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View Full Version : Sales Debate with my wife.


HBMTN
08-20-2013, 03:18 PM
I like to sell sliders or mini sandwiches. My thought is that there are some people that will not spend for a whole sandwich without knowing it is good or not.

My wife thinks we cut ourselves out of a full sale by selling sliders. She says if we did not offer them they would buy the full sandwich We get $5 at a festival for a sandwich and $2.75 for a slider.

What do you all think? Honestly we are so busy selling that we don't get a chance to monitor whether they come back for a full sandwich or not after getting the sliders so I don't know if it is benefiting or cutting sales.

marubozo
08-20-2013, 03:46 PM
What is the profit margin on each product at those prices? Knowing that will help determine which course of action to take.

If the slider is just as profitable (in terms of margin based on cost) then there's not much harm done in keeping them on the menu unless you can be certain that by offering two sizes that people are flocking to the smaller one when they otherwise would have probably bought the full size if they didn't have a choice.

The problem is that it's hypothetical until you test it. It's true, you can make the argument that your wife has and you're reducing the total number of dollars made if people opt for the small when they otherwise would have paid for the big. At the same time you can make your argument that says if you only have the one large sandwich, people may pass altogether, resulting in no sale at all.

But like you pointed out, you aren't keeping track right now, so it's hard to stay who is right. So I'd start by looking at how profitable each item is and go from there. If the slider has a much smaller margin, then it might make sense to drop it and focus on the one sandwich. Or maybe the slider has higher margins, which could offset the possibility that a few people are choosing that over the full size.

bizznessman
08-20-2013, 05:40 PM
First problem: You are in a debate with your Wife!!! :wink:

Marubozo is spot on with the analysis. Follow his guidance and you will figure out what is most profitable and hence which way to go.

We had a similar issue with offering "full plates" or selling menu items ala carte. We found that our margin was lower on the "plate" price and many people didn't want all of what we were offering on the "plate". So we now sell individual menu items only. YMMV

Pyle's BBQ
08-20-2013, 06:59 PM
Would 2 sliders cost you the same as one sandwich? If that is the case, you are making $.50 more on the sliders at the same cost. You have to know what your cost is, that is what we preach in this section. Does you wife know the cost of each?

I am selling sliders for $3.50 at the farmer's markets I do. People like the smaller sandwich. I think if you charge $3 for sliders and $5 for a full sandwich and see what sells better.

Bbq Bubba
08-27-2013, 07:18 AM
$5 for a sammie??? Stop giving away your food bro!

dwfisk
08-27-2013, 07:27 AM
My $0.02 is from the perspective of a buyer. Assuming you do the math and figure our the margins on each product and get your pricing right first, I would rather have the option of buying slider(s). Two points: if I'm not really hungry, I would get a slider just to have a taste but would pass on a larger sandwich; if I am hungry, I would get 2 or 3 different sliders (i.e., pork chicken & brisket) to fill up and get variety.

kurtsara
08-27-2013, 05:32 PM
$5 for a sammie??? Stop giving away your food bro!


So what should a 4 oz. pulled pork sandwich sell for?

Hawg Father of Seoul
08-27-2013, 05:37 PM
Dude, if you are selling out... don't change, but I would add a bag of cheap chips and charge $7.

HBMTN
08-29-2013, 02:46 PM
$5 for a sammie??? Stop giving away your food bro!


I'm higher than cost x3 at $5

landarc
08-29-2013, 02:59 PM
One of the factors is also sharing.

Out here, many restaurants have embraced sliders as a means of selling the same amount of meat, but, in smaller, more easily shared portions. There are a lot of folks that will pass on a larger sandwich for dietary or appearance reasons, but, will eat a slider readily. Price points to entry are every bit as valid as total price of each sale. In truth if you are charging $2.75 for a single slider, that is 1/2 of a large $5 sandwich, and you are using exactly the same food costs, you are better off selling sliders. That is the math out here.

RangerJ
08-29-2013, 04:48 PM
I've gone back and forth on this as currently, we are set up right outside BBVA Compass Stadium.

My envisioned Que joint is kind of more food truck / trailer right now and people sort of like the "finger food" aspect of a slider.

Girls can share, they don't look at it as a full meal, etc. That being said, slider buns around here add to my COG's. its .05 cents more per slider bun, then a regular bun. So, currently its sandwiches or by the pound.

And $7.00 per 5oz sandwich sells all day long.

mikeleonard81
08-29-2013, 08:11 PM
I think a 4 oz. sammie is a good deal for you and the customer at 6$. I don't know if 5 is covering your "x3" method. But if it's working for you in your neck of the woods I wouldn't change. I am curious about the sliders. If you do some research and find out if you or her is right will you please let us know how it turned out either way?

