Getting into the BBQ franchise is a smart business strategy. BBQ restaurants are really popular in the U.S. and there are many chains out there that you could join or you could start your own franchise. The key to success is always to provide good food and good customer service.
Here are 9 tips for running a BBQ franchise that you probably have never thought about before:
Don’t Act Like a Chain
Even though you are a franchise, you don’t have to act like one. While of course there needs to be some continuity and familiarity between franchise units, you don’t want it to feel too cookie cutter. It is a good idea for each location to bring in its own flavor from the community that it operates in.
Become a Community Hot Spot
Besides bringing the community flavor into your BBQ franchise, you can also connect more to your customers by becoming a popular gathering spot for the community. Open up your restaurant to community events like town meetings and sports teams award dinners and you will find your customer return rate increase substantially. When people think of a fun place for dinner and hanging out with family and friends, they will think of your place.
Hire Staff that Share Your Passion
In order to create that warm, friendly and personable environment in your franchise, of course, you need to hire the right staff. Your employees need to share your vision for the restaurant and be as passionate as you are about providing each customer the best experience possible.
Besides hiring the right people, you also need to train them appropriately so they know how to handle any situations that might come up in the restaurant.
Make Delicious Food
This goes without saying, but with barbecue it can be especially challenging until you find yourself in the sweet spot of what goes into making each dish perfectly. Barbecuing just right is a slow process and can take anywhere from 12 to 16 hours. Sometimes it can feel a little hit and miss at first perfecting the process to get the right amount of tenderness. And finding the right sauce is a big ingredient too.
Creating an attractive menu is also important. With a barbecue joint, you don’t have to go crazy with having a lot of different types of dishes, but you do want to offer enough options to draw enough of a bigger crowd.
Take Baby Steps
Taking things slow may seem counterintuitive. Most restaurants you see open going full service right from the start, but there is something to say about taking the slow route, especially when it comes to barbecue.
Because there is usually some trial and error when running a barbecue pit, don’t feel pressure to have a lot of dishes on your menu when you first open. Pick a few dishes that are your strongest like brisket, ribs and sausage which are barbecue staples, and start with them. Your customers will appreciate your emphasis on quality. Then when the kitchen is running consistently smooth then start adding more options to your menu.
Another benefit to starting small is that you can have better control of your food costs which will help you stay afloat in those crucial first couple of months.
Another part of taking to slow is keeping your hours on the limited side in the beginning until you have a steady flow of customers throughout both lunch and dinner. Try maybe just opening for lunch and wait until later to tack on dinner hours. That way you aren’t paying your staff to wait around during lulls in the day and you won’t have to throw away as much food. It is always better to err on the side of caution until you are feeling more confident about your customer base.
Invest in Quality Side Dishes
While Grade A juicy, delicious meat is of course important, your side dishes matter as well. As you build out your menu more, make sure you offer a variety of good quality dishes. This will help draw in customers who may not be big meat eaters, but who would appreciate your other offerings. Make sure you prepare fresh side dishes and not stuff out of a can or a tub. Your customers will be able to tell the difference.
Create Daily Specials
Daily Specials are a great way to move your more expensive dishes that don’t get ordered quite as often and it is also a good way to gauge customer interest in your different dishes. If you offer a dish on special and the customers don’t eat it up then maybe you should consider taking it off the menu until you can perfect it more.
Find the Price Sweet Spot
The costs of running a barbecue joint is more expensive than other franchises which can be a challenge. You need to recoup your losses and make money, but you know too high prices will drive most customers away. Your loyal customers who are truly barbecue aficionados understand that quality meats will cost a little more and will be expecting it. Just try to find that sweet spot where you keep your restaurant thriving but keep costs manageable for the customer.
Never Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
When it comes to investing in and running a business, there is always an element of risk involved. To protect yourself from going completely belly up, you need to make sure you have a fail-safe. Make sure you have money coming in from another avenue to keep you afloat if things don’t go as well as you hoped. That way you can rebound easier from a failed business.
Interesting in getting into the BBQ franchise, but don’t have a lot of experience? Don’t worry about. Having the right people in your corner can be a big help. Chaps Pit Beef is now offering franchise units for its nationally known barbecue restaurant. For more information about running a BBQ franchise, contact Chaps Pit Beef today.