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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 03-29-2015, 06:22 AM   #2641
gmanNJ
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At this point you can increase your prices a bit. You have made your name and everyone knows just how good the food is. There is no need for you to work off of razor thin margins anymore. People will pay more for quality and consistency.

Any customers you may lose due to the price increase will allow you to still have product into the later hours. This is how you dont have to increase capacity, make more money and not run out of food so early. And if you have outgrown this place any bigger place will eat into those razor thin margins. My suggestion is to increase the prices to where you are making an honest profit and see how it goes. If the summer is going to bring that much of an increase of people I dont think you will suffer any. Tourists generally expect to pay more and if they pay more for high quality it will be a bargain for them.

just a suggestion
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:01 AM   #2642
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Glad to hear business is still booming. I agree with gman. It's probably time to bump your prices some.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:15 AM   #2643
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Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
It was great to meet you and your family last weekend, Rob. After spending time with you guys I know you've got what it takes to create a successful restaurant. I hope I was able to help as you embark on your journey.

Today was a bit of an eye opener. We sold out in record time. Smoker was at maximum capacity all night and all day and I was completely sold out before 5pm. While amazing, it feels awful to put the sold out sign up even before the prime Saturday evening dinner rush. If this is happening on a 30 degree day in March, what on earth is going to happen when school is out and all the vacationers show up this summer?

I've literally hit the physical capacity of this location. I've got all these off-site events lining up, weddings to cater, but how on earth can it be done? Can't even keep enough food in house to make it past 5 in the restaurant so trying to cook enough for another 100-200 off-site on the same day? There is no way.

It's just stressing me the fark out. Margins are razor thin and since I've essentially hit the cap of what can be sold in a day, there's no good way to make more money. I need to sell more food (without increasing labor and fixed costs) to make money but my hands are tied.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great problem to have, but it's still a problem. And there's no easy solution.

Of course, I don't mind working fewer hours. That's a bonus.
I am sure you thought of this but sounds like it is time for a larger smoker.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:47 AM   #2644
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Originally Posted by gmanNJ View Post
At this point you can increase your prices a bit. You have made your name and everyone knows just how good the food is. There is no need for you to work off of razor thin margins anymore. People will pay more for quality and consistency.

Any customers you may lose due to the price increase will allow you to still have product into the later hours. This is how you dont have to increase capacity, make more money and not run out of food so early. And if you have outgrown this place any bigger place will eat into those razor thin margins. My suggestion is to increase the prices to where you are making an honest profit and see how it goes. If the summer is going to bring that much of an increase of people I dont think you will suffer any. Tourists generally expect to pay more and if they pay more for high quality it will be a bargain for them.

just a suggestion

Agreed. Raising your prices, along with occasional "Specials" to get rid of items you may be starting to backup on should help.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:57 AM   #2645
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Raising prices may be a bit tricky. The prized pig is located in rural michigan. Folks dont have a ton of money and it may not take a large increase to outprice the customer base.
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:32 PM   #2646
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I did raise some prices a few weeks ago. But like mentioned, in this area, price is a sensitive subject. I'm sure I still have some room to move up, but have to be careful with the clientele that makes up the bread and butter. It's a tricky game for sure.

Brisket is the killer though. No way around it, it's going to be $20/lb by summer.
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Old 03-30-2015, 01:22 AM   #2647
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Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
I did raise some prices a few weeks ago. But like mentioned, in this area, price is a sensitive subject. I'm sure I still have some room to move up, but have to be careful with the clientele that makes up the bread and butter. It's a tricky game for sure.

Brisket is the killer though. No way around it, it's going to be $20/lb by summer.
I don't know what you're charging now but $18-$20 per pound is what you can expect to pay for brisket in a good BBQ place here in Dallas. I haven't seen your menu but everyone here puts their meat prices in 1/2 pound quantity.

As far as having more capacity - the places here that are open for dinner start their meats at 2 different times. The brisket used for the lunch crowd may go on at midnight or 2am. Once it's done it's wrapped in paper and put in a holding oven - it can sit like that for hours. Then they start the next round of meats and they're cooking for dinner during the lunch service. Dunno if that's an option for you but thought I'd throw it out there. You'd definitely lose some oversight doing it that way b/c there's no way you can be at the restaurant that whole time.
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Old 03-30-2015, 05:43 AM   #2648
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
I did raise some prices a few weeks ago. But like mentioned, in this area, price is a sensitive subject. I'm sure I still have some room to move up, but have to be careful with the clientele that makes up the bread and butter. It's a tricky game for sure.

Brisket is the killer though. No way around it, it's going to be $20/lb by summer.
Raising prices seems like you'd kill two birds with one stone: 1) raise margins, 2) fewer customers, which would help with running out of stuff at 5pm.

