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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 07-23-2013, 06:40 PM   #16
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Nice response Bman ... that's the Brethren helpful hand that I have come to know and love around here!
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Unread 07-23-2013, 07:24 PM   #17
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I would look into renting a commercial kitchen and event insurance.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 09:10 PM   #18
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[quote=ssbbqguy;2562178]Don't disrespect those of us that are legal and don't want people with your train of thought ruining the BBQ deal for us. Is that plain enough? Change your whole plan if you want help from anyone that's worth giving it. Steve.[/

What he said.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 01:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotribe28 View Post
Steve, why do you always have to be dick? I am sure that you and prefect self got a start somewhere? I have never heard of a start up caterer or restaurant just investing a couple hundred grand without trying out their product and perfecting it. Why dont you try to give some helpful advice instead of that condescending worthless rant that you give everyone that asks a good question.

Get over your self....

Sorry for the hijack but I have anger management issues towards azzholes....
I agree.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 02:58 AM   #20
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If you think your BBQ is good enough for catering, theres a low barrier to entry to see if you have what it takes. FOOD TRUCK.

Another option would be to rent a commercial kitchen.

Or, whip up some of our best Que and give it out to strangers with a written questionaire for feedback. Just because you think your food is great, does not mean anyone else does. Dont test on people you know. They will all say its great no matter what they think. Only strangers will be honest.

If you attempted to run an illegal catering business out of your house, odds are high that any competition gets wind of it, they are going to rat you out and youre done. I know I would. Also catering to 100 is not the same as making a rack of ribs on your Big Green Egg in the backyard. Theres an art to it that comes from experience. Its a business built over time and through word of mouth. Part time catering out of your house? How are you going to compete with BBQ restaurants catering full time?? When you get you car fixed, do you take it to a shop thats open every day and has experienced mechanics, or do you take it to some guys house that operates part time out of his garage?
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Unread 07-24-2013, 08:27 AM   #21
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Just a friendly reminder here from one of the senior members, please refrain from all name calling. Thank you and now back to our regularly scheduled program.

This is really a good question and some really good answers have come from it.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 09:42 AM   #22
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I was in the same position as you, wanting to get my feet wet, but not wanting to spend a fortune. Our solution was to team up with a local women's group that catered and has access to a approved kitchen(as well as insurance and plenty of equipment). So far it is working out, I will help them with BBQ meats, and they in turn help me out. This catering thing is not all it is cracked up to be, a lot more work than most people realize.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 10:33 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizznessman View Post
There are many established businesses that may view your operation as a threat. They have invested large amounts of money, time and reputation in their business and that means OVERHEAD COSTS.

The one event we did, out of our house, was seen as a threat to a local restaurant (they don't even serve BBQ...???) and they turned us in to the local HD. We got a polite but stern visit from the HD and that is when we decided that it wasn't worth the hassle or possible liability.

Our solution was to rent a licensed kitchen on a per event basis. We also purchase per-event liability insurance for each catering job. We only do 2-3 per year so this works best for us. If we were to decide to do this as our sole income, or a large number of events, we would go ahead and build/purchase our own commercial kitchen.

your post is great and very helpful not only to the original poster but to me also. I never thought about just renting out a kitchen like that. I will have to do some checking on that.

How did a restaurant find out? Were you advertising in the paper?

As far as being a threat to others I don't think so, as there is plenty of work to go around. In most cases maybe not yours...lol

And its funny I did some research and I can't find his so called legal business that he has invested so much money and time with. There is no catering companies with his phone number in his area, nor is there a health inspection for him with the county. So.... I am thinking that he may be just as illegal as most private bbq caters are.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 10:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dan View Post
Have any of you catered out of your home, or are you still doing it???
Yes I did start out by "catering" out of my house, word of mouth advertising. Didn't do a lot of gigs, just enough to get my feet wet. Technically, I don't cater out of my "home" any more.

