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View Full Version : I need some Markting help,Tips and Advice


nicerackbbqteam
05-28-2009, 09:08 PM
We just started out in the BBQ Business and we have been cooking for friends and family for like 10 years and we are both Culinary Graduates

we just started to post our Flyer on Craigslist.com for free... we are getting calls but no one is booking there party and our prices are very competitive for our area
Starting around $13pp... 1apatizer 1meat 2sides &a bread and FREE Hot dogs for the Kids! and we don't Charge for "on site Cookin".. SO im asking for any help, advice or tips from my fellow BBQ Brothers:-P

Bbq Bubba
05-28-2009, 09:38 PM
Starting around $13pp... 1apatizer 1meat 2sides &a bread and FREE Hot dogs for the Kids! and we don't Charge for "on site Cookin".. SO im asking for any help, advice or tips from my fellow BBQ Brothers:-P

I'd say your on the high side.....but you ARE in Cali.

Maybe BBS or Neil can chime in.

nicerackbbqteam
05-28-2009, 09:49 PM
yeah we are from San jose, Ca The BaY Area
i also just want to add that we cook ALL of our Side Fresh NO#10can of beans here lol

CB
05-29-2009, 12:59 AM
Hook up with some businesses you know or a real estate agent that specializes in commercial real estate. Tell them you will cook for their grand opening or special customer party or their favorite charity - donating the time if they pay for the cost of the meat.

The best advertising you can get when starting out is for people to sample your food. If it's great - you'll get business. If it's not making them happy - you'll know that too!

nthole
05-29-2009, 08:31 AM
I would definitely be trying to get out and actually do some real life sampling more than just Craigslist. People don't get a feel for the product through Craigslist. If you can setup on a street somewhere, outside of some event, or even host some sort of event somewhere and advertise the heck out of it. Gotta make a connection with people more than just through the internet.

After that, might need to drop price a bit or give some sort of incentive (read coupon) to get people to try you. Word of mouth through experience will be your best advertising if you are working purely local.

big brother smoke
05-29-2009, 08:55 AM
Got a website? Pics and references on a website make things happen quicker.
Word of mouth is a great resource as well.

I did a human resource faire for free for 3 years (free samples), this helped get my name out to corporate entities.

Smokin Mike
05-29-2009, 06:00 PM
thanks for the tip BBS!, so just call the covention center and ask?

btw, that is a great website, if I needed a catering job done in L.A, your website provided all details, and reviews to top that, and not loaded with fluff

nicerackbbqteam
05-29-2009, 09:57 PM
I just want to take this time to THANK you guys for all the Tips, and advice just keep them coming!

Thank you

nicerackbbqteam
05-31-2009, 11:52 AM
My wife is planing a Garage sale next week..My Team and i are Planing to set up and pass out FREE BBQ to whom ever comes by and we are going to pass out our New Flyers and Contact Info... Then the next week do the same thing at my Brothers house and my Cousins House.... Will that be a good Idea??

AZScott
05-31-2009, 04:01 PM
Are the people coming to the garage sale your target customer? If not, it's a bad idea in my opinion. There are quite a few companies that would be more than willing to at least cover the food cost and have you cook for an event for them. Another idea is local charity events that will have a bunch of businesses there. Something like a contractors golf tournament or something similar.

71-South
05-31-2009, 05:48 PM
Are there any farmer's markets near you that you could do? That might help spread the word.

nicerackbbqteam
05-31-2009, 07:11 PM
You know what i think there's a Farmers Market in San Jose.. i need to look into that
HEY! thanks for the TIP

MattCom
06-01-2009, 07:16 AM
If you plan to give some away, I've always thought a local firehouse could be a good place to sponsor a dinner. These guys have job$, days off and in my experience they like to party.

MilitantSquatter
06-01-2009, 08:16 AM
Are the people coming to the garage sale your target customer? If not, it's a bad idea in my opinion.

I'd question the benefit of the garage sale freebies.. Most of the people who routinely visit yard sales are looking for bargains.. Chances are if they are looking to save cash at your yard sale, the would not be likely to spend $ on a catered event.

nicerackbbqteam
06-01-2009, 02:22 PM
that is true but im talking about people just sampling our food....plus the last time we had a "Garbage sale lol" we made $300 and we dident even put up sighs we just put our junk out

C Rocke
06-01-2009, 02:32 PM
that is true but im talking about people just sampling our food....plus the last time we had a "Garbage sale lol" we made $300 and we dident even put up sighs we just put our junk out


May be what some of us are saying is that the folks who are garage sale regulars are not in the "sweet spot" for being potential catering customers ( I am sure there are exceptions). These folks may not be the ones who will drop $15 a head for 125 guests at a catered party.

You may be better off to talk with your local high school or JC about doing a fundraiser with them - Sports teams, cheerleaders, clubs are always looking for ways to fundraise. Do pre-sell tickets for a "drive up" dinner on a specified day and split the proceeds after expenses. Make sure your card or flyer is on every box or bag. You'll make some $$, do some good for a group, and get your name out all in one.

big brother smoke
06-01-2009, 02:55 PM
thanks for the tip BBS!, so just call the covention center and ask?

btw, that is a great website, if I needed a catering job done in L.A, your website provided all details, and reviews to top that, and not loaded with fluff

I was lucky enough to be asked throgh a connection. So, you may have to do some research and see what you come up with. Thanks for the compliments!:cool:

Balls Casten
06-01-2009, 04:11 PM
Your local Chamber of Commerce is always throwing parties and open houses. Plus they are there to help you as well.

I’d also look for bars that don’t normally serve food. Offer to cook on one of the big PGA, NASCAR, or baseball games. Advertise in the bar a couple weeks a head of time and pack his place during the day with a cheap plate of good BBQ. Pick the right bar that doesn’t serve food and he’ll pay to have you come back. They don’t make as much on the food but they double their beer sales. Hot and spicy BBQ makes for good beer sales.

We did this to practice cooks with our smoker full. I donated my time, he paid all expenses. He then sold a small 3 bone rib dinner for $5. The rest of his cliental made it a pot luck so he didn’t even have to buy sides and people ate well. The guys I have done this with just love it.

nicerackbbqteam
06-01-2009, 08:48 PM
fundraising? wow i never thought about that i really might need to look into that

Big Knife Cooking
06-01-2009, 11:15 PM
Hey we throw ramdon neighborhood partys. Gets people a taste, Got parties out of it

ThomEmery
06-02-2009, 08:18 AM
We donate dinners cooked on site to the school where my wife teaches
Its been very positive for us

ThomEmery
06-02-2009, 08:21 AM
$13 pp is not too high for onsite BBQ Cooking
We work from $18 to $25 pp

I probably could do a Grilling menu at $13

nicerackbbqteam
06-02-2009, 11:04 AM
Thank ALL you GUYS for ALL the Tips.. we are Brain storming all your advice

early mornin' smokin'
06-02-2009, 11:35 AM
i dont see how anybody can say 13 dollars a head is high for slow cooked meat, you want quality, you gotta pay for it. Chit, burgers and dogs on long island ny will run you 10 a head for onsite grilling.

nicerackbbqteam
06-02-2009, 12:08 PM
I want to show you guys a Quot for 75 people we sent to a Law Firm a week ago and we never got a call back...

APPETIZER

FRESH FRUIT

(Seasonal)

(CANTALOUPE, GRAPES, HONEYDEW MELON, STRAWBERRIES, WATERMELON)

*ALL FRUIT IS CUT FRESH*


MAIN ENTRÉE

(MEATS)

*TRI TIP

*RIBS (BABY BACK)

*CHICKEN (THIGHS)


SIDES

*POTATO SALAD (Chef Recipe)

*CHILI BEANS (Cooked Fresh day of event)


(THE ABOVE WILL BE SERVED WITH GARLIC BREAD)

Spread…Butter, Roasted Garlic, Fin Herbs.

2 Meats (Tri-Tip, Chicken)

2 Choices (Chili beans, Potato salad)

Garlic Bread

$14.25



3 Meats (Tri-Tip, Ribs, Chicken)

2 Choices (Chili beans, Potato Salad)

$15.50

KC_Bobby
06-02-2009, 01:25 PM
Check with some local parks and rec's to see if you can rent out the concession stand during some type of athletic tournament - sand volleyball, softball, little league, soccer, etc.

C Rocke
06-02-2009, 01:36 PM
I want to show you guys a Quot for 75 people we sent to a Law Firm a week ago and we never got a call back...


