Barbecue (alt.food.barbecue) Discuss barbecue and grilling--southern style "low and slow" smoking of ribs, shoulders and briskets, as well as direct heat grilling of everything from burgers to salmon to vegetables.

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Old 18-12-2009, 07:16 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wenatchee WA

On Thu, 17 Dec 2009 21:59:22 -0600, Sqwertz
wrote:

On Thu, 17 Dec 2009 14:02:09 -0800, Dave Bugg wrote:

I love this NG. Now all I need to do
is figure a way to get back to Texas and hook up
with Sqwertz and Om.


Any time. I'm much prettier in person than on Usenet. Ther4e's a
few other lower-profile foodies here who's names you'd recognize.

-sw


And you ain't bad on Usenet, either.

I'm just sayin'. ;-)


Desideria

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Old 18-12-2009, 10:52 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue,alt.binaries.food
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Default Wenatchee WA



"Dave Bugg" wrote in message
...
Ekal Byar wrote:

Went belly up.


LOL!!! It wasn't as bad as that. Heck, we were named 'Best New Business of
The Year' by the public the first year we were opened. After two years, I
was seeing customer growth at about 5% per year. I had projected, based on
my research, that we should see a 20% per year growth during our first 5
years of operation. We maintained customer loyalty and repeat business
(about a 92% return rate), but new customer growth was too slow for my
comfort. We had a so-so profit return: about $42,000 per year average on
about $296,000 in sales each year. That was just not sufficient enough for
my tastes, and the low percentage growth in new customers clearly
demonstrated that an increase in our profit margin was not going to happen
as fast as I wanted it to.

This was a problem for me for one very big reason.... I was running myself
ragged and literally had no time for myself or family. Then it hit me like
a bucket of icy water: I didn't own the business as much as the business
owned me. I was an employee, not a business owner. I had never planned to
work 16-18 hour days, 7 days a week forever and ever. I had expected that
after the first year, I would be able to hire a chef to manage the store
and kitchen, but the profit margin didn't allow for that level of employee
expansion.

At the point I decided to sell the land and building, I had been going at
creating and running the business for several years. Some of you may
remember my initial post here in which I announced my decision to open a
bbq joint. I had reached THAT decision after over a year of burning the
midnight oil, while working full time at the health district, researching
and drafting a rough business plan. I had been at this a loooong time, and
I was exhausted. We sold the building and, after the business loan was
paid off, came away with a decent profit . Since we owned our restaurant
equipment and furniture, we were fortunate to capture about 75% of our
purchase price when it was sold. That is an atypically high recapture
percentage, but most of the kitchen gear was purchased new and was kept in
excellent condition (I was a bear on kitchen and equipment cleanliness).

Bad location.


It was, given the conditions that the city imposed AFTER I opened the
doors. It was a considerable factor in lower than expected new customer
growth.

I had been concerned, from the beginning, that the location lacked one BIG
factor: great visibility. During the time I spent working with the city
during the building permitting process, I specifically met several times
with the city manager to obtain assurances, in writing, that we would be
able to have adequate signage, both on the property, and at other
locations throughout the city, to direct potential customers to our store.
I won't go into the whole long story and battle that occured AFTER we
opened; suffice it to say that the city decided to change its sign
ordinances which effectively blinded my location from the direct view of
motorists who use the two major streets which carry the major traffic
flow. The city's attorney held to the position that my agreement with the
now EX city manager (he left shortly after the store was built) held no
weight for allowing a grandfathering exemption to the new ordinance. He
then smiled and invited me to take it to court. I took it to the full city
council, but on the advice of the city attorney the council refused to
consider exempting me from the new ordinance. My attorney advised me that
there was no certain outcome if civil action was attempted, but that the
money required to go forward with an action would be considerable. I
decided that I couldn't afford it.

In hindsight, I should not have built the store at that location. I should
not have relied on signs to overcome poor visibility. The land was a
bargain, but it turned out the old adage is true: "If you buy quality, you
only cry once". Of course at the time, the amount of money available for
construction was limited and existing lease options on existing stores in
good locations were non-existent.

The other thing was that I had never intended to close as a business, I
had wanted to relocate to another, more favorable location even if it
meant leasing a building. In fact, when we sold our building I rented it
back from the owner and continued operation for 6 months. During that time
we learned that another restaurant, which operated in an old Pizza Hut
store, was closing up shop. They had another 4 years on their lease, and
were willing to sub-lease the store to us. They would be pulling out their
equipment and furniture and we would be moving ours in. I gave notice to
my building's new owner, and set a date to move out. During the time prior
to our scheduled move, the new owner found a guy who was starting a
motorcycle shop who signed a leased to move in after our move-out.

Five days before the move, I got a call from the 'Pizza Hut' guy. I was
informed that they decided to keep the business open. So, instead of a
move to a new store, the move was made to a storage facility. Signs and
ads informing customers of our move, were changed to "keep an eye open for
a new grand opening". The "right" location never appeared; they would
either be too invisible to the public, or they lacked sufficient
parking/access, or they were a sucker's bet with high lease rates, plus
triple net, plus high multi-year (10 years was typical) contracts.

I still get calls every once in a while from customers asking when we'll
be opening again. Sigh.

I love bbq, and I loved the entire process of getting my bbq joint open
and running. I loved the vast majority of my customers and their loyalty
and enjoyment of the bbq we turned out. I enjoyed the challenge of
re-educating the community as to what bbq really is, and the pleasure at
seeing the reaction of folks, who entered our doors for the very first
time, sink their teeth into their first pulled pork sandwich or plate of
brisket. It tickled me to no end to have ex-pats from the southeast region
of our country eat our food, break out into big grins, and come up after
their meal to tell me that what they had eaten reminded them of home.

Jill and I talk about how much we have learned from owning and operating
the store, and how re-starting an eating joint would be so much easier for
us now that we have a better handle on things. One of the things we agree
on is this: the concept of a real bbq joint is a cultural thing. People in
the Pacific Northwest don't have a grasp on what bbq is or what a bbq
joint is. They generally love it once they 'discover' it, but it's not
part of the eating tradition like it is in areas like the southeast. So if
I were to open a new joint, it would be a hamburger/hotdog joint. I would
do what Danny Gaulden did and start with the expected and typical 'joint'
food for this area, and slowly-but-surely add bbq offerings to the menu. I
love a good hamburger or hotdog, and I can commercially cook a good
product. Good hamburger/hotdog joints are not plentiful around here and
that would be my hook in building customer traffic.

I will be getting back to driving truck in the next 12 weeks. Hell, I may
even save all of my trucker salary toward opening a 'joint' all over
again, using the lessons learned. I miss the good things about the store
and its customers. I think I learned enough to avoid what I hated most.

To Big Jim, Chef Juke (I miss seeing you here, Pat), Dave and Heather,
Harry D., TFM (and a nod toward Heaven for Christy), the Reverend Frohe
and his 6" Boner, Nick (say high to Jun for me), and those I know I'm
forgetting to include but who were part of a special memory: You all made
the opening special. It spoke volumes to the caring nature of the folks on
AFB and why, despite a very few certain characters, I love this NG. Now
all I need to do is figure a way to get back to Texas and hook up with
Sqwertz and Om.



Nice post, Dave. What happened to Chef Juke? Nothing serious I hope.

TFM®

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Old 18-12-2009, 04:53 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue,alt.binaries.food
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Default Wenatchee WA

TFM® wrote:

Nice post, Dave. What happened to Chef Juke? Nothing serious I hope.


I don't know what's going on with him. He's a terrific person. I miss
hearing from him.
--
Dave
What is best in life? "To crush your enemies, see them driven before
you, and to hear the lamentation of the women." -- Conan


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Old 18-12-2009, 06:39 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue,alt.binaries.food
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Default Wenatchee WA


"Dave Bugg" wrote in message

This was a problem for me for one very big reason.... I was running myself
ragged and literally had no time for myself or family. Then it hit me like
a bucket of icy water: I didn't own the business as much as the business
owned me. I was an employee, not a business owner. I had never planned to
work 16-18 hour days, 7 days a week forever and ever.


Often people have said to me "you are such a good cook, you should open a
restaurant". You summed up exactly why I've never considered it. I already
have a job I like, thank you. I don't want to turn a fun hobby into another
job.

If you decide to do it again, I wish you good luck and hope you prosper.
I'm grateful that people like you are willing to cook well for the rest of
us.




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