View Full Version : Starting a restaurant-the process

09-27-2013, 04:02 PM
Ok so I know I started another thread but thought I'd start this one to keep everyone updated on the process of it all. Maybe someone will learn along the way or maybe someone can give advice along the way. Either one sounds good to me!

So for anyone who hasn't read my other posts here's what's going on. We decided it would be great to start a restaurant. The original idea was to start smaller and have a mobile kitchen unit but things fell into place where it was smarter for us to do the restaurant thing. We have found a building and man does it need some work. It's white walls white floors and white ceilings with lots of glass. It's a little too diner right now and needs some work. But that's the easy part.

The hard part is the kitchen, this building is 30 years old and it's been sitting for the last 9 years it's in GREAT condition for sitting so long. It's got a custom 13' hood that's pretty nice and it's got a walk in cooler and freezer and that's it. I mention the cooler and freezer bc we learned today the nightmare that is them. The people who put them there before literally put them in the middle of the kitchen butted up to the hood. WHY?!? We are working with someone to see if we can change that. I HAVE to get you guys pictures because it's a strange set up. But the price is right on the building. We know how to do a lot of stuff ourselves and we've had a lot of help so far.

The health dept where we are at are VERY thorough before I can even start remodeling I have to submit detailed plans including every detail of the remodel. We have to list every food item where we are getting it from how it is packaged and where it will be stored. Luckily we are getting that underway right now. We are most likely going to be using US Foods and so far they have been very helpful. We have a lot to do and are hoping to get it done quickly but it will be RIGHT first and foremost. You only get once chance at a first impression and we don't want to blow it.

This will be a full service restaurant and we have the menu tentatively done i'm sure there will be tweaking. I will try to get pictures and the menu done for you all to see tonight. We have formed our llc we have opened business accounts and done all of that fun stuff so at least we are moving in the right direction. Hoping to get a smoker in the next week that will be large enough. ANY suggestions. We are looking at one in Georgia from custom pits and fabrication and they've been reasonable and helpful. As always we love suggestions!

Bbq Bubba
09-27-2013, 08:38 PM
What kind of pit are you looking at?

Most opt for a Ole Hickory or Southern Pride.

Pyle's BBQ
09-28-2013, 01:07 AM
Good luck with your venture.

When you say a full service restaurant, do you mean you have a wait staff and separate cook staff?

I forgot to say. More pictures please!!!!!

09-28-2013, 09:22 AM
Yes there will be a small wait and cook staff. I am trying to get pictures from my phone on to here. I'll figure it out soon I'm sure.

10-04-2013, 11:16 AM
Is there a brethren that would be a good mentor for a start up BBQ restaurant that has already started that you guys could recommend ?

10-04-2013, 07:21 PM
Is there a brethren that would be a good mentor for a start up BBQ restaurant that has already started that you guys could recommend ?

Check out this thread:

Also, Landarc would probably be a good man to talk to.

10-04-2013, 07:41 PM
Southern Pride or something that is automatic for a cooker where you can get some sleep. Staying up all night and trying to run a restaurant 5-6 days a week would be rough. I cook 2-3 nights a week plus work a 40hr a week job and don't think I can last much longer without going automatic.

Pyle's BBQ
10-04-2013, 09:23 PM
Is there a brethren that would be a good mentor for a start up BBQ restaurant that has already started that you guys could recommend ?

You can start a thread here with your questions or PM me. I have been open a year and a half.

10-07-2013, 04:21 PM
Well have been so busy lately haven't had time to update... Been a long week and a half. Paperwork is not my thing and that's all we've been dealing with. We had someone come in and plan the restaurant's layout and that went well. We had to have spec sheets on every item we were considering buying before we could begin the health dept process. Had to tell them how every item would be stored and who the vendors would be. Very very detailed. All we were wanting was an initial inspection to make sure everything that IS there is up to code. So met the health dept inspector today to submit plans. Of course he told us that although a smoker did not HAVE to be NSF certified it would be better if it is. Now we are rethinking what kind of smoker we want. Not wanting a giant GIANT expense but seems like it will be less of a headache to just got with an NSF certified smoker. We have to attend a couple of classes for kitchen safety management. Lots of little things that add up to a giant headache but everyone around here is already buzzing about the possibility of a bbq restaurant in town. Can't do anything in a small town especially when your new restaurant is in front of the police station.

Picked out new flooring for the building and I promise to have pictures of the current state of the building tonight. Just have been too busy researching and meeting with everyone to do much else. We have two small kids on top of it all and one started school recently and let me tell you that may be more of a headache than the restaurant. :wink:

And yes, we know we're crazy but when opportunity knocks you better answer or someone else will....

The worst part is with all of the meetings there hasn't been much smoking going on the last few days... :cry:

10-17-2013, 08:35 PM
I have decided my phone is trying to drive me off the deep end. I can't seem to get it to let me upload any pictures. Tried emailing them and they don't seem to attach. I will try to find my camera and get pictures on that.