OL' Timer
08-29-2013, 09:55 PM
We sell 4 oz for $4.50 including tax which exceeds our cost times 3 by $.18 cents each. My Boston butts cost me $1.03 per pound

marubozo
08-29-2013, 11:01 PM
Man, I want to eat where you guys are serving 4 and 5 dollar sammies. Around here, even 7 bucks at any of the corner BBQ shacks will only get you one of the worst pulled pork sandwiches you've ever put in your mouth.

IamMadMan
08-30-2013, 06:26 AM
First problem: You are in a debate with your Wife!!!

They say there are two theories to arguing with a woman.....
... Unfortunately neither one works..

IamMadMan
08-30-2013, 06:36 AM
For sandwiches only...

Congers Smoke Shack in San Antonio sells Sandwiches for $6.00
Platter with 2 sides is $9.00

Franklin's in Austin sells Sandwiches for $7.00
Platter with 2 sides is $12.00

They both open for Lunch only and close when sold out, main difference is the smoke shack virtually has no overhead as the trailer is parked under the inner loop overpass, where Franklin's is a building.

RangerJ
08-30-2013, 09:02 AM
For sandwiches only...

Congers Smoke Shack in San Antonio sells Sandwiches for $6.00
Platter with 2 sides is $9.00

Franklin's in Austin sells Sandwiches for $7.00
Platter with 2 sides is $12.00

They both open for Lunch only and close when sold out, main difference is the smoke shack virtually has no overhead as the trailer is parked under the inner loop overpass, where Franklin's is a building.

Are we talking Pork? Because Brisket at Franklin's and La Barbeque where John Lewis works, these are both $8.00 Sandwiches. My mind processes things different down here in Texas because even as transient as Houston is and as good as I think my pork is, the first and biggest seller is the brisket.

BB-Kuhn
08-30-2013, 09:54 AM
If the sliders are profitable to sell, who cares? A sale is a sale. I'm with you - get people hooked on the food any way you can, they'll pay full price next time. It's not like you are going to have repeat customers who only buy a 2.50 slider. But even if you did, as long as it costs less to make than that (it should) who cares?

If not, you need to adjust your prices so you make money on the slider. It doesn't have to be a huge money maker, but you don't give them away for a loss.

Especially at fests, or anywhere with multiple vendors for that matter - lots of people like to have a small taste of a lot of different places' food. They don't want to have 10 choices and have to settle for just one because nobody sells small sample portions.

Keep them on the menu - it will put your food in more people's mouths, letting more people become customers for next time and that is the key to success.

bbqsisterofthebrethren
08-30-2013, 12:09 PM
You say that you don't know how many of each you sell because you are too busy. Here is a very simple way to your counting problem if you do not have a cash register with separate keys for each food item you sell.
Before each shift, count the buns for each sandwich (full size and slider). If you have any waste (less than perfect bun or, God forbid, a returned product), place them in a container to use for bread pudding or something. This is inventory that needs to be counted and not wasted. If you have returned product, put that in a different container so you know the count.
At the end of each shift, count the number of each bun left and subtract any waste you saved. You have your sales on each type of sandwich. Throw away any soiled bun waste and save the good bread for puddin you can sell for additional profit.

trambone
09-02-2013, 12:02 AM
If you increase the price of a full sandwich and lower the slider price you'll increase sales on sliders.

Jacked UP BBQ
09-02-2013, 09:59 PM
I'm higher than cost x3 at $5
r
that is not even possible unless you are selling sliders for 5

Jacked UP BBQ
09-02-2013, 10:00 PM
sandwich only vending 7-9 all day

bizznessman
09-02-2013, 11:03 PM
If you are already at greater than x3 on both products then you could give a coupon to all those that purchase a Slider for "x" amount off of the next purchase of a full Sammie. This is a method we use to track how our "promotional" items work. Number of coupons redeemed tells us how many people decided the promo item was good enough to come back for the "full sized" version. We get close to 100% redemption. :-D Once you do some data analysis you can decide which items are more beneficial and subsequently drop the coupon promotion.

If your cost allows, you could try $1 off the next "full Sammie" purchase. (I only suggest the $1 amount since we try to keep all of our prices at even dollar amounts to avoid making coin change....we include tax in our price as well). You might even try moving your Slider price up to an even $3 to help offset the coupon redemption cost.

Is your $5/$2.75 pricing for the sandwiches only? No chips, etc included? Just curious since our price is for a Sammie ONLY. ALL sides are priced a la carte.

