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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-26-2014, 06:59 PM   #1051
markrvp
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Hey Jeremy:

1.) Don't forget to make your full website active... it still says opening soon.

2.) Could you please make some wide-angle photographs around your kitchen area? We've never seen the finished inside of the kitchen.

I'm so excited that when the doors finally opened, people were lined up waiting. Takes some of the sting out of all the BS to get there.
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Unread 01-26-2014, 07:36 PM   #1052
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
There are actually patterns in the restaurant business that are well understood in terms of how a business cycles. It is not at all unexpected to have a rush, and to have very heavy business when a new restaurant opens, even more so, if the product is good. This is when you have the chance to establish a base of customers who will become regulars. There will be a drop off, usually around 2 months in, that will see business decline, to a steady state. Until you get there, you should not make huge expenditures.

Once you have been open 6 months, you will see where your demands are, and how you need to staff, cook and operate. That is the time to measure what you are doing. Franklin is a phenomenon, but, remember that he is in Austin, which offers certain market factors (young, hip, high income, entertainment oriented) that are not present in most locations.
I thought the same thing and I'm sure Jeremy is also aware of this. (I thought of it and both of you have forgotten more about running a restaurant than I will ever know. ;) ) What is the possibility that the steady state level could be affected by supply shortages early on?
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Unread 01-26-2014, 10:42 PM   #1053
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Is this your first restaurant? Congrats!

I have been in the business for a very long time, and it sounds like your doing a great job.. Whenever we have opened a new diner up we start with boom. I helped a friend open recently, and his first 3 months were hitting 65k/week in sales.

My advise is prep prep prep.. its good to run out, but not all the time.. Now Im no smoke master.. but since you know your moving product why not make your butts, slaw, beans etc. whatever you can cook and keep it your cooler and worry about keeping other items daily such as ribs and brisket? Do you have walk-in coolers?

We arent a BBQ joint, and dont specialize in it. but we cook briskets, pulled pork etc. ahead. But in terms of coleslaw, and whatever else can hold its all prepped up and ready to move... just my 2 cents!
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Unread 01-26-2014, 11:07 PM   #1054
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrvp View Post
Hey Jeremy:

1.) Don't forget to make your full website active... it still says opening soon.

2.) Could you please make some wide-angle photographs around your kitchen area? We've never seen the finished inside of the kitchen.

I'm so excited that when the doors finally opened, people were lined up waiting. Takes some of the sting out of all the BS to get there.
Oh yeah, the website is happening ASAP. But these 16-18 hour days lately haven't provided any time. But I've got Monday and Tuesday to do the back-end stuff and get the site up.

And yes, many more photos are coming. Given I'm also a photographer, I'm planning a restaurant photo shoot sometime this week to get good pics of the restaurant itself, plates of food, individual items, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinop View Post
Is this your first restaurant? Congrats!

I have been in the business for a very long time, and it sounds like your doing a great job.. Whenever we have opened a new diner up we start with boom. I helped a friend open recently, and his first 3 months were hitting 65k/week in sales.

My advise is prep prep prep.. its good to run out, but not all the time.. Now Im no smoke master.. but since you know your moving product why not make your butts, slaw, beans etc. whatever you can cook and keep it your cooler and worry about keeping other items daily such as ribs and brisket? Do you have walk-in coolers?

We arent a BBQ joint, and dont specialize in it. but we cook briskets, pulled pork etc. ahead. But in terms of coleslaw, and whatever else can hold its all prepped up and ready to move... just my 2 cents!
This was the conversation I had with my head cook yesterday. We are changing her schedule a bit and going to go big on the prep. She will be coming in early and prepping enough of the stuff that can hold for a few days that we hopefully won't need to prep every single thing every day.

But the one thing I won't compromise on is the meat. I refuse to smoke things ahead of time and then reheat for service. The time I feel I need to resort to that, I'll just close the place down.