APPETIZER




FRESH FRUIT




(Seasonal)




(CANTALOUPE, GRAPES, HONEYDEW MELON, STRAWBERRIES, WATERMELON)




*ALL FRUIT IS CUT FRESH*





MAIN ENTRÉE




(MEATS)




*TRI TIP




*RIBS (BABY BACK)




*CHICKEN (THIGHS)





SIDES




*POTATO SALAD (Chef Recipe)




*CHILI BEANS (Cooked Fresh day of event)





(THE ABOVE WILL BE SERVED WITH GARLIC BREAD)




Spread…Butter, Roasted Garlic, Fin Herbs.




2 Meats (Tri-Tip, Chicken)




2 Choices (Chili beans, Potato salad)




Garlic Bread




$14.25







3 Meats (Tri-Tip, Ribs, Chicken)




2 Choices (Chili beans, Potato Salad)




$15.50







IMHO - Don't know if this is how it was sent (format, etc), but it seems a bit busy and confusing. Before you "quote" I think it's best to have some telephone or F2F discussion with the "decision maker" or commitee and reaffirm who is making the decision, budget, and any special dietary issues for the employees. Also helps to know the following:


Whose idea was BBQ? Workers? Owner? Hr?
What sort of event is it? One time or recurring (Safety meeting, employee appreciation, etc). Look to bundle events over time.
Is this a budgeted lunch or ad hoc?
Who catered it last time? Why aren't they being asked back?
Other Caterers being considered and type of food?
When will decision be made and how will you be notified?

Realize this may be a "best case" scenario, but dislike sending quotes to help the customer hammer another caterer down.

Learnin Querve
06-02-2009, 08:41 PM
I want to show you guys a Quot for 75 people we sent to a Law Firm a week ago and we never got a call back...

(snipped menu)

Did you follow up and call back? If you didn't, you'll never know why you didn't get the gig. Ya' gotta sell too.

Chris

Balls Casten
06-03-2009, 07:28 AM
The other way to do it is work backwards ...
"How much do you charge?"
Response: "What do you want to spend?"
Then present them with a quote within their budget.

You want to be carefull to protect your name and not serve one rib and a teaspoon of coleslaw. But some people are just looking for a cheep (inexpensive) lunch. It's not always how much you are charging ... but what you are selling.

nicerackbbqteam
06-03-2009, 10:45 AM
i am going have to do that and work with people

nicerackbbqteam
06-05-2009, 10:46 AM
i just got an Email to do a Birthday party for 40-45 people.. i ask her what is her budget and she said between $10-12pp... so i replied back with

1apptizer(fresh fruit platter)
2meats- pulled pork and chicken thighs
2 sides- POTATO SALAD (Chef Recipe)
BBQ baked beans
Garlic French Bread
for only $12.50 the $.50 is a trip charge pp because she live 1hr away from me and gas is going up we drive V8s baby haha...

so any tips on how should i fallow up on this?
....i gave her my number to call but she hasn't so i am just wondering if we are just being mystery shopped because she only contacted me by email

Thank you guys for all your help

mtrammel
06-05-2009, 08:48 PM
If you're permits/local laws allow... Smoke for free at Church functions, retail sidewalk sales, car/cycle dealerships, chamber of commerce meetings, lions club functions, any where that business folks or families needing cooks would hang out. Offer flyers /cards with each serving that include what size party you can support. Worked for a friend I've learned from. He also got deals with local BBQ shops that did not cater to refer people to him and he gave the owner an incentive to do so. He no longer is able to do that as he's working jobs full time now.

nicerackbbqteam
06-05-2009, 10:31 PM
we are working on a Church lead right now

cjcullom
06-06-2009, 11:18 AM
There is a great article in the WSJ about people that have taken their show on the road. "Roach Coaches" as I knew them when growing up on the jobsite. They use twitter and facebook to let followers know where they will be. They serve everything imaginable and have a good following from the article. You need to check local food service laws and HD criteria to cover your "butt".
I scanned over your menu a couple of pages back and have some suggestions. A line item on a menu or quote is also a sales pitch...dress it up a little. Words like succulent, delicious, decadent, etc. invoke a response in the brain releasing endorphins therefore making the reader salivate(hopefully). Be descriptive but be careful of foreign terms..ex. My wife served "scallops of veal" last night and a carryout customer called to complain there were no scallops in there dish; She ran the customer some scallops and took the chance to educate the customer on the term(French in origin and accurate) Also, look for a local food critic to feed and pitch them to do an article for you...this yield amazing results! Good luck to you,
Rooster

nicerackbbqteam
06-06-2009, 11:44 AM
The "Rolling Grease Pit" is i good idea but we are just starting out and trying to build Capital by "trying" to land Catering Gigs.. but! thats a great idea on useing those Keys words im a goin to redesign my Menu and Post it back up

Hey! thank you soo much every one on this site is AWESOME!

nicerackbbqteam
06-09-2009, 07:54 PM
WE! booked our First Event for 45 people this Saturday.. we landed it by using ALL of your Tips and Advice!!

thank you Guys!!

C Rocke
06-09-2009, 07:59 PM
WE! booked our First Event for 45 people this Saturday.. we landed it by using ALL of your Tips and Advice!!

thank you Guys!!

Congrats. Now just underpromise and overdeliver and you're there!

nicerackbbqteam
06-14-2009, 02:16 AM
SO we did our Frist Catering gig today ...it went smooth i just hoped she like our food

cjcullom
06-14-2009, 05:34 PM
If they did not like your food you probably would have heard about it. Try giving your customers "feedback" cards....just a simple postcard with a few questions and comment box. This shows the customer that you really do care about their experience, whether they fill it out or not. Congrats on the gig, many more to ya!

nicerackbbqteam
06-14-2009, 10:48 PM
HEy! thanks man i feel good about it and i will do that and send a post card ...i might just have some made up
and thank you

Balls Casten
06-15-2009, 12:48 PM
Congrats ... now you get to pay taxes on your profits!

nicerackbbqteam
06-17-2009, 05:49 PM
We just a a call for another gig in August 7th its for 75 people BUT here is the catch she wants like 3-5 hot lunch samples so my question is "to charge or not to charge" for the samples

Here is her Menu
3meats
Baby backs, Tri-tips, Chicken thighs(boneless)
sides
potato salad
chille beans
garlic bread
fruit try

Cahusky
06-18-2009, 11:00 PM
HEy! thanks man i feel good about it and i will do that and send a post card ...i might just have some made up
and thank you

Im not a caterer but am the Director of Sales & Marketing for a medium sized company (I also stayed at Holiday Inn last night). ALWAYS follow up with a phone call and get feedback from your client. You will learn a lot from what they tell you. Also, I would suggest ALWAYS asking potential clients who contact you where they heard about you. This will give you an idea of which of your marketing strategies are working.

nicerackbbqteam
06-19-2009, 01:54 AM
i just sent her an email to ask her on her experience with us... i would post her Feedback

Bigmista
06-19-2009, 09:19 AM
I'm coming in late on this one but you might try to do some charity events. Having your name associated with a charity when they do a press release is never a bad thing. Also, have you considered doing competition BBQ? Do comps where they have People's Choice and you get to sell samples to the public. I just got a call yesterday from a couple who tasted our food at Stagecoach and want us to do a party for them.

Just a suggestion...

Chuckwagonbbqco
06-19-2009, 10:57 AM
The most honest feedback that you will get from an event is also the simplest. When everyone is done eating take a casual walk by the trash cans and look inside. If you have a problem with a side dish it will show up. Most people when asked for feedback will give you great feedback, politeness over rides honesty. I feel that asking "How was the food?" shows that the cooks are reaching for praise or are unsure of themselves. The trash can never lies. I have been told thousands of times "That is the best tri-tip that I ever had---of course it is the best---you just ate it and it is the freshest in your memory. Politeness causes people to praise good food to your face, but tell everyone else about food they didn't like. A quick glance in the trash can will give you a quick reality check on any problems----then the problems can be corrected before next event.

nicerackbbqteam
06-19-2009, 11:27 AM
Yeah we are doing our first Competition in August the"West Cost Championships" in Fair field,Ca.... the only thing that's holding us back a little is that we don't have a competition cooker to feed the masses... we are in the market to get one

nicerackbbqteam
06-19-2009, 11:30 AM
The most honest feedback that you will get from an event is also the simplest. When everyone is done eating take a casual walk by the trash cans and look inside. If you have a problem with a side dish it will show up. Most people when asked for feedback will give you great feedback, politeness over rides honesty. I feel that asking "How was the food?" shows that the cooks are reaching for praise or are unsure of themselves. The trash can never lies. I have been told thousands of times "That is the best tri-tip that I ever had---of course it is the best---you just ate it and it is the freshest in your memory. Politeness causes people to praise good food to your face, but tell everyone else about food they didn't like. A quick glance in the trash can will give you a quick reality check on any problems----then the problems can be corrected before next event.


i would of walked by the trash can but we just set up the line and left
plus she lived 1hr away from me