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Signal 10 BBQ
11-20-2013, 12:08 PM
My wife and I are starting out small and working on a few "get our names out there" ideas. I would like to ask for opinions and advice on our ideas. First, we have made a deal with a local wrecker service (we a rural community and wrecker services are big here) owner. He has a local music band that is very popular and connected. He's going to hook us up with everyone of his functions, whether the wrecker service or band functions that require food. Second, we are speaking with two restaurants in our county, one in the county seat and the other in a smaller community, to provide service to their restaurants a couple times a month. One of the restaurants is also a bar and he is up and coming and very popular. The other also has a catering business, both at his restaurant and off site if requested. The restaurants won't provide a lot of measurable profits due to the low volume, but our thought is that it will lead to larger functions from the small sales we make at each location. Our last idea is that we're connecting with two large non-profits from our home town and are in talks of doing a cook for each too also get our names going. We already have a large following in our county, but we want a little bigger kickoff. The non-profits would provide all the materials (we will store the meat and food items until day of for health reason and also go with them to purchase the food for quality) and we would be out the charcoal and wood, oh and of course manpower hours for the cook.

Our goal is to get the name out there, starting small, and then hopefully start getting larger jobs. We are starting small and not going fast so we arent overcome. Any thoughts or suggestions??

early mornin' smokin'
11-20-2013, 02:33 PM
I just want to ask some basic questions. Are you setup as a business officially? incorporated, insured, licensed to serve food? Serv safe? or local food managers certificate on hand?

I'm only asking because your plan seems kind of vague. What do you do already?

Helping "spread the word" is great and all, but if people can't readily access your products, it's a hard sell.

Signal 10 BBQ
11-20-2013, 03:24 PM
I just want to ask some basic questions. Are you setup as a business officially? incorporated, insured, licensed to serve food? Serv safe? or local food managers certificate on hand?

I'm only asking because your plan seems kind of vague. What do you do already?

Helping "spread the word" is great and all, but if people can't readily access your products, it's a hard sell.

We will be official before any of our selling and HD approved. Insurance: have been going through all the message boards and checking local for best coverage and price. Safe Serv is covered and have access to two certified kitchens. Also, have taxes for the business covered along with a silent business partner. My question was vague. I'm looking for any other advice on marketing in a simple way, is the easiest way of saying it. Our main business will be nonprofits groups and nooked parties. Our county is big on profits using others to cook meat for them to sell. BBQis not even been touched around here. I am not wanting to go gang busters. We both still work full time and are building up our business for future endeavors when we are finished working our regular jobs. We know going in that it will be slow, but we enjoy the smoking and know we will be happy.

Signal 10 BBQ
11-20-2013, 03:48 PM
I just want to ask some basic questions. Are you setup as a business officially? incorporated, insured, licensed to serve food? Serv safe? or local food managers certificate on hand?

I'm only asking because your plan seems kind of vague. What do you do already?

Helping "spread the word" is great and all, but if people can't readily access your products, it's a hard sell.

My first response seemed to have been lost. Yes, we will be completely legal and licensed before selling. We have been researching for the best insurance for us. We are good to go to for Safe Serv and have access to 2 certified kitchens. We arent giving up our day jobs any time soon and is wanting to start out small and slow at first. Building for when we do finally move on. Just looking for some ideas on help to get things moving.

bizznessman
11-20-2013, 06:30 PM
It has been our experience that the Food Industry is not easy to "ease into" anymore due to the fact that it is one of the most highly regulated industries around. It can be rewarding and enjoyable but there are certain basics that should be addressed up front. Without covering these basics you are risking not only your pride but your personal assets.

I would echo EarlyMorninSmoking's questions. IMHO these should be answered long before you even think about getting your name out there.

1) Do you have your own brick and mortar licensed/certified kitchen to cook/prepare your food products?

2) If no brick and mortar how are you complying with your HD regs? Have you had discussions with your HD about your enterprise?

3) Do you have Business license(s), Tax License(s) (Fed, State and Local), Business Insurance (property/LIABILITY)?

3) How will the "service" and "payment for services" be handled with the restaurants you are thinking of "partnering with" to be handled. (i.e do you have a contract written up?)

4) Will you have "hired help" for any of your gigs? If so are you set up with all the labor regulation requirements.

5) Do you have an accountant?

Your OP does not mention any of these but you may already have them covered. If not my suggestion is to do more due diligence before starting up.

My intention is not to discourage but to pass along experience that may help you avoid bad experiences.

cynfulsmokersbbq
11-21-2013, 11:02 AM
Great Advice from Biz and early mornin.

We just did a small business competition that was based on marketing. We didn't win the competition, but we learned a lot. There are many, many places to build business.
Here is a starter:
Take hot sandwiches to the local football game and give them to the people in the press box. Offer to have five sandwiches and bags of chips for the officials after the game, and all you ask of your services is to be listed on the football and basketball programs, and that you business be announced during the game.
Another: provide the meat for your local FFA's annual spring banquet, (ours is attended by over 200 people) Give them the meat a little above cost, but have a business cards at each seat and have your graduation special flyers at the end of the serving line.

landarc
11-21-2013, 11:18 AM
It has been my experience, in all business ventures, that giving away product, handing out cards and donating services is a small part of success. Tiny really. The thing that drives food businesses really comes down to professionalism and value. If you show up, or deliver every single time, no excuses, you build trust. If you offer just a little more than you take away, then you build reputation. These are far more important, once you do that a few times, you will find that your name gets out there just fine.

Personally, unless the restaurants are going to let you serve, you can have no control of how they serve your product, or tell folks it was cooked by you. Giving away product often leads to sticker shock when people end up having to actually pay for the product. If you have great product and are professional in delivery, you will do fine. Also, invest in jackets and shirts, and wear them as often as reasonable. Far more than a card or sandwich, creating the conversation, is going to pay dividends.

BigBellyBBQ
11-22-2013, 03:57 AM
Free food does not bring customers in.......however .great food , service and professional looking brings the people in.
You will have a tough time with other people selling your food..
Concentrate on booking parties, advertise and have the people come over or go to thier place, for a taste test on a couple of the menu ideas and you will sign it...