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View Full Version : An unbelievable opportunity


TexasGuppie
06-26-2010, 01:39 PM
I have always toyed with the idea of a catering/concession business as a PART-TIME gig because of the fun that I have when doing small jobs for friends, family and complete strangers referred by friends and family.
The compliments about the food are always consistent and I have had many repeat "customers."
I have a very close friend who has come into a very sizable inheritance. She approached me and asked if I would like the chance to live my little dream. Of course I was curious. Even more so when told she would NOT expect repayment anytime soon and perhaps not even at all (that is an indicator of how sizable the sum of money being received is.)

We are looking at this unit:
http://www.customconcessiontrailer.com/8x42smokerconcession.html

We are also considering a 2011 Ford F350 Super-Duty Dually to tow it with.

I see this as a once-in-a-lifetime chance and at 51 years-old I don't anticipate too many more like this!

The upside is that I can play with menus, recipes, locations, etc. without the burden of worrying about making money to pay for the above listed equipment as it will be paid for upon taking ownership.

The "competition" here for a business like this isn't heavy. There are very few BBQ catering/concessions here in Tucson. I would have different thoughts if I still lived in Texas where BBQ is on every corner!

Another upside is that I can do this on weekends and during vacation time coordinated with different events in the area like the fair, farmer's markets, etc. I will also bank some operating capital for "start-up" costs, food, additional equipment, etc. As I said, this is an unbelievable opportunity that could benefit me as I approach retirement (still several years away!)

I'm certain there is a downside but I am having trouble seeing it. That is why I am posting this here. I know several of you do this very thing for both part-time and full-time benefits. Please, share your thoughts with me.

I know that I will need licensing, food-handling certifications, inspections, business licenses and insurance. Any advice in these areas will help me as well.

One downside is the size of the rig but I will simply store it at a covered RV facility.

Thanks Brothers.

Ken

Paulmark
06-26-2010, 03:20 PM
Holy Carp:shocked:!!! Congratulations Brother:clap2:! What a rig!! God....would I jump at a chance like that:pray:. Good luck, keep us posted.

C Rocke
06-26-2010, 07:42 PM
Some things to consider...

Is the trailer built/designed to meet Health requirements in AZ?

Is a 60' (Trailer and truck) rig going to be flexible enough? Many places you've mentioned as prospective selling locations have space limitations.

No matter how dear a friend, or how much money they have/had, this would still be a tough offer to accept without expectation of repayment (For me).

TexasGuppie
06-26-2010, 09:40 PM
Some things to consider...

Is the trailer built/designed to meet Health requirements in AZ?

No matter how dear a friend, or how much money they have/had, this would still be a tough offer to accept without expectation of repayment (For me).

Yes, the rig meets (exceeds) the requirements of my area.

As to the topic of repayment; this is where things for those on the outside of this friendship will have to trust me: the offer is from the heart and without any strings attached. We have a history of trust and doing for others as well as each other.

As to the space needed for the rig and truck; not an issue either. The Pima County Fair as well as the Arizona State Fair have spaces available larger than what I will need. Local Farmer's Markets also have flexibility when it comes to the larger rigs.

I would like some feedback on the equipment listed for the rig. Is there something else that might be needed that you experts think might be crucial?

mmmmeat
06-27-2010, 12:44 AM
congrats AZ brother sounds great

ThomEmery
06-27-2010, 08:01 AM
If you enjoy running a large crew needed to run such a unit... great
There is a reason most do not use these aside from having to rent two spaces at events

chambersuac
06-27-2010, 08:05 AM
does she need any more friends???? j/k Congrats. I pray it all works out according to your wishes.

Bbq Bubba
06-27-2010, 08:10 AM
Dumb question.

Why not take the money and retire early?

The unit your looking at is for a profesional looking to move up, you'd need a crew to work out of a unit that large and won't fit in half the venues you speak of.

getyourrubonbbq
06-27-2010, 08:26 AM
Space and employees are a factor. I would suggest building a unit that meet your specs. What you'll find with that unit is that the trailer is built by one manufacturer and the equipment is installed by another. You could run into warranty issues down the road. I'm not bashing anyone, I'm just saying be careful. I would like to invite you to visit my website and see some of our past projects. I'd be glad to assist you in anyway. www.extremebbqtrailers.com (http://www.extremebbqtrailers.com)

James

Ford
06-27-2010, 09:50 AM
First before buying it talk with James about his trailers. They are top quality and you can design exactly what you need. Unless you need everything in that one and it's a "special" deal build one to spec and get exactly what you need in it including smoker setup. An FE 500 or 1000 would go great but needs to be built in. Get at least 2 or 3 quotes. I did then chose the middle one because I liked the person I was dealing with and felt comfortable that I was getting what I wanted without a bunch of additional costs.

Truck must have diesel engine - no choice there.

Now some facts of life. In Michigan the trailer goes into hibernation in early November until April. So I'd guess that you have the reverse where it's too hot for a lot of outdoor events in the summer. Drawbacks - how about showing up with a 30' trailer and the only place they can put you is farthest down the vendor row and people don't make it that far? Happened to me this weekend and I sold about 25% of what the closer vendors did even though I was the pnly one doing "real" BBQ.

Another drawback. It rains and you have all this food left to freeze or give to a charity including all the buns you have. Another 25 dozen go out tomorrow.

