build business. Brisket is a tougher sell.

cynfulsmokersbbq
02-13-2013, 12:16 PM
Is the store also letting you sell beverages?

I don't work with our local store b/c they have their own deli, and try to sell some of their own product. They also want to sell the beverages and they want me to use their meat, which I feel is a lower quality than Sam's clubs and just as expensive at "their" costs.

Be careful with the meat you use. You may be an amazing cook, but if they are giving you substandard meat, or perhaps pork cushion instead of pork shoulder then you will spend more and have to work twice as hard to build your reputation.

In trying to build a customer following, if the first 50 sandwiches you sell are fatty, or grisly, taste tough or are anything but amazing, you are in trouble.

Lastly, you are the BBQ professional, You are the BBQ entrepenuer, You are the Pit Master, Don't let the Store dictate the rules to you. You can work with them, but You need to be in charge of ground rules like freebies and such.

I did this once with a flea market, I pulled out after three of the six months it was open. It was not worth my time or money to attempt to work with someone who'd never picked up a thermo-pen to tell me how my business would be more successful, yet listen and watch them try to cost me $$$'s.

I apologize for the ramble
Hopefully their is one or two things in this ramble of my experiences you can use.
Mark

SmokinBobs
02-13-2013, 12:47 PM
Yes, they are letting me sell drinks also. And luckily we both buy from the same meat wholesaler, so I know I am getting good product. Again, thanks for all the advice!!!

HBMTN
02-13-2013, 08:40 PM
My normal concessions spot is by a supermarket and I sell about 100lbs raw pork from 11am until 3-5pm on any given Saturday. Sandwiches, dinners and by the pound.

themidniteryder
02-13-2013, 10:00 PM
Yes, they are letting me sell drinks also. And luckily we both buy from the same meat wholesaler, so I know I am getting good product. Again, thanks for all the advice!!!

To enhance on what Cynful said, you might both buy from the same wholesaler, but that doesn't mean anything. If you are buying from the store "at their cost" are you not getting it at the same cost when you buy direct from the wholesaler? I am betting the market is padding a little in for themselves. When it comes to business, nothing is free (or "at cost").

Another point is you have no control over what the market does to the meat before you take possession of it. Did it set out and get a little too warm? Did a sick employee handle it before it got passed to you? Yes, the same things could of happened anywhere along the line from the slaughter house to you taking possession of it. But the more middlemen you can take out of the equation, the better off you are. This is YOUR reputation at stake.

I do custom ordered smoking, and at no point have I ever, or will I ever, let a customer provide any meat or ingredients, you just don't know where they have been.

cynfulsmokersbbq
02-14-2013, 09:11 AM
My normal concessions spot is by a supermarket and I sell about 100lbs raw pork from 11am until 3-5pm on any given Saturday. Sandwiches, dinners and by the pound.


I'm curious what is the food/bbq market is like in Fairfield? Population? are there other places to get a Saturday meal? Are you also close to a major highway? knowing these things may help Smokin Bob's decision.

You are serving about 150 sandwiches a Saturday. You've built a very good reputation! Nice Job!

SmokinBobs
02-14-2013, 10:04 AM
Very good point, and I agree. Luckily I was able to go into the fridge with him and I get the meat before the store handles it, just as it was from the wholesaler. I am thinking 100lb raw pork, 20 slabs of ribs, and about 70lb of raw brisket. I am optimistic for sure, but only one way to find out! I will let ya'll know the outcome next week!

HBMTN
02-14-2013, 06:20 PM
I'm curious what is the food/bbq market is like in Fairfield? Population? are there other places to get a Saturday meal? Are you also close to a major highway? knowing these things may help Smokin Bob's decision.

You are serving about 150 sandwiches a Saturday. You've built a very good reputation! Nice Job!


I set up beside Kroger and the town population is about 5000 in Lexington about 9 miles from Fairfield. There is a Subway, Mexican, Wendy's, Italian, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC right on the strip where I set up.

I think a lot of my success is that I don't set up every weekend. I use it when I am not catering and people come get it when they can. So it might drive my sales up for this reason. It is usually about once every 5 or 6 weeks.

cynfulsmokersbbq
02-15-2013, 11:04 AM
Very good point, and I agree. Luckily I was able to go into the fridge with him and I get the meat before the store handles it, just as it was from the wholesaler. I am thinking 100lb raw pork, 20 slabs of ribs, and about 70lb of raw brisket. I am optimistic for sure, but only one way to find out! I will let ya'll know the outcome next week!


Keep us informed! I love to hear vending success stories!!
Good Luck!!

cynfulsmokersbbq
02-15-2013, 11:06 AM
I set up beside Kroger and the town population is about 5000 in Lexington about 9 miles from Fairfield. There is a Subway, Mexican, Wendy's, Italian, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC right on the strip where I set up.

I think a lot of my success is that I don't set up every weekend. I use it when I am not catering and people come get it when they can. So it might drive my sales up for this reason. It is usually about once every 5 or 6 weeks.

Thanks for the info. I always find vending success stories very fascinating! Love to hear them, and love to hear how vendors approached them!

What hours are you open? Did you approach Kroegers, or did they approach you?

SmokinBobs
02-18-2013, 03:35 PM
Had a great turn out for the first time there, not to mention it was 33 F outside that day. Sold about half of what I cooked which wasn't too bad. The good news is that the owner has asked me to come every Saturday!
Thanks for the input!

landarc
02-18-2013, 04:20 PM
Thanks for reporting back, sounds like you got some good info to move forward with

Bbq Bubba
02-18-2013, 04:31 PM
Had a great turn out for the first time there, not to mention it was 33 F outside that day. Sold about half of what I cooked which wasn't too bad. The good news is that the owner has asked me to come every Saturday!
Thanks for the input!

What are you required for permits there?

SmokinBobs
02-18-2013, 06:53 PM
What are you required for permits there?
City license and health inspected.

HBMTN
02-19-2013, 07:02 PM
What hours are you open? Did you approach Kroegers, or did they approach you?

They would not let a someone set up and sell but I have a friend who owns the business beside the Kroger and as luck would have it there is a section of the Kroger parking lot that belongs to my friends auto business and he lets me set up on his portion of the lot.

Motley Q
02-22-2013, 03:05 PM
You didn't answer the one main question

Did you make money worth your time?

And what did you do with the meat you didn't sell?

SmokinBobs
02-27-2013, 09:12 AM
You didn't answer the one main question

Did you make money worth your time?

And what did you do with the meat you didn't sell?

Yes, its was worth my time. I am a new business so all the 'being seen' helps. This place has a lot of potential.
Good thing for me I have a lot of buddy's that bought the meat I didn't sell at a discount.

BigBellyBBQ
02-28-2013, 01:09 AM
Yes, its was worth my time. I am a new business so all the 'being seen' helps. This place has a lot of potential.
Good thing for me I have a lot of buddy's that bought the meat I didn't sell at a discount.
carefull, the buddy routine does not work, get your left overs properly frozen and work that into your next deal..or hold till you need a sold out early back up..

SmokinBobs
02-28-2013, 11:59 AM
carefull, the buddy routine does not work, get your left overs properly frozen and work that into your next deal..or hold till you need a sold out early back up..


thanks