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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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Old 05-13-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
On the road to being a farker
Join Date: 01-05-14
Location: Long Island
Default First Roadside Gig - Tips Please

I usually cook pre ordered meals for folks, now im doing roadside from my home for a weekend to gauge interest and possible future of this as a full time business for me.

Planning on cooking 3 whole briskets, 15lb avg, 1/4lb portions guessing about 80-100 portions depending on how heavy handed I get.

3 pulled - 5-6lb avg, 1/4 portion, guessing around 40 portions

chicken halves - 15, guessing 30 portions.

comes with slaw, bun, pickle, onion, optional sauce

$15 plate (deconstructed sandwiches)

put it up on my facebook page and normally I get 1-200 views over a week and of that maybe 10 orders, now im 24 hours with 1300 views and a ton of traffic and kinda nervous.

im going to advertise as open till sold out.

planning on precooking briskets and beef - dunno if I should pull a couple degrees short of where I like them to account for reheating or not - on Friday into the weekend, pre slicing, and storing for a day, reheating in the cooker until safe internal temps and serving.

chickens cook off that morning, takes about 3 hours on my cooker.

slaw Saturday evening, held in the cooler on ice, along with buns on the side.

don't know what to expect, anyone's got any advice or tips id appreciate it.

catered for years and worked in restaurant's but being my own gig im kind of nervous.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:17 AM   #2
is one Smokin' Farker
bizznessman's Avatar
Join Date: 03-20-09
Location: Kansas

First off I am assuming that you are a fully legal and licensed food service business in your state.

That assumption being made you will need to check with your HD for the regs regarding doing "roadside" food service to the general public. Here in KS that requires that ALL food be prepped and originate from a fully licensed commercial kitchen, ALL foods be transported to the location of sales, and held, at proper safe food temps and sanitary conditions. In KS no food for public consumption/sale can be prepared in a home kitchen.

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Regarding Raw/Cooked Portions:

Three 15# briskets (raw weight) will yield approximately 22.5#'s cooked meat (50% loss in cook) which equates to approximately 90, 4 oz portions.

Three 5.5# (avg) pork butts (raw weight) will yield approximately 8.25#'s cooked meat (50% loss in cook) which equates to approximately 33, 4 oz portions.

Chicken; all depends on the size of the bird, you can figure approximately 60% loss in cook on chickens if you are serving it "pulled".

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IMO your plate price seems a bit high, if it comes with just one sammie and one side with trimmings, but that can depend on your locale and what the market will bear. Here in our market we charge $7 for a sammie, $2 for a 5 oz side and $2 for a beverage.

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Regarding your business process:

Again, as long as you are "legal", properly licensed and inspected and follow proper food safe regs I see no problems with your methods. Vending is a totally different animal from catering regarding how much to prepare so your idea to be "open until sold out" is a good idea. Be sure to track ALL of your Prep, Sales, Waste (ongoing from day one) so that you can build a databank to use for "forecasting" future Prep/Sales.

Regarding Precooking/Reheating Pork & Brisket:
We do this all the time for vends. We cook till completely done, rest the product for an hour wrapped in coolers, pull, back in vac-sealed bags (with any of the juices added evenly back into the product prior to bagging), cool down properly, refrigerate/freeze (depending on length of time till event), transport properly, reheat on site using food safe practices, place in proper hold units for serving.

Regarding Slaw (use of coolers):
You will want to check with your HD to see if the use of coolers (with ice) is allowed. In KS this is ONLY allowed at events designated as festivals and cannot be use for "roadside" operations. Here commercial cooling units are required for "roadside" operations.

Hope this helps out. Good luck and be sure to let us know how things turn out!!
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:53 PM   #3
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 10-16-08
Location: Virginia

1300 views on a Facebook page or a post? Dang how many "Likes" do you have? I can't get anywhere near that in a weeks time. When you say 3 pulled 5-6lbs are you saying butts? With that kind of traffic you will be sold out in 30 minutes, I hate to tell you how much to cook and then you get stuck because all places are different but I do remember my first road side the day we opened our business several years back. We cooked 2 briskets and 20 butts 7lb average, about 4 pans of sides and we opened at 11am and sold out at 3:30pm. We did also sell by the lb. not sure if you plan to or not. About 45% of our meat sales are by the lb these days.
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
early mornin' smokin'
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 10-06-08
Location: wading river, ny

sig...where to begin. you're cooking at your house? you know that is thoroughly illegal unless you have a certified and inspected kitchen by your local dept of health. setting up on the side of the road? So you have a full mobile unit? hand wash sinks, fresh water and grey water tanks, 3 bay sink? i'm slightly confused. Do you have a business? are you licensed by the dept of health? Food handlers permit? Insurance? Sales tax id?

I'm asking all of this, because you can't just cook from your house, setup on the side of the road and say you're a restaurant. I hope you've done your due diligence in making sure you have everything covered before you worry about cooking enough for the weekend.

serving wise, if you cook 3 15lb briskets, half of that is point, so you'll have around 15lbs of brisket flat to sell, roughly 45-60 servings(if you don't have a scale, you will be at the lower end of that spectrum)

don't gauge your Facebook views on expected volume. some of my posts reach 8000 people.
I have 2500 followers. reach 8500 people a week. And I see about 1000 people thru my doors a weekend.

you said cooking from your house, and that irks me the most. If you're not properly insured, doing this all correctly. One mistake, one person gets sick, one complaint to the HD and you could be living out of a box.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:15 AM   #5
On the road to being a farker
Join Date: 01-05-14
Location: Long Island

Our business is setup properly, and we have our handlers license, share space with a caterer, our setup doesn't qualify for year round permits from HD only 3 day festival permits.

Ended up just having family and friends come over and having a hell of a day.
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