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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 05-01-2011, 05:57 PM   #1
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You guys know what I'm doing with my "shack" and I'd love to hear your ideas. The parameters are:
FEC 500, 48" Chargriller, BIG Offset (think 30 butts easy), convection oven, panini press, big warmer (30 pans), plenty of prep and wash area. Open weekends, seating for 32 inside, 24 outside, carryout.

I think I know what I want to do, but would love to hear - What would YOU serve?
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Unread 05-01-2011, 09:39 PM   #2
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What do you consider your "signature" dish? What is your #1 requested item by your catering customers? That's where I would start and build a menu from there.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 09:48 PM   #3
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#1 requests are beef brisket and twice baked potatoes. Pulled pork is #2.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 09:54 PM   #4
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I cooked a meatloaf for Carolyn today on the Kettle. For a restaurant having smoked meatloaf with a potato and other side would make a great meal idea. I suggest it because it's not normally what people expect and it's darn good food and once people try it they want it.

Also I've seen BBQ pasta where you boil penne, rotini, etc and add pork and BBQ sauce and some cheese on top. It would be excellent baked.

For vending at events the nachos have been really selling and I'd like to try BBQ personal pizzas this year at an event where I can get extra help in the trailer and where I'm not cooking a contest. With prebaked crust you can have a pizza ready in 10 minutes.

But at the end of the day you want these suggestions as "additional menu items" and in most areas I think you'll hear the #1 seller is ribs, then either chicken or pork with brisket following. A lot of people still don't know what brisket is.

And I make sure I had a deep fryer for the fries. People sitting down in a restaurant want fries. Check out the BBQ chains and it's amazing how many people take fries as a side.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 10:47 PM   #5
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Ford - I like your ideas, and your right, some folks don't know brisket. I've even contemplated keeping brisket as one of our "catering and roadside only" items because timing is so critical to quality. I think I could build on pulled pork, shredded chuckie, chicken or turkey and ribs.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 01:32 PM   #6
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Maybe make your Brisket a one day a week special. Say Wednesday is Brisket day. Other than that, Ribs,Ribs, Ribs, pulled pork, shredded beef, And did I say RIBS!!
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Unread 05-02-2011, 01:43 PM   #7
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I also like the meat loaf idea. I do a meat loaf on the grill and it's a hit and not too hard to produce a great product. Also the pasta is something that is not expected at a BBQ Shack,, but you also have a place a few steps from you that is known for putting out a pretty good plate of pasta.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 05:46 PM   #8
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I won't try to compete on any level with Hawthorne, so no pasta for me. I do like the meatloaf idea though! I make a good one. We are only gonna be open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday - to start. Maybe back into Thursday if it goes well. For now I'm thinking Pulled Pork, Shredded Beef, Ribs and Meat Loaf (Hot). Cold sandwiches will be beef eye of round, turkey breast and smoked / pulled chicken salad (my own smoked). Sides i'm leaning to are Billy Goat Chips, Cheesy Hash Brown Bake, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans. 1 salad with or without meat. Maybe too many choices? What should I drop?
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Unread 05-02-2011, 05:46 PM   #9
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Brisket is where the money is.

IF you can cook it, they will come.

Decide if you want to be a BBQ restaurant or a restaurant that sells BBQ.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 06:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
Brisket is where the money is.

IF you can cook it, they will come.

Decide if you want to be a BBQ restaurant or a restaurant that sells BBQ.

I cook the CRAP out of it, and, if I do say so myself (along with a few judges and a loyal client base) do a pretty good job. So, are yu saying drop the cold sandwiches and go old school, like we do with our vending trailer? Pork, Ribs, Brisket, Turkey, Rib Tips. Sides. Period? I dont like holding brisket as the quality can suffer. Chuckie holds better. What about pork steaks, it is St. Lou.......
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Unread 05-02-2011, 06:59 PM   #11
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It sounds like you have a good start. Let the market tell you what to drop or what to add. Just start with what you know you do well, put out a great product and you will be fine.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 08:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
I cook the CRAP out of it, and, if I do say so myself (along with a few judges and a loyal client base) do a pretty good job. So, are yu saying drop the cold sandwiches and go old school, like we do with our vending trailer? Pork, Ribs, Brisket, Turkey, Rib Tips. Sides. Period? I dont like holding brisket as the quality can suffer. Chuckie holds better. What about pork steaks, it is St. Lou.......
IMO...if you've made money cooking real BBQ, stay with what ya know.

I've had excellent success holding brisket, glad to compare notes with ya if it helps.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 09:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
IMO...if you've made money cooking real BBQ, stay with what ya know.

I've had excellent success holding brisket, glad to compare notes with ya if it helps.
You ever cook one whole and re-heat it whole?
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Unread 05-02-2011, 09:50 PM   #14
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I have to agree with a point Ford made; a fryer will make a lot of money. French fries, onion rings, maybe other fried appetizers, and don't forget some sort of fried fish/fish sandwich. All frozen product, (at least to start) cooked to order, no holding issues. And they're very profitable. And don't forget the corn dog offering for the kids...

I love good meatloaf, but how well will it hold over the course of an evening? I'm thinking of that raggedy looking stuff sold in the grocery store hot deli that comes out of the oven looking (and usually tasting) fabulous at 4:30 and looks like old dog food by 7:00. And if it doesn't sell, then what? It's the cooks dinner or dumpster filler. I'd do a little experimenting before I committed to it.

Unless you open for lunch, do you really think you need the cold sandwich offerings? Ask yourself what can you offer in a cold sandwich that would compel someone to come to your place instead of stopping at a Subway/grocery deli/convenience store? Other than the occasional person (who probably came in as part of a group of diners) who decides to "eat light" that day, you may be better off without them. But I would offer the chicken salad, as a "light entree" maybe with some fresh fruit or raw veg.

One thing noticeably absent is desserts and beverages. What are you planning there? Anyone who has a sit down place will tell you that the center of the plate brings the customers in, but drinks and desserts are where the real profits are made. Got an ice machine and a fountain head set up for soda? Iced tea and lemonade? What about desserts? Some sort of ice cream is always good, but I don't think I'd run out and buy a soft serve machine...

Just some thoughts...

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Unread 05-02-2011, 09:57 PM   #15
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Thanks Chris. Fryer is OUT due to space constraints (remember, this place was COMPLETELY equipped and I got it CHEAP so have to work around that). There will be desserts and beverages, just didnt want to post too many details and bore everyone. I'm thinking the cold sandwiches will not happen. Gonna keep it simple. Heck, we've been roadside and catering 5 years in pretty big volume. Just not sure if I should broaden my offereings........
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