HBMTN
09-03-2013, 07:47 PM
r
that is not even possible unless you are selling sliders for 5

Very possible here

Pork cost me $1.29lb x 2 at 50% yield $2.58lb cooked that is $0.86 for a 1/3lb, bun costs me $0.19 So I have $1.05 in a 1/3lb pork sandwich not counting the minor cost in rub or sauce.

Yes bizznessman just for a sandwich $5

southernsmoker
09-04-2013, 11:00 AM
No, dont bother, why double your work load for the same outcome,imho

AZScott
09-04-2013, 12:33 PM
I only vend at 2 events and both of them pull massive amounts of people looking to eat. My first goal is money and the second is for my food to be better than everyone else's. If I'm at an event and it is slammed with people waiting in line all over why in the world would you intentionally reduce your gross profit? That is the only thing you are doing by offering an item with a great food cost but with an absolutely horrible gross profit. Think lean, mean, super efficient money making machine without cutting corners..

Lets say for a slider your estimated total cost (labor, fuel, wood, entry, paper goods, insurance, fuel, meals, etc) is 1.40 and you sell it for 3.00 so you walk with 1.60 profit on each and a little hope they won't get full elsewhere and come back to you. Cool. Now lets say you sell a full size sandwich for $7.00. Now lets assume that we are at a 1/3 pound and the estimated total cost is 2.50 or 36%. You just made $4.50 per sandwich. You have to sell 2.8 sliders to make the same gross profit. You will also notice the total cost margin per slider is higher since your overhead costs stay static. If you see two people are going to eat one sandwich you can always offer to cut it in half.

A restaurant will use sliders as an appetizer to share since they do not rely on hope that they will come back and buy more. They know you will get a soda and order a full meal and possibly a desert. Vending, I assume that I have one shot and one shot only since it is rare to get many repeat customers at a food focused vending event. You need to find what you want to make and then figure out the easiest and quickest way to get there. Going cheap may be the easiest but its not the quickest and it increases the risk of not making your money back. The 3 X food cost is a simple concept that is easy to undrstand but the money is made with gross profit. If you want a cheap item on the menu decide what the minimum amount of many is that you want to make per customer. If it's 4.00 get some ~1/4# sausage at < $4 a pound and put it on a stick and sell it for $5.00. People like stuff on sticks.

Someone mentioned Franklin so let's use him as an example. Brisket is by far his biggest seller and it has the worst food cost margin on the menu, other than a beef short rib on Saturdays. he charges 17 a pound but his meat cost is more than likely ~3.35 a pound with a 45% to 50% yield or a prepared food cost of 7.44 a pound before rub, wood, sauce, etc come into play. They sell brisket for $17 a pound so his gross profit is 9.56 per pound sold but he has a food cost of 43%. That food cost % looks bad but when you are selling 1500 pounds of meat a day (not sure if that is precook weight) you are absolutely killing it compared to a taco shop selling street tacos with a 16% food cost serving just as many people. Those are my thoughts anyways.

BigBellyBBQ
09-05-2013, 02:50 AM
Very possible here

Pork cost me $1.29lb x 2 at 50% yield $2.58lb cooked that is $0.86 for a 1/3lb, bun costs me $0.19 So I have $1.05 in a 1/3lb pork sandwich not counting the minor cost in rub or sauce.

Yes bizznessman just for a sandwich $5


You have to think also about how much time it takes to:
1)purchase your food
2) prep your food
3)cook your food, wood, tins, cooker repairs
4)clean up costs, time-cleaners,soaps,towels, water
5)fuel to get to event
6)insurance cost
7)sales tax from the 5 bucks or is it plus tax?
8)incidental break downs, a blown trailer tire will cost you 175
(9) and every other thing that costs!!!!

5 bucks a sammie is toooo cheap..you have alot more into than 1.05

Jacked UP BBQ
09-05-2013, 07:41 AM
Very possible here

Pork cost me $1.29lb x 2 at 50% yield $2.58lb cooked that is $0.86 for a 1/3lb, bun costs me $0.19 So I have $1.05 in a 1/3lb pork sandwich not counting the minor cost in rub or sauce.

Yes bizznessman just for a sandwich $5

You are selling yourself short. That is all I am telling you. I sell a lot of food, $5 for a sandwich is way too cheap. Not only that, unless you are weighing each one, you leave no room for error.

bizznessman
09-05-2013, 08:39 AM
I agree with JackedUp and BigBelly. IMHO you need to increase your sammie price. We sell ours for $7 (they do get some chips with that but the cost is negligible). But the decision is ultimately yours.

