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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 05-15-2014, 03:11 PM   #1816
Neil
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Are you going to be at the Brews, Blues, and BBQ festival in St. Joseph this Saturday?
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:55 PM   #1817
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
Are you going to be at the Brews, Blues, and BBQ festival in St. Joseph this Saturday?
I won't be there, but I'll be cooking at the niles craft brew festival in July.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:32 PM   #1818
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Quote:
How long will the pickles last in a fridge?
Months. Except mine are eaten way before.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:38 PM   #1819
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
I won't be there, but I'll be cooking at the niles craft brew festival in July.
When in July and where in Niles?
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:25 PM   #1820
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
When in July and where in Niles?
here's the link


http://www.nilesmi.com/craft-beer-wi...t-july-25.html
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:46 AM   #1821
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I love the updates (especially now that it's going well) and my wife loves the pickles. I finally made them a few days ago.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:40 AM   #1822
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So, I've reached the point of being open for a full quarter, so I guess it's time to get a summary of what's happened, what I've learned, and what the future holds.

Most surprising to me is already being into six figures in sales. What we did in three months is just a little shy of what I had originally projected for annual sales.

And while you'd think that would mean making a lot of money, what they say about the restaurant industry is true. Margins are incredibly thin. It's still far better than the alternative of having little business and losing money every month in a futile effort to keep the doors open. But you really learn how to count every last penny when you see just how little the profit margin is.

Time. Again, what everyone warns you about is entirely true. The business becomes your life. 12-16 hours are the norm, not the exception. It gets better over time as you begin to delegate and trust things to go smoothly without you, but you never truly get away. If you're not at the store, you're probably at the bank, meeting with a vendor, paying bills, or balancing the books. It is quite a lifestyle adjustment.

Consistency is more important than anything else. If your food tastes different than it did another time a customer came in, they WILL tell you. My ribs weren't as tender this time. The pickles were too spicy. Last time I got a bigger piece of corn bread. The potato salad needed more salt this time. And on and on. Learning how to maintain a high level of consistency is a challenge, especially when you reach a point where you've got many people involved and the volume becomes high.

Being a people person. I'm not a people person at all, but you have no choice in this business. Grin and bear it or GTFO. People want to be your friend. They want to talk to you. Constantly. And people will say horrible things about you, your food, or your staff and you've just got to nod, smile, apologize, and move on. And people are often downright rude and will make you want to punch them in the face. But you just have to be polite and give the highest level of service you can. It's hard, and it's the least enjoyable aspect of the business for me.

On the other hand I'm not going to lie, but it's pretty cool to almost feel like a rock star around town. People recognize you in public, they go out of their way to come say high, they gush about you and your food, you get free stuff and discounts, etc. People want to invest in the restaurant. They want to buy a franchise, become a partner, or otherwise be involved. People want to take you out on the town and party, they want you to come to whatever event they are putting on, and so on. Not that anybody has time for all that, but it does feel good to have your ego stroked.

This business also puts you in a position to help others. One thing it's allowed me to do is donate a lot of money to some local charities and give back to the community. Through monetary contributions to sponsorships to giving food to the local food bank to feed the homeless, it's stuff that's harder to do on your own, but is a lot easier with the business behind you.

So what does the future hold? For starters, just doing what we've been doing and try to sell out every day. If we can continue doing that, then there's a lot of continued upside when the new smoker and holding capacity comes later this summer. That in turn will help me branch off the catering side of the business. I've got enough catering requests right now that catering alone could be just as big of a business, but it's just not feasible given current equipment.

Speaking of lack of capacity, since we have people daily asking for jars of pickles and bottles of sauce, I want to put that product out there. Problem is, we can't spare the time or have the equipment to do that. So, there's a commercial kitchen around here you can rent so we're in the process of setting up something to be able to produce large quantities of product to not only sell at the restaurant, but put in the area farmers markets and small grocery stores.

I've had to learn a lot in a very short amount of time, but it's been totally worth it. Whether this is ultimately a success or failure, it's been a hell of a ride and I've learned a lot about myself along the way. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:50 AM   #1823
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Well CONGRATS on the first quarter of doing business!! Sounds like you still have your priorities straight. Good Luck!
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:54 AM   #1824
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Thank you for the fantastic update.. We all love this thread and appreciate you taking the time!
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:54 AM   #1825
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Its awesome that you are doing so well.. i didnt read the whole thread (havn't been on here in about 2 years) But i will say i hope you kept the carpet, a friend of mine owns 2 places, 1 with carpet and one without.. the one without is VERY loud and annoying to eat at. Like a cafeteria.. The one with carpet is more warm and nice to visit. just my 2 cents although its too late now:)

And growing that business in michigan should be cake.. i'm up by utica michigan and people here LOVVEEE Bad Brads and its easily the worst bbq i have ever had. I would even consider it worse than cooks that i fell asleep on and destroyed. Anyway.. if they can get big you should have zero issue. Good luck:)

P.S. went back and read a bit.. great story :)
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:04 PM   #1826
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And just think... summer hasn't even hit yet.
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:20 PM   #1827
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where do you see the business in 5 years? a 2nd location or bigger restaurant?
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:35 PM   #1828
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marubozo,

Thank you for this thread. It is like reading a story that I hope never ends. Thank you also for the pickle recipe. Made my fist batch last week and I love them! So did my family. Keep up the great work.
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:41 PM   #1829
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This is such a great story! Thank you. I was wondering if you expect your margins to grow with volume? I have a friend that owns a joint that did 1.2 mil last year and he turned about 30 %.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:44 PM   #1830
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I have a friend that owns a joint that did 1.2 mil last year and he turned about 30 %.
Do you mean his net profit was 30%?
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