In the mean time I could use some help.. Anyone have any experience with ole hickory pits. I've been looking into them and can't decide on a model. I think a front loader would be smarter for my set up just don't know if anyone has any pros and cons on these smokers. Any and all advice is welcome.

10-17-2013, 08:42 PM
Check out this thread:

Also, Landarc would probably be a good man to talk to.
Thanks Chris, but, no I would not. I have experience cooking, and as a part of teams that have built food service facilities. I would listen to BBQ Bubba, HBMTN, Jacked Up, and Pyle's BBQ. To name just a few. Those guys are the ones I would reach out to, if I ever wanted to get back into cooking for a living. They are the pro's.

10-22-2013, 01:58 PM
Ole Hickory Pits are the best in my opinion. Just ordered my 2nd and hope to do more business with them. Started out with a CTO for our concession trailer for vending and competition. Just ordered and EL as our operation is growing at an alarming rate. Product is great and more importantly their service is top notch. Margaret in sales handles the northeast, call her and ask for the manuals on the models you are looking into. She is more then knowlegable and helpful. Tell her the handsome devil sent you. Service guys are great and even replied to a question I had after hours on the weekend. You will not be disappointed. On the competition side a 1st, 3 3rd place finishes and a peoples choice award using the CTO this year. When you order an EL or larger it is shipped direct from Ole Hickory, a rep will deliver, show you how to operate and maintain. When I called around other vendors were offering drop shipment at a terminal. Granted it was cheaper but in my opinon you are talking about your reputation/product. I will pay extra to receive the knowledge I need to operate the machine at its best ability.

fyi, a company in long island recently acquired the RUB bbq stores in NYC. They have 6 JR Manufacturing 250RFS and only need 2. Nice units, brand new $24k. Believe they are asking $8k for one used. I was entertaining the idea because of the savings but couldn't sway from Ole Hickory. I have their contact info if you want it.

11-13-2013, 08:18 PM
http://i869.photobucket.com/albums/ab256/Ahannif/IMAG0539_zps6e4f5026.jpgPictures FINALLY figured this out! And no the smoker in this picture won't be there in the future!!

11-13-2013, 08:19 PM

11-13-2013, 08:21 PM

11-14-2013, 07:37 AM
Meant to also update. We ended up going with the Ole Hickory EL because of a few factors got it and it's in great condition.

11-14-2013, 10:20 AM
Congrats on jumping in. The place looks nice. We opened Q-To-U-BBQ on 7-1-10 and are considering a second location. When we took over our location, it was totally stripped. I found a small 10 x 10 walk in, had a new hood built and searched craigslist for the line items.

My only advise right now is look at the walk in. I was talked into a used fan condenser unit and I would not do that again. I just replaced both the roof condenser and three fan unit in the walk in. That was after throwing a lot of money to keep that old thing going for the last three years. It is a bigger nightmare when you have a walk in full of food to replace everything. So take a good look at the cooling part. Hope it is insulated well, as then hottest part of your kitchen (The Line) is connected to the walk in???

Best of luck


11-14-2013, 10:57 AM
Yeah it's insulated well. I did heating and air in my pre restaurant days so pretty good with figuring out all the refrigeration stuff. Knew all that work would come in handy one day! Unfortunately we can't figure out what the people were thinking putting the hottest part next to the coldest part. So I'm sure we will pay a small fortune dealing with that. OK the coolest part of this building? My grandfather managed this place 30 years ago and was my dad's first job. It's got character! Although it will look completely different VERY soon. We went to an auction a few weeks ago and got quite a few pieces of equipment and all the tables and chairs for a steal. Flooring in the dining area will be changed. The windows will all be tinted because you couldn't sit in the front without sunglasses it's so bright and would cost a small fortune to keep cool in the summer. Where you see the bar area we will be installing a wall between that and the kitchen to block it off and create a serving area. We cut a spot in the bar area today to make it easier for flow for servers to come and go the bar top will OF COURSE be changed. I will try to get more pictures but I have to say i'm ashamed how long it took me to figure out how to put an image on here. Working on a logo as well. DID I MENTION THERE'S A MILLION THINGS TO DO?!?!? Every time I check something off 5 more things seem to be added to the list. The serving area I have in the picture is actually only half of what's there there is another mirror image of that on the other side of the building so we will be able to seat app. 80-90 people. The two doors you see on the cooler connected to the line will also no longer be there.

Hawg Father of Seoul
11-14-2013, 11:52 PM
Yeah the guys who installed that walk in thought they were clever. Guess no one ever showed them a reach in or refrigerated drawers. We have utilized an upright refrigerator on a line before when it made sense, but come on with those doors.

Is is possible to move the walk in outside? I know the kitchen looks big compared to the seating, but if you get a large catering/take out business going it is small.

11-16-2013, 10:19 AM
No it's not possible but the smoker will be housed outside.

11-28-2013, 10:08 PM
Having a restaurant business is a rewarding one. Starting a new restaurant can sometimes be a risky business venture, but I guess, with the right planning, financing and plenty of hard work , it will definitely earn a lot of profit:)