You're running a business, not a charity. If people balk at modest price increases to keep yourself in business without killing yourself then so be it. The fact you are selling out so quickly each day suggests your prices are too low for the quality that you are offering. Price matters when the underlying quality isn't up to par but I suspect you would be surprised by how resilient the customer flow is even after some price hikes (as seems to have been the case with your most recent price increases).

One other thing to add - the cost of meat goes up and down. Presumably, your customers understand this as they all grocery shop. So raising prices on brisket due to very high beef prices seems entirely logical and reasonable. If you want to be a good sport you can always give back some of the price if brisket prices come way down.
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Old 04-01-2015, 02:37 PM   #2649
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Just started reading this thread, very informative.

You may have already said so in the thread but
where do you get you get your meat and maintain quality?

Type of cooker?

thanks,

sam
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Old 04-01-2015, 04:45 PM   #2650
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Maru,

How is the storage space in your cooler and how often do you get meat deliveries ?
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:59 PM   #2651
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A local place here has addressed the off-season and higher prices by offering specials. During the winter they offer "Buck A Bone" on ribs once a week, Stuffed baked potatoes (with pulled pork as the stuffing plus other stuff, a "Texas Taco", etc. Those with less to spend just pick the night their favorite food is being offered as the special.
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:24 PM   #2652
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdman View Post
Just started reading this thread, very informative.

You may have already said so in the thread but
where do you get you get your meat and maintain quality?

Type of cooker?
I work with a few regional food service companies, but in the process of moving most meats to GFS. Just met with their buyers this week and they are going to bring in the brisket and ribs I want special just for us. And at about 15% cheaper, it's a win win. Finding and maintaining quality is always a struggle

As for the smokers, using a SP 300 and a custom Shirley fabrication pit.

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Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
Maru,

How is the storage space in your cooler and how often do you get meat deliveries ?
Pretty much maxed out. Right now just a once a week delivery, but in busy weeks I might need to get a second restock on Fridays.

Quote:
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A local place here has addressed the off-season and higher prices by offering specials. During the winter they offer "Buck A Bone" on ribs once a week, Stuffed baked potatoes (with pulled pork as the stuffing plus other stuff, a "Texas Taco", etc. Those with less to spend just pick the night their favorite food is being offered as the special.
Yeah, we've been running specials since the beginning. At first it was to get people in and utilize leftovers. Now, there usually isn't even anything left to make a special. Like our chicken gumbo Friday's this week. Didn't have a single chicken left to make it happen. Oh well. Just means selling more of everything else at full price.
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:26 PM   #2653
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Still need to get down there. What is the best day to make an evening visit?
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:45 PM   #2654
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Originally Posted by marubozo View Post

Main problem now is meeting weekend demand. Friday and Saturday I'm cooking as many briskets and butts as physically possible and still selling out sometimes before 6. The only way to improve on that would be to fire up Shirley and hire someone to run that pit all night. That's a can of worms I'm not ready to open yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post

Today was a bit of an eye opener. We sold out in record time. Smoker was at maximum capacity all night and all day and I was completely sold out before 5pm. While amazing, it feels awful to put the sold out sign up even before the prime Saturday evening dinner rush. If this is happening on a 30 degree day in March, what on earth is going to happen when school is out and all the vacationers show up this summer?

I've literally hit the physical capacity of this location. I've got all these off-site events lining up, weddings to cater, but how on earth can it be done? Can't even keep enough food in house to make it past 5 in the restaurant so trying to cook enough for another 100-200 off-site on the same day? There is no way.

It's just stressing me the fark out. Margins are razor thin and since I've essentially hit the cap of what can be sold in a day, there's no good way to make more money. I need to sell more food (without increasing labor and fixed costs) to make money but my hands are tied.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great problem to have, but it's still a problem. And there's no easy solution.

Of course, I don't mind working fewer hours. That's a bonus.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post

Pretty much maxed out. Right now just a once a week delivery, but in busy weeks I might need to get a second restock on Fridays.

Would seem that you are limited by 2 major constraints. First being the amount of room available in your smoker. Second is your walk-in. The walk-in is easy to solve. Have your vendors deliver more than once per week.

You have a Shirley, but as you noted, that's another thing to have to get into in finding someone to run the stickburner. What about another Southern Pride ? I know you don't have room inside the kitchen, but around here, many of the places have the smokers on the outside. Cost would be pretty mimimal to sink some posts and fence it in. Wouldn't be that much more to put a roof over top of it.

That would double your smoking capacity without adding too much overhead.

I'd have to think by capturing the revenue you are currently losing by selling out by 5PM and turning away the catering requests, you'd have the smoker paid off in relatively short order, especially if you can find one on the second hand market.

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Old 04-04-2015, 10:54 PM   #2655
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FWIW< here's a SPX-300 on CL.

http://desmoines.craigslist.org/bfs/4963278616.html
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