Then there's staff to run a large rig. I really need to helpers full time while vending. I'm prepared to work on 4 hours sleep during an event and I have FE's so I can. But it means Sunday I just want to curl up in bed and rest or put my feet up in the recliner instead of mopping the trailer today like I should be doing. And you need a regular paid employee. Unless they will work 1099 for you and you must report the income figure $10 per hour nearly for paperwork and fees such as UIC and SOC, etc. Gets less per person if you pay more workers.

I'm thinking you can do something a little smaller and with just what you need and maybe keep the cost to $50k including the big FE.

PM me if you would like to talk a little about the realities of vending.

Jerk Pit Master
06-27-2010, 05:33 PM
Ditto what Ford says.

I've got a 24' trailer and really wish it were smaller. I would make some adjustments in trailer and equipment based on what I've learnerd over the past 5 years. The first trailer is rarely a perfect fit for one's needs and everyone's needs are unique.

Test drive a loaner or smaller unit first.

drbbq
06-27-2010, 05:59 PM
Even if you don't ever have to pay it back, it would be nice to know that someday maybe you could. And you'd have to sell an astronomical amount of BBQ to make a living and pay on a $100k+ note.

I'm not saying don't do it, but I am saying start with a real business plan. Good luck!

JD McGee
06-27-2010, 07:20 PM
Wow! What a very generous freind...congrats on the offer. That's a lot of rig...and a lot of responsibility to go along with it in order for it not to sit idle...be sure to do your homework with the local HD as well as a few demographic studies as to how well received it will be in your area. You mentioned there are not a whole lot of bbq places around...there may be a very good reason for that. Good luck to you! :-P

theflints01
06-27-2010, 11:28 PM
Agree with what Dr BBQ and JD said, spend a little (comparitively) doing research and setting up a realistic business plan and THEN decide what equipment fits. Failing to plan is planning to fail. I used to live in Tucson, are you going to sell carnitas? Think about the demographic. As much as I like them I'm not getting a lot of requests for deep fried pickles and boiled peanuts from my catering clients in Seattle.

Neil
06-28-2010, 07:48 AM
Go for it Ken but like others above have stated I would start with something smaller.

vesteroid
06-30-2010, 08:27 PM
Wont pretend I know anything about vending, but have owned and operated my own manufacturing business for about 20 years now.

I dont care how you get the money, you need to make it work for you, for this deal to make sense. I am just sitting here doing simply math on that rig, the truck, and the other items you need to run a business vs the profit margin on your gross sales I suspect you will see and your available time to invest in sales. I dont think you have a chance of ever paying that rig back or even making the money back assuming you keep it.

Please god dont go into this thing blind with a hope and a prayer and some self assurance you dont have to pay it back.

Regardless if you do or dont, at least respect the money this person is willing to part with and put it to good use, make more money with it, or simply take the money and invest it in your retirement. dont just throw it down the tubes.

You need to do a business plan so you can see on paper the things I am talking about. If you dont have the experience to do that, go find an accountant willing to work with you to produce one. for that kind of investment, you can find a quality cpa to produce a budget and cash flow forecast so you can see on paper what the odds are...then figure you dont have a chance of hitting what you see on paper, you will over estimate your sales and underestimate your expenses.

Not at all trying to rain on your parade, just trying to keep you looking in the right direction....dont throw that money away, few people get this opportunity.

TexasGuppie
07-03-2010, 11:16 AM
Wont pretend I know anything about vending, but have owned and operated my own manufacturing business for about 20 years now.

I dont care how you get the money, you need to make it work for you, for this deal to make sense. I am just sitting here doing simply math on that rig, the truck, and the other items you need to run a business vs the profit margin on your gross sales I suspect you will see and your available time to invest in sales. I dont think you have a chance of ever paying that rig back or even making the money back assuming you keep it.

Please god dont go into this thing blind with a hope and a prayer and some self assurance you dont have to pay it back.

Regardless if you do or dont, at least respect the money this person is willing to part with and put it to good use, make more money with it, or simply take the money and invest it in your retirement. dont just throw it down the tubes.

You need to do a business plan so you can see on paper the things I am talking about. If you dont have the experience to do that, go find an accountant willing to work with you to produce one. for that kind of investment, you can find a quality cpa to produce a budget and cash flow forecast so you can see on paper what the odds are...then figure you dont have a chance of hitting what you see on paper, you will over estimate your sales and underestimate your expenses.

Not at all trying to rain on your parade, just trying to keep you looking in the right direction....dont throw that money away, few people get this opportunity.

A lot of much appreciated advice and I thank all of you for it. We do have a business plan and a silent partner/advisor in the restaurant/catering business. I am not completely without business sense myself; I manage a $3.6m per year operation with 30 employees and total responsibility for my P&L, annual profit and growth.

This venture isn't about making back the money. It isn't about having to repay, potentially repay or feel the moral obligation to repay the up front investment.

Nope, it's about having fun doing what we all love to do; serve others something that they will enjoy and remember. There will be some charity work done as well.

I make a good living and will retire on the benefits of what I do FOR A LIVING. What I do FOR FUN will help retirement be more enjoyable.

Again, thanks to all for the advice, concerns and well-wishes. This opportunity is a blessing and those do not normally come with profit percentages in mind.

Have a safe and smoke-filled holiday weekend.

Sincerely,

Ken