Quote:
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My questions are, what kind of trouble may I run in to with the city/ county? Are they going to require inspections and such?
Not sure what kind of trouble you could get in with your local health department, but I would imagine it could involve a montetary fine. If you legitimized it, I'm sure they would inspect you like any other licensed establishment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dan View Post
I have a food handlers license, but I would like to keep this as a "side job" ie: under the table for a while, without any government interference, if you get my drift.
I'm sure there are many cash only jobs that don't get included as income with all types of businesses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dan View Post
Your thoughts????
Like I said I started out similarly, but this year I took the steps to get my competition trailer licensed as a "Mobile Food Unit" with the state of Ohio. Now it is licensed and is basically a legal mobile kitchen that I can prepare and sell BBQ out of and cater from. My comp/vending trailer is parked right next to my house, but all the food must be prepared inside my trailer, since the trailer is licensed and the house is not. It was really not all that difficult to get the trailer licensed, just contacted the health department and got the requirement, made a few minor additions to the trailer, paid my license fee, and got inspected and licensed. Not sure if you have a competition trailer, but those are the steps that I took to become legal. That and I'm insured. Hope that helps you.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 10:43 AM   #25
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[quote=Packmanjim;2562690]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssbbqguy View Post
[/

What he said.

Its not disrespectful to try and start a business.... Its the AMERICAN way!!!! And you started the same way as we are trying, so really??????

1. You go to vista print, get 250 free business cards
2. You do a couple of small jobs maybe for family or close friends passing out cards and meeting everyone that is there.
3. IF and only IF the Que is any good, word of mouth spreads and your phone starts ringing and you say to your significant other, "I think I can do this" and you start trying to figure out the legalities. But remember back in your mind those couple of first jobs really were illegal, but we all have done them!!!!
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Unread 07-24-2013, 11:53 AM   #26
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I've found a local kitchen at my church I can use as a base, so I'm going to go that route. They also have a huge "PIT" (bonus!) out back that I could probably use. It is probably better to not do it out of the house, due to some of the legalities mentioned here. To those of you who posted some great ideas, a big thanks!
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Unread 07-24-2013, 11:58 AM   #27
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in California it is illegal to cook food out of your home to serve to the public. you need a commissary to cook out of and you are not suppose to store any meat on your own property also. fines are heavy.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 12:40 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizznessman View Post
All the angst aside I have to add that this is a real issue.

There are many established businesses that may view your operation as a threat. They have invested large amounts of money, time and reputation in their business and that means OVERHEAD COSTS.

The one event we did, out of our house, was seen as a threat to a local restaurant (they don't even serve BBQ...???) and they turned us in to the local HD. We got a polite but stern visit from the HD and that is when we decided that it wasn't worth the hassle or possible liability.

Our solution was to rent a licensed kitchen on a per event basis. We also purchase per-event liability insurance for each catering job. We only do 2-3 per year so this works best for us. If we were to decide to do this as our sole income, or a large number of events, we would go ahead and build/purchase our own commercial kitchen.

First off.....we're only talking about catering here, right?
We've been doing a lot of vending this season (with more to come) and for each event, we get a Temporary Food Permit through whatever local HD requires (this also requires proof of my food handler's license, btw). We've never been told we need a commercial kitchen as long as we're cooking and serving ON SITE.

Now, I have no idea if this would also apply to catering or not? Meaning.....if you brought the smokers out and cooked ON SITE, I wonder if you could get by with that legally? I guess it depends on your local regs/reqs.



This certainly is a real issue though.....the "threat".
There are businesses out there of all types that, when they feel threatened by any competitor (ESPECIALLY one that beats them in price) will do whatever they can to stop that other business from keeping it up.

I mean, God forbid that the laws of supply and demand take effect or that someone stay in business based solely upon their product and/or service being better or at least a better value than the other guy. Let's rat em out and shut em down, that way I can get the business that I feel I am entitled to. Yeah, that's better.