So, to help manage the capacity issue, I'm going to move to running the pit 24 hours. At close, we'll load that thing up with briskets and butts, which will be done by morning. Then we can pull all of that and put it in the cvap and the smoker will be empty and ready to stock up on all the quick cooking meats and more briskets and butts that will finish for dinner. And the good thing about the cvap is that any of the large cuts of meat that don't sell out by lunch will hold just fine until dinner.

Other things that will help this week will be slimming down the menu a bit so that there's more room on the smoker, and should also help everyone on the line by having fewer different types of orders to fill.

Plus, the weather is suppose to be brutal again this week, with snow, closings, and -45 wind chills, so I'm actually hoping that slows things down a bit.
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Unread 01-26-2014, 11:14 PM   #1055
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I totally agree with you about not compromising the quality of the meat. BBQ just isn't the same after it has been refrigerated then reheated. Your emphasis on quality will be your ticket to long term reputation and success.
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Unread 01-27-2014, 05:29 AM   #1056
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
Oh yeah, the website is happening ASAP. But these 16-18 hour days lately haven't provided any time. But I've got Monday and Tuesday to do the back-end stuff and get the site up.

And yes, many more photos are coming. Given I'm also a photographer, I'm planning a restaurant photo shoot sometime this week to get good pics of the restaurant itself, plates of food, individual items, etc.



This was the conversation I had with my head cook yesterday. We are changing her schedule a bit and going to go big on the prep. She will be coming in early and prepping enough of the stuff that can hold for a few days that we hopefully won't need to prep every single thing every day.

But the one thing I won't compromise on is the meat. I refuse to smoke things ahead of time and then reheat for service. The time I feel I need to resort to that, I'll just close the place down.

So, to help manage the capacity issue, I'm going to move to running the pit 24 hours. At close, we'll load that thing up with briskets and butts, which will be done by morning. Then we can pull all of that and put it in the cvap and the smoker will be empty and ready to stock up on all the quick cooking meats and more briskets and butts that will finish for dinner. And the good thing about the cvap is that any of the large cuts of meat that don't sell out by lunch will hold just fine until dinner.

Other things that will help this week will be slimming down the menu a bit so that there's more room on the smoker, and should also help everyone on the line by having fewer different types of orders to fill.

Plus, the weather is suppose to be brutal again this week, with snow, closings, and -45 wind chills, so I'm actually hoping that slows things down a bit.
Ahh, yeah I was going to suggest a cvap and this kind of scheduling, didn't realize you already have one.

If ya don't mind, could you give a quick rundown on the smoker and cvap you are using? And what your thoughts are on the cvap and how well it works at holding the food, although it seems like you aren't getting to hold very long!!
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Unread 01-27-2014, 10:02 AM   #1057
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TailGateJoecom View Post
Ahh, yeah I was going to suggest a cvap and this kind of scheduling, didn't realize you already have one.

If ya don't mind, could you give a quick rundown on the smoker and cvap you are using? And what your thoughts are on the cvap and how well it works at holding the food, although it seems like you aren't getting to hold very long!!
I'm using a Southern Pride SPX 300 and a Winston HC4009 cvap. The cvap is amazing. Big cuts like butts and brisket can hold in there for 10 hours and come out as fresh and moist as if you pulled it right from the smoker. Ribs and chicken hold ok, but after about two hours I think the quality starts slipping a bit.

But it has been working out perfectly for brisket and pulled pork. Just keep four or five of each in there and pull them out and slice/pull as needed.

Today is a total bust though. Mother nature sure isn't cooperating with me for this grand opening. The entire county shut down today and there are 10 foot snow drifts blocking a lot of roads. Travel is restricted to emergency vehicles only, and tow trucks have even ceased recovery operations.

I guess the only upside to that is I'm forced to stay home and work on all the back-end stuff.
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Unread 01-27-2014, 10:34 AM   #1058
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Bummed to hear the weather is keeping you home today instead of at the Que joint. The plus side is the time you need to work on the backend of things on the website. I am a web designer by trade and I know how time consuming it all can be.