Lake Dogs
09-05-2013, 09:59 AM
You have to think also about how much time it takes to:
1)purchase your food
2) prep your food
3)cook your food, wood, tins, cooker repairs
4)clean up costs, time-cleaners,soaps,towels, water
5)fuel to get to event
6)insurance cost
7)sales tax from the 5 bucks or is it plus tax?
8)incidental break downs, a blown trailer tire will cost you 175
(9) and every other thing that costs!!!!

5 bucks a sammie is toooo cheap..you have alot more into than 1.05


Missed in the above list (which has indirect costs and ****-happens costs) are actual direct costs:
1. Rubs. They can add a few cents or more to every sammy.
2. Injections.
3. Foil?
4. Fuel (for the smoker). I dont know about you, but my Lang likes to EAT.
5. Ice. (I dont know about you, but I put my butts on ice when transporting them)


Is it served on a plate? In a wrapping of some kind? More $$$. El-cheapo utensils? More $$$.


I ran some numbers for my wife a few months ago when she wanted to volunteer to do this as a fund raiser for the booster club. I showed her that they'd have to sell these for $7 each just to make a little money, and I mean it was a little for a LOT of effort and work.

I'll see if I cant find it.

Lake Dogs
09-05-2013, 10:08 AM
I cant seem to find the spread sheet, but I did find some totals that I sent to her. The pork costs were very similar to yours. I added in cost for fuel, injections, rubs, foil, plates, and we had a little cost in tater chips...

Final/Total Cost Per Plate:

20 butts, sell 280 sandwiches $ 2.50

18 butts, sell 252 sandwiches $ 2.55

16 butts, sell 224 sandwiches $ 2.65

14 butts, sell 196 sandwiches $ 2.70

12 butts, sell 168 sandwiches $ 2.85

10 butts, sell 140 sandwiches $ 3.00

8 butts, sell 112 sandwiches $ 3.25

6 butts, sell 84 sandwiches $ 3.70

4 butts, sell 56 sandwiches $ 4.50


I had factored in my rub and injection, foil (because I foil them and rest them), fuel for the smoker, ice to ice down the butts in transportation and until we begin the cook. You can tell, with only a few butts the overhead/fixed costs hurt...

A real cost that's not in this is the cost of the left-over unused things. If you have extra buns unsold, and cant sell them tomorrow (for example), that cost gets factored back into the whole. We save and use the extra meat, so there's no costs there... Look to whatever else is like this. Extra un-used sauce perhaps? Spillage? There's costs in this.

HBMTN
09-05-2013, 09:35 PM
I do get what you guys are trying to say and when I go up north or near the city I see the prices like you all are quoting. But here in rural VA $7 for just a pork sandwich would not fly. We charge $0.50 for a slaw topper to go on a sandwich and you would not believe how many people want it but won't go for that. I will try to take your advice and maybe raise the price a little at a time and monitor sales.

BigBellyBBQ
09-06-2013, 01:42 AM
go in real simple terms. Start with out anything...and go to an event...I know this is all bs however it is a real eye opener...To go to an event for the first time what would you need? Considering your cooker is all prepped and ready to go, insurance paid etc..just all your supplies..and write down the amount of time it takes you to round up also..Now take ALL the items your require to make the sales for the day and you will see the numbers are in the area of Lake Dogs notes and alot more. yes you will have some supplies left over HOWEVER you have to pay for them! Sysco or Rest depot require a check and then I have to front the money..Charge what ever you want, however when it is good stuff, you will not hear complaints about price..

BigBellyBBQ
09-06-2013, 03:13 AM
quick example...I left the house at 8 am to pick up 12 butts and 10 briskets. So the time has to be factored in. Arrived back home, made some coffee and started to prep meats, make injection, split a few pieces of firewood, change out a propane bottle (my southern pride has propane assist), make a batch of rub and place in cooker..It is now 130...Now I start making sauces , which are just blended comercial, prep for party for next day and clean up...I finally sit down about 330 and have a beer..reload firebox about 6 and pull out at 11..put meat in electric fridge (electric another bill) to prep for serving the next day, as the meal will consist of 250 1/2 of chicken and 350 pork or brisket sandwiches...but the point is to make 350 sandwiches I put in several hours and I still cant serve...so how much is your time worth? I know I am slow!!