I'm not saying that someone who starts into this business should not acquire the legal necessities to be legit, but beyond that, if your overhead is more than my overhead because I chose to streamline more or decide to make due with less extravagant equipment, then suck it up and either get competitive or don't, but this whole idea of screwing the other guy because he's beating my prices so he MUST be doing SOMETHING illegal I just don't get at all.

I've been warned on this very site that even some of our fellow Brethren have played this game that way. Not cool.




Bottom line? Opening a business is a risk. Period. Part of that risk is whether or not your product and services will sell. Another part of that risk is the costs involved with starting up a business. Any new business has to have enough revenue to cover not only the costs of operation (which in BBQ, include not only meat, rubs, etc, but also insurance, licensing as necessary, staff costs if needed, taxes, etc., etc., etc), but also but hopefully profit above and beyond that.

You're free to "ease into it" as much or as little as you decide, but without being completely legal and legit from day one, you run a bigger risk (legally) than if you DO become legal.

As said above......most, if not all, people doing catering or selling their BBQ, likely got their start somewhere along the way by doing so "under the table" here and there. It's just that some of them seem to forget that after they have established that business and now, they expect EVERYONE to put up $10K before they sell that first PP sammich.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 03:37 PM   #29
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If you knowingly and intentionally violate the law, you fully deserve every penalty and punishment that the law provides.

Have we completely lost our way? Licensing and health regulations have a specific purpose. You might think that the health and safety of the general public is just a little thing, but you are wrong. Have you ever known anyone that went to a licensed and inspected restaurant but still got sick? And yet you think you deserve to go to a completely uncontrolled environment and operate at less than the minimum legal standard? All to save a few hundred dollars in licensing fees and sanitation?

Of course, you will be able to save even more money by treating and prescribing medicine to anyone that may suffer ill effects from your food. Since licenses do not matter, you should be able to practice medicine too. And you should be able to get a really cheap attorney to represent you, since he will not need a license either.

Streamline your operations all you want. As stated by others, that is the American way. But regulation in the name of public safety is also the American way. Licenses do not cost that much, typically only a few hundred dollars per year. You should be able to cover licensing expenses for the whole year on your first job. And meeting the minimum standards of food safety and hygiene, well that cost is just not negotiable. Just ask the family of a person that dies from salmonella how much the sanitation would have been worth to them.

That brings us back full circle to point #1 - If you knowingly and intentionally violate the law, you fully deserve every penalty and punishment that the law provides.
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Unread 07-24-2013, 03:53 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Know Bull View Post
If you knowingly and intentionally violate the law, you fully deserve every penalty and punishment that the law provides.

Have we completely lost our way? Licensing and health regulations have a specific purpose. You might think that the health and safety of the general public is just a little thing, but you are wrong. Have you ever known anyone that went to a licensed and inspected restaurant but still got sick? And yet you think you deserve to go to a completely uncontrolled environment and operate at less than the minimum legal standard? All to save a few hundred dollars in licensing fees and sanitation?

Of course, you will be able to save even more money by treating and prescribing medicine to anyone that may suffer ill effects from your food. Since licenses do not matter, you should be able to practice medicine too. And you should be able to get a really cheap attorney to represent you, since he will not need a license either.

Streamline your operations all you want. As stated by others, that is the American way. But regulation in the name of public safety is also the American way. Licenses do not cost that much, typically only a few hundred dollars per year. You should be able to cover licensing expenses for the whole year on your first job. And meeting the minimum standards of food safety and hygiene, well that cost is just not negotiable. Just ask the family of a person that dies from salmonella how much the sanitation would have been worth to them.

That brings us back full circle to point #1 - If you knowingly and intentionally violate the law, you fully deserve every penalty and punishment that the law provides.

I would add however that it is not just the licensing fees. In order to become licensed you will need to build/purchase/lease a commercial kitchen. In our state the HD will not license any structure/equipment that is not commercial grade. Therefore you have the license cost + the full cost of the commercial kitchen. Bottom line is if you are going into business expect to incur the full costs of that venture. The leasing of a commercial kitchen keeps us legal and our overhead low.
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