On another note, glad things are going well for you down at the Prized Pig
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Unread 01-27-2014, 10:45 AM   #1059
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
There are actually patterns in the restaurant business that are well understood in terms of how a business cycles. It is not at all unexpected to have a rush, and to have very heavy business when a new restaurant opens, even more so, if the product is good. This is when you have the chance to establish a base of customers who will become regulars. There will be a drop off, usually around 2 months in, that will see business decline, to a steady state. Until you get there, you should not make huge expenditures.

Once you have been open 6 months, you will see where your demands are, and how you need to staff, cook and operate. That is the time to measure what you are doing. Franklin is a phenomenon, but, remember that he is in Austin, which offers certain market factors (young, hip, high income, entertainment oriented) that are not present in most locations.
It's called "Bounce" in the F&B industry fwiw.
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Unread 01-27-2014, 11:19 AM   #1060
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
I'm using a Southern Pride SPX 300 and a Winston HC4009 cvap. The cvap is amazing. Big cuts like butts and brisket can hold in there for 10 hours and come out as fresh and moist as if you pulled it right from the smoker. Ribs and chicken hold ok, but after about two hours I think the quality starts slipping a bit.

But it has been working out perfectly for brisket and pulled pork. Just keep four or five of each in there and pull them out and slice/pull as needed.

Today is a total bust though. Mother nature sure isn't cooperating with me for this grand opening. The entire county shut down today and there are 10 foot snow drifts blocking a lot of roads. Travel is restricted to emergency vehicles only, and tow trucks have even ceased recovery operations.

I guess the only upside to that is I'm forced to stay home and work on all the back-end stuff.
Ahhh, cool, thanks for the info. I am in the very early stages of doing what you are doing, thanks for the great thread and sharing your experience with us!!
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Unread 01-27-2014, 12:17 PM   #1061
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Quote:
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I'm using a Southern Pride SPX 300
Bet your already wishing you got the 500!?!
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Unread 01-27-2014, 12:26 PM   #1062
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Bet your already wishing you got the 500!?!
Hah. I am, kind of. It wouldn't have fit and would have required a lot of custom construction to make it happen, but in hindsight with everything that has gone wrong, that would have been no problem at all.
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Unread 01-27-2014, 12:37 PM   #1063
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While I'm not a full fledged restaurant guy like you are, I do sell in a farmer's market during summers. I can only cook so much food and...knock on wood....it all sells well before the market closes. Very few people actually get angry about missing out...they usually just say "I gotta get here earlier next week" or something like that. If you cook as much as you can, keep giving the excellent customer service you currently are, and let people know you're doing the absolute best you can...people will understand...especially if your food is as good as it is. They'll find a way to make it to your place earlier.

Changing the hours to a closing time of "or until we run out..." let's people know they can't slack. Those that actually get mad when you run out...well, those kinds of people are never happy anyway....
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Unread 01-27-2014, 12:48 PM   #1064
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Sounds like you've got a lot of great problems, if you get my meaning.

The 24 hour pit sounds like a great solution. Closing between lunch and dinner is also probably a good idea. No reason you can't extend your hours later if it makes sense after this opening boom is done. Something like "Hours: Tues - Sun 11-2 and 5-8 OR UNTIL WE RUN OUT" right on the door might help set expectations.
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Unread 01-27-2014, 01:07 PM   #1065
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>> "or until we run out..." let's people know they can't slack.

That can be a strong marketing tool. If folks know that once you're out of something, that's it til tomorrow ... at the very least they'll know you cook fresh every day.

A portable sign out front, saying 'ALMOST OUT OF PULLED PORK' when you're running low, can attract a lot of impulse purchases from cars that would otherwise pass by.

Oooh, how about a sign like this:

BRISKET . . . NOW SERVING
SPARE RIBS . . . RUNNING LOW
PULLED PORK . . . AVAILABLE FRESH, NOON TOMORROW
CHILI . . . NOW SERVING

See that? Instead of saying you're out of pulled pork, turn it into a positive, saying it'll be available FRESH OFF THE SCHMOKER tomorrow at noon.
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