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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 02-24-2010, 08:46 PM   #1
MariettaSmoker
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Default UH-OH, I think I messed up...

I took some pulled pork that I cooked this past weekend and shared it with some guys at work. They LOVED it and want me to start doing this on a regular basis. They said they would pay me. One of my friends there is practically begging me to cater to the people at my job maybe once per week. About 150 people total. Other people have said that would love to buy some Q from me and have asked if I can do chicken, etc. Said that they would pay well for it.

Now, my problem is, Im new to this whole thing and have no clue what to do here. Should I do this? I have a ton of questions about it. AND I only have the one UDS. I know nothing about "catering" or cooking for the masses.

I will admit, though, that it is pretty cool to have people like my food enough to want to buy it.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 08:53 PM   #2
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Congrats on people enjoying your food.. that's great !!

As to what they say they want and what they actually do are two different things. You need to validate this.. Every week they want BBQ for 150 people ? How much are they really willing to pay ? Are they expecting to just cover costs without you making a realistic profit ?

One UDS is not going to cut it and you don't want to invest time in building multiple drums or buying a large pit for something that doesn't pan out longer term or you find that it's too much for you or starts to feel more like work than fun.

The members here with catering experience will be better able to give you better insight into what it's really like on a recurring basis.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:27 PM   #3
MariettaSmoker
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Ill agree, there. My friend was getting a little excited about the prospects of it and was pushing me to do it. I dont think it would be an every week thing, but once a month would be realistic. I asked around with different people there today and each one said that they wouldnt mind paying good money for good food.

I think if I did it, I would take pre-orders for it...would that be a good idea or not? Im going to ask more people tomorrow...maybe even send a company wide email out to see what response I get.

I dont know...Im dazed and confused with it all. LOL. It just came up all of a sudden and got me to thinking. I guess thats why I posted it...to see what the un-dazed and confused thought. LOL
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:30 PM   #4
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That has happened to me also but we only have 25 employees but they buy on a regular basis. You will need to build a couple more UDS.You will find the business will plateau and fall off some they won want to pay you for your time just the meat. You have to build every hour you spend buying,preping,rub cost, chacoal,wood and then your time into it to be worth your time. Don't cut yourself short because they are friends and co-workers. If your friends won't pay then who will? just my opinion
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:39 PM   #5
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CYA. Just friendly advice, but if you don't have a commercial kitchen inspected and certified by your local authorities, and more importantly, personal liability insurance, you are taking a risk by selling prepared food. I don't mean to be a wet blanket, just reality.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:44 PM   #6
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I'm no expert on catering Q, but here are my $0.02...

I would politely say no thanks... but thanks for all the compliments. Besides pricing your grub to make up for all the things that go into making it great, your other issue is health-related - not that you would ever turn out any substandard/unhealthy Q, but you can't guarantee that folks will keep things properly refrigerated until they get home or whether they ate a tainted shredded chicken burrito before they eat your Q... in both hypothetical cases your grub will get the evil eye, and then your sales will go down at work.

My dad always says " Never do business with friends... you stand to lose both your money and your friend. The first is acceptable, the latter is not".

If you really want to go pro, then treat it like a business venture ie not just cooking for folks at work, and proceed accordingly. I'm sure there are many of the brethren with sound knowledge on how to best do this.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:45 PM   #7
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No wet blanket at all...This is stuff I need to know and WANT to know before I do anything.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:46 PM   #8
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Man, I wouldn't take it on... and I love cooking.

Here's what you should do - Invite the folks from work you consider friends over for a BBQ some weekend. They'll love it and you will too!
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Unread 02-24-2010, 09:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caliking View Post
I'm no expert on catering Q, but here are my $0.02...

I would politely say no thanks... but thanks for all the compliments. Besides pricing your grub to make up for all the things that go into making it great, your other issue is health-related - not that you would ever turn out any substandard/unhealthy Q, but you can't guarantee that folks will keep things properly refrigerated until they get home or whether they ate a tainted shredded chicken burrito before they eat your Q... in both hypothetical cases your grub will get the evil eye, and then your sales will go down at work.

My dad always says " Never do business with friends... you stand to lose both your money and your friend. The first is acceptable, the latter is not".

If you really want to go pro, then treat it like a business venture ie not just cooking for folks at work, and proceed accordingly. I'm sure there are many of the brethren with sound knowledge on how to best do this.
Thanks for that, Cali...Im just starting out with Q and smoking it. I think my stuff is good, but not to the point these guys think. Anyway, you are probably right... as well as is Kevin.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 10:24 PM   #10
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I too have had this "issue". Not just with Q, but with a few dishes that I make.

I've always handled it the same way: "You buy the supplies and the drinks, I'll do the labor. We'll make a meal of it and you can take the leftovers home with you."

Cooking is a pleasure for me, not a business. If I do try to make a go of it as a business, I'm going to do it full bore, not just some side case. The risks aren't worth it to me unless I really go out and invest all of the CYA time to get all of the permits and things.
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Unread 02-24-2010, 10:48 PM   #11
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Enjoy the compliment! And remember it's always ok to say "no".
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Unread 02-24-2010, 11:40 PM   #12
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There's some good advice already given to help make your decision. I'd advise against sending out an e-mail. In the hair-splitters mod, that could be considered using company resources for personal interests or gain. (personal enrichment is what the employee manual of my former company called it.)

I don't know that I would solicit orders either; I'd let them come to you. If it's good Q, word will get around fast and people will find you.

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Unread 02-25-2010, 01:03 AM   #13
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You would be inviting trouble. You need a business liscense for starters. Lots of other red tape for catering businesses which is what you would be doing basically.
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Unread 02-25-2010, 05:48 AM   #14
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It's already been noted, but wanting it and buying it are 2 different things.

I was in somewhat the same situation where we had a retirement party for someone and everyone brought a dish and I received many comments on my beans and people wanting them all the time. I couldn' keep up with the demand at first and then it just fell off. People do get burnt out after a while.

So, I setup a mailing list and I send a notice to the list to give them the oppertunity to get some Que when I'm doing some major cooking for one of my normal personal chef customers. I don't do any of the cooking emails from my company mailbox, but I do send to a company mailbox i they requst it.

I think you have the right idea of maybe just doing it on occassion while having everyone chip in. Just think about whether you really do want to cater or not. If so, do it right, get all your duck in a row and go for it. If not, I would just cook to enjoy it.
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