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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 01-30-2010, 01:40 AM   #1
Big H
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Default $4000 Question???

I have $4000 grand saved for a new smoker with additional funds set aside for start up cost and somewhat of a business plan..So here's the big question.. I live in an area where bbq is really not available..No real bbq joints to speak of within a reasonable driving distance.. lots of small towns close together just no real Q.. I have a full time job self employed and work 3 to 4 days a week plus wife works a govt job..lots of free time for me..So I was contemplating starting a small catering company with hopes of opening a small Blues themed BBQ joint really old school style. So would I be better off starting off with a small catering company or a small BBQ joint open say Wed thru Sat and then catering out of there?? and for $4000 grand what smoker would you choose?? any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 02:44 AM   #2
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Where abouts in Oregon are you?
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Unread 01-30-2010, 05:01 AM   #3
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I love the idea of a blues themes old school joint,but I wouldn't know what to start out doing wish you luck though.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 06:12 AM   #4
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$4000 grand? 4,000 X 1,000 = $4,000,000 (four million dollars)
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Unread 01-30-2010, 06:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthwestBBQ View Post
$4000 grand? 4,000 X 1,000 = $4,000,000 (four million dollars)
i was thinking the same thing
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Unread 01-30-2010, 07:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthwestBBQ View Post
$4000 grand? 4,000 X 1,000 = $4,000,000 (four million dollars)
Quote:
Originally Posted by chopshop View Post
i was thinking the same thing
It's good to see that I'm not the only smart a$$ in the crowd, just the slowest

For $4000 look at the Cookshack FEC-100. It is NSF certified, can hold quite a bit of meat, and produces quality, consistent results.

http://store.cookshack.com/c-80-fec-series-100.aspx

You could also look and an Old Hickory or Southern Pride, but I have no idea about the cost of those.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 07:58 AM   #7
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Since you are in Oregon you might also want to check out Traeger for their commercial lines that are built in the US.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 08:14 AM   #8
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$4k will not get you a smoker with the capacity to support a BBQ restaurant even a small one. The FE100 would be good for catering but again only small jobs unless you have another smoker. And that's assuming under the radar - no advertising, strictly friends and word of mouth. a HD approved setup can run a whole lot of money. Not sure about regs in Oregon but I'd start by asking your Health Dept about setting up a business.

Just a rough idea for you on initial investment if going legal:

catering/vending trailer $25 - 75K
small restaurant kitchen $50-250k if there's nothing there now.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 08:33 AM   #9
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Marv's Marvlus BBQ is in that are and he does a pretty good business catering BBQ so I think the market is there.

Catering or a joint? I think (only an opinion and coming from no experience) that you may want to start out with catering. That way you can see if there is a market for Q and see if you like doing it with out the expense of working a bricks and mortar location and all the expense that comes with it. With catering if it does not work out you part ways with your a equipment and take a bit of a loss and go on your way. If you get into a raunt and it does not go for you then you may end up broke.

As to what to buy for $4k there are so many good choices in that range. The FEC-100 is a good choice. The Diamond Plate Fat 50 is a good choice for catering as you can smoke on it and then set it up to grill with the available options. Stumps, Spicewine and Backwoods all make good products in that price range as well.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 09:26 AM   #10
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Big H,

I would recommend checking with your local HD before you start purchasing anything. Make sure they approve of your idea and ask them (although I'm sure they'll let you know) if they recommend/suggest anything. You want these guys on your side if you know what I mean.

If you do mobile catering you'll need a trailer spec'd for a mobile kitchen which can start adding up, but nothing I'd give up on if this is truely a goal you have. There's a lot of guys on here that will share priceless info, so you're in the right spot for advice. Keep us posted.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 09:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
Just a rough idea for you on initial investment if going legal:

catering/vending trailer $25 - 75K
small restaurant kitchen $50-250k if there's nothing there now.
There's no way in the world that the couple BBQ joints that are near me spent that kind of money.

A more substantial sit-down restaurant with music and such? Sure, but a lot of folks also do catering jobs out of their own kitchens on $100 smokers.

Looks like the ones around here have some homemade cookers parked out back of a rented cinderblock building and mainly do walk-up window service and catering jobs.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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That can get you catering/personal chef work ($4,000). But you will need to re-invest earnings to get more equipment, etc. It is a process that just does not happen overnight.

I started out with twice your amount and just about put all compensation back into the business. If it is truly a passion/hobby you will get a kick out of doing that. If you are doing this to be an immediate primary funding source, you should re-consider if you are ready!
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Unread 01-30-2010, 09:43 AM   #13
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You might want to check out this link.
One of the brethren has a nice setup for sale ready to roll
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=73394
This could be a great way to get up and going.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 10:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TN_BBQ View Post
There's no way in the world that the couple BBQ joints that are near me spent that kind of money.

A more substantial sit-down restaurant with music and such? Sure, but a lot of folks also do catering jobs out of their own kitchens on $100 smokers.

Looks like the ones around here have some homemade cookers parked out back of a rented cinderblock building and mainly do walk-up window service and catering jobs.
Wish I was in TN. Regs are a lot more relaxed than in MI and many other States. And rural rather than "big city" also seems to make a difference. Here to setup a restaurant you need all NSF equipment and then need smoke extraction, fire supression, etc. Now if you don't have a kitchen and just cook out of backyard smokers you can get by with less, especially if there's no eat in. Take out only makes a difference. But decide to add a stove or fryer and all kinds of regs come into place.

I've heard Oregon has some fairly strict rules. Now for pure catering it's different. And for non licensed catering that most people do there's no regs and no inspection unless you get caught.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 10:30 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the valuable insight..I am not expecting to do this overnight and do not need to turn it into a sole source of income right away..I was planning on this being a low and slow kinda of thing with a grad build up.Haste makes waste..Right?? and I fully intend to be in compliance with any and all state and local regs.. Thanks again for all the input. I have to laugh at myself $4000 grand..What was I thinking...I could open one hell of a bbq joint with that kinda cash.
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