Originally Posted by smitty68521
I have been smoking ribs, brisket and also bbq'ing for a long time out of my backyard. I have people who come over year round to eat. I love to do it and yeah, it even boosts my ego a little bit when everyone is saying how great it tastes.
I am currently in IT and want to venture out into something I love even more. I don't have a ton of cash to invest but would like to start out small doing some catering and such and build to a mobile bbq. I have already done some research as far as health department regs and such but want to get some pointers on what to look out for in starting this. I want to see what I can get going starting next summer.
Thanks for any input
I'm in IT right now too and I am planning my catering/vending business. Funny, with what you just said, you sound a lot like me!
That being said, I would suggest you take your time and let the business opportunities come to you in manageable pieces. Here's how I started and why I'm headed down the BBQ biz route.
I had people telling me how good my BBQ was, and that I should open a restaurant. So, I tested the waters a bit by doing a free cook for my job. I simply told everybody not to plan lunch on a Friday, and that I would provided some BBQ... just because. So, I did pulled pork, beef brisket, homemade sauce and some coleslaw. Very simple but enough to test the waters. They absolutely loved it! I didn't pull the pork or slice the brisket until lunch time, so you can image how the BBQ smell filled the air all over the office. My manager came, his manager came, some of the partners came, and before lunch was over, I had a paid catering gig on my calendar from one of the managers. Word of mouth got out and before you know it, I was doing at least one catering gig a quarter without even really trying.
Now, I have people asking me to cater all the time. Many times I have to turn them down because my day job gets in the way. But I think I have enough of a following to at least ramp up the catering a bit more, and do some vending at a few events. 2014 is the year I really begin to market my business with promos, real sales efforts to get business, and participating in vending opportunities. I have my LLC and my EIN, and I have my business bank account with options for payroll and taxes already in place. I still need to renew my ServeSafe certification and get some liability insurance. These are all "infrastructure" items I need to have in place before January 2014. I have ample cookers to do catering events of up to 100 people, but no larger, so a new smoker is in the plans and I will have it by Q2 2014.
Lastly, I am going to participate in more competitions so I can get some additional "Award Winning" accolades I can put on my banners because right now I only have one! LOL!
Anyway, my point is I have a 2-year plan for really getting my business off the ground. I have a lot to do, so I am trying prioritize everything so that I do the business stuff right, and so I can enjoy the fun of feeding people BBQ.
I hope some of these ramblings on helps in some kind of way! Good luck brother!