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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 04-12-2013, 04:57 PM   #1
Elfmaze
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Default Economics of roadside BBQ

The girlfriend and I have talked a bit about Getting into BBQ catering and Maby roadside sale type work when I retire from Gov service.

How hard is it to turn a profit in this buisness? The two Companies around here have rotisserie style smokers. I figure thats $5-10K Trailer and something to pull it around 40-50K.

I figure I would have about $1000 a month in equipment financing charges alone.

Is there good profit to be made to cover the cost? this is still 15 years down the road I was just curious, I know resturaunts in general are a rough buisness
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Unread 04-12-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
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ops hit the wrong forum if a mod wants to help out
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Unread 04-12-2013, 07:26 PM   #3
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Do you really want to work that hard when you retire?
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Unread 04-12-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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^^^ What he said.

One thing you need to factor in, and this is for any business, not just a food business, is your time. New business owners often get caught up in just the numbers, which are important, but don't tell the whole story. Even if it looks like a profitable venture on paper, what does it mean for your time? Even just a Fri-Sun gig could amount to a 40+ hour workweek. So even if you're profitable, even to the tune of $35k/year or something, would you be willing to bust your ass that hard for $25k/year in take home pay?

There's no right or wrong answer, and some people would love nothing more than to be immersed in BBQ, interact with the public, and see the smiles on their faces while making just enough to pay the bills. But others go into it seeing a potential profitable business only to later realize they are working twice as hard and making half as much as when they had a regular job.

Finally, don't forget to factor in what's required when running a business as essentially a one, or two man show. Obviously, you're cooking BBQ, but you have to wear so many other hats. You have to be a marketing manager, accountant, cook, dishwasher, delivery driver, do customer relations, salesman, etc. For a lot of people, they may be good at one thing, such as making award-winning BBQ, but all the other aspects of running a business are just mind-numbing, yet just as critical as good barbecue. And if you end up having to outsource other aspects of the business, that just means more costs to eat into the profit.

This isn't meant to dissuade or encourage you in any one direction, but just some friendly advice from someone who has started a few businesses and has been self-employed for my entire life. I love it and I live and breathe being my own boss, but it certainly isn't the easiest course through life. But if you look at the opportunity for what it is and go beyond "it will cost X to get started, I think I can make Y, so as long as Y is greater than X it's a good idea" and really think about what it will take to make it all come together, you'll have a better idea of whether or not it's truly a profitable venture.
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Unread 04-12-2013, 10:00 PM   #5
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$1000 in financing? That is thefirst mistake I have started selling roadside and did it debt free if not I am not sure anyone could survive at first it takes ALOT to get people to eat it and then return. If you like 18 hr WORK days go for it But do not finance.
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Unread 04-13-2013, 10:26 AM   #6
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I've been tossing around the same kinda idea. I am looking more toward just doing events to keep it fun. I would love to make delicious food that makes people happy, but I don't want to be stuck running a pit constantly and wouldn't want to have anyone cooking for me.
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Unread 04-13-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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rents or finance will wipe out any profit....if you have to float it...you will sink..
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Unread 04-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #8
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This was my second weekend open and my days look like left my house at 8 am Thursday went to restaurant store then picked up meat and various items got home at 3 started prepping and cooking for the weekend went to bed at 11 woke up Friday at 3am left house at 4:30 all setup and started smoking ribs at 6:30 opened at 10:30 closed at 7 got home after cleanup at 8:30 went to bed at 12 back up at 3:30 and started it again closed at 6 and just got home at 7:15 so if you on't like sleep go for it. Things picked up a lot this weekend and can't wait until next week to do it again. I am 28 and tend to handle long hours with little sleep better than people retired. I pay rent so you have to Hussle to break even starting out.
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Unread 04-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #9
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If you have 50k to invest in job that you will work 60 plus hours a week then you can make a decent not great income. If you finance a major portion of that then you will work for little to nothing.

Like stated above, do you really want to work that hard when you retire?
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Unread 04-14-2013, 06:42 AM   #10
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Kind of a shame to hear. Maby by then I will have a decent sized smoker and van already and I can just do a few side jobs.
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Unread 04-20-2013, 06:52 AM   #11
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You could always do like I am (and others). I know it is a ways off before I can start my own vending/catering biz so I started by making a list of thing I know I'll need and have begun gathering the equipment now and buying or building little by little and by the time I'm ready to start I will have all I need and the expense has been spread out and way more affordable than having a big upfront expense.
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Unread 04-22-2013, 09:31 AM   #12
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Start out small, with no debt.
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Unread 04-22-2013, 12:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyce51 View Post
You could always do like I am (and others). I know it is a ways off before I can start my own vending/catering biz so I started by making a list of thing I know I'll need and have begun gathering the equipment now and buying or building little by little and by the time I'm ready to start I will have all I need and the expense has been spread out and way more affordable than having a big upfront expense.
Dyce51, you are doing it smart. Keep doing what you are doing. Cook for a handful of anniversaries, parties, etc. for friends and family. Get a process/timeline down and then make it legal.
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Unread 04-22-2013, 01:20 PM   #14
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The food business in general is about passion. If you do not absolutely love everything about the business, then it becomes a job, like every other job. Except the pay is worse and the hours are longer. Don't take a huge loan, even if you have no loans, it is generally considered normal for a restaurant to make profit after three years. A good one is even after one year, profitable in two. Roadside is a little cheaper and quicker.

Catering is the best road into the game, but, you must be very good at networking and managing details.
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Unread 04-22-2013, 01:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jestridge View Post
Start out small, with no debt.
My plan is to start taking on jobs untill I find myself working so much I can't handle it. Just me though
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