BigBellyBBQ
09-06-2013, 03:14 AM
quick example...I left the house at 8 am to pick up 12 butts and 10 briskets. So the time has to be factored in. Arrived back home, made some coffee and started to prep meats, make injection, split a few pieces of firewood, change out a propane bottle (my southern pride has propane assist), make a batch of rub and place in cooker..It is now 130...Now I start making sauces , which are just blended comercial, prep for party for next day and clean up...I finally sit down about 330 and have a beer..reload firebox about 6 and pull out at 11..put meat in electric fridge (electric another bill) to prep for serving the next day, as the meal will consist of 250 1/2 of chicken and 350 pork or brisket sandwiches...but the point is to make 350 sandwiches I put in several hours and I still cant serve...so how much is your time worth? I know I am slow!!

HBMTN
09-06-2013, 02:36 PM
I'm with ya BigBelly and I feel like my time is worth more just like you are saying. What has me scratching my head is that it seems like the posts on this thread as a majority say I am charging too cheap. Yet all the research that I did before going in to business 4 years ago along with what I have seen here and in books I have read is that the food cost (food ingredients only) should be 25-33% of the cost of the meal and cost x 3 gets you in the ball park. If this is incorrect or an outdated formula, is there another that you all use that is better? Or what formula do you use to say $7-9 for a sandwich? Just trying to learn here, so please don't take this wrong. If I can get by with charging more I sure believe what I am doing is worth it.

marubozo
09-06-2013, 02:52 PM
I have read is that the food cost (food ingredients only) should be 25-33% of the cost of the meal and cost x 3 gets you in the ball park. If this is incorrect or an outdated formula, is there another that you all use that is better?

The 3x or 25-33% food cost formula is a baseline number to ensure you're profitable, not how you come up with your maximum sale price. If you can keep food costs at around 30% or lower, you're almost sure to make money at the end of the day. But that in no way should be used as a cap for how much you charge. You should charge what the market will pay.

Now if your market can only sustain a $5 sandwich, then that's what you should charge. But without testing, or knowing the market, who knows, maybe you could sell just as many at 6 or 7?

Hawg Father of Seoul
09-06-2013, 08:57 PM
When I was in food service I knew that at 29-32 food cost some one was being wasteful and found the source every time. below 24% some one was recycling too much or being a little tight fisted with portions.

Takes a lot of work to get a menu that tight, but makes managing SO much easier.

bizznessman
09-06-2013, 10:57 PM
The 3x or 25-33% food cost formula is a baseline number to ensure you're profitable, not how you come up with your maximum sale price. If you can keep food costs at around 30% or lower, you're almost sure to make money at the end of the day. But that in no way should be used as a cap for how much you charge. You should charge what the market will pay.

Now if your market can only sustain a $5 sandwich, then that's what you should charge. But without testing, or knowing the market, who knows, maybe you could sell just as many at 6 or 7?


I believe what we are all trying to say is to find out what your true total costs are. A lot of folks will overlook what they believe to be incidental food costs (sauce, rub spices, injections, etc). These add up over volume and eat away at profits if not calculated in. Also be sure to track ALL of your operating expenses (napkins, cleaning supplies, catering travel costs, equipment maintenance, etc). These can also eat away at profit, based off of retail prices, if not known up front or controlled throughout operation.

And marubozo is spot on by saying that the 2-3X formula is only a baseline to start out with. And his statement about "what your market will sustain" is very true. But don't sell yourself short. Try bumping the price a bit and see what the result is. If you lose a few sales but the increase in gross exceeds those losses then you are not at your max price yet.

Bottom line there is not set formula. Use the research you have done, the advice given by others, test your market and find out what works in your niche.

BigBellyBBQ
09-07-2013, 12:40 AM
before I roll out in the morniing, I tracked Friday and I paid myself 25 per hr (yeah right) on paper and my helper... I have 2.92 into 350 sandwiches..and these still have to be transported with cooking trailer, at 10 mpg and served...but the biggest thing is to get what you deserve and serve a honest good sandwich for a fair price...Yesterday I had to stop at mc d's for my helper and me to grab a maintenence meal...it was 12 bucks for inferior food...but I paid it..so I have a good feeling asking a fair price for my real cooked meal that takes all night to get ready not slam ..bam..ding burgers ready!!

acguy
09-11-2013, 07:04 PM
A few years ago we were vending tritip sandwiches. Price was $7. We weren't real thrilled with the result. Two weeks later we decided to cut the sandwich in half and raise the price to $4. Sales increased about 10%. Could be lots of reasons for the increase. Best example I could think of.

PanamaExpat
09-13-2013, 10:12 AM
They say there are two theories to arguing with a woman.....
... Unfortunately neither one works..

Works even less if your wife happens to be a lawyer.