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SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


My family opened our restaurant in March. This is the first time any of us have opened a restaurant. We've been open for about four weeks now with our total sales at about $4,500. Sadly, this is not going to cut it if we want to stay open.

We are Barbecue Southern cooking. We are one of two BBQ restaurants in town. We are located in the middle of the industrial area of town, three schools and one college within ~1 mile. I understand that people from the schools aren't going to be coming out to where we are after people pick up their kids, but it does give us a lot of traffic. Monday-Friday there are about 400-500 of the same people daily who take the street in front of our restaurant to get home after picking up their kids. The town is going to be getting a Motor Sports Complex soon right across from the college.

We've only done two advertisements in the classifieds type paper everyone in town gets. One was a full front page ad, the second was like a 1/8 page ad on the inside. We're doing another front page ad again to get some more business. After the first front page ad our sales increased by about 125%, but slowly trickled back off. Sales didn't pick up after the 2nd ad.

We have also done radio advertisements on three different radio stations in town. I doubt we have brought in any customers with these adds. Two of the radio stations are 60 30-second ads between 9-11:30am. The 3rd radio station is going to be 100 30-second ads, unsure of the times as they have started yet.

We are in the process of getting our liquor license, but it's a difficult, long process in this town.

I only recently made our Facebook page. It does have our current menu on it.
http://www.facebook.com/cuckoosbbq

Here are some photos of the inside and outside.
http://imgur.com/a/qXvlf

I could use a lot of advice about how to get more customers in.

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moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web

White empty walls in a restaurant is weird, it looks like a 50s diner inside instead of a BBQ place. Apart from the decor, though, you've chosen a hard business. Restaurants take forever to start making profit, even if your food is great. I would look into possibly doing some catering events to drum up name recognