How to Run a BBQ Restaurant

If you have a love of barbecue, then knowing how to run a BBQ restaurant could become the foundation of your financial success. BBQ restaurants are almost forced to stake their entire reputation on the type and style of barbecue that is offered. If your menu is unique and consistently excellent, then a loyal customer base will quickly develop.

To get that consistency, there are a number of different factors that must be controlled. The first impression is always important, which means your BBQ recipes are important. Don’t expect to use retail sauces to find financial success. You’ll need to create everything from scratch. Talk with your community, see what style of BBQ is preferred [Texas, Memphis, etc.], and then don’t be afraid to test your sauces before you even scout a restaurant location.

Don’t forget the meat during the testing process either. Pulled pork is always successful, but briskets, ribs, sandwiches, and steaks might all be loved in your community as well. Test each with your sauces or allow customers to apply their preferred sauce to their preferred protein. Then follow these additional steps.

1. You’ll Need a High Traffic Location.

Good BBQ is something that people will travel a long way to experience, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you’ll need a high traffic location. Good visibility in a populated area will create a natural customer base. When you’re cooking food, the scents will drift about the area can cause BBQ cravings like you won’t believe. If more people can smell you smoking and slow-cooking meat, then your profits can be a lot bigger.

2. Create the Right Ambiance.

People have a certain expectation for how a BBQ restaurant should look. There should be a certain rustic appeal to the interior. Local tributes, like pictures of the local high school sports teams, can create a connection with the community. If you’ve decided to create a homage to Memphis with your menu, however, a theme that is representative of SoCal probably won’t go over very well.

3. Get Your Paperwork in Order.

You’ll likely need to hire some support staff. You’ll need to have a business license. Your restaurant will need its own financial account. Insurance in this day and age is a definite must-have item. The kitchen of a BBQ restaurant must be inspected by a local health department before it will be allowed to open. You may be required to charge sales tax and additional restaurant taxes depending on your community. A city license may also be necessary. Get your paperwork filled out, fulfill all requirements asked of you by all levels of government, and you’ll be ready to proceed to the next step.

4. Find Food Suppliers.

Locally sourced menu items are always going to sell better. The farm to table movement is popular around the world today and for a BBQ restaurant, it is almost mandatory. Supplementary items like cabbage for slaw might be secured from a bulk food supplier, but your proteins should be farm sourced if at all possible. Negotiate the best price possible, determine serving sizes, and then you’ll be able to set menu prices.

5. Create Your Own Line of Food Products.

All of those sauces that you’ve developed for your menu can also become a huge money making item. Consider having your BBQ sauces bottled up with your restaurant’s name or logo and sell it directly from your location. If you prefer seasoning rubs for your barbecue, then sell these. Sometimes these products perform better than any marketing campaign because your BBQ can be tried at home before visiting your restaurant.

6. Open Up and Offer People Options.

A BBQ restaurant could make a ton of profit from having a catering business. Churches, businesses, and even large family gatherings may all be tempted by your food. Consider having ready-made items for lunch, like BBQ sandwiches, so people can just stop by and grab a tasty bite to eat. Some locations may support a delivery business as well. Weigh all of your options, get your final business plans and structure in place, and then enjoy your grand opening.

Everyone loves good barbecue every now and then. Take your BBQ skills and put them to use with a business venture that supports your passion. Knowing how to run a BBQ restaurant may take a little time to perfect, but when you do, you’ll create a stable, long-term business that your community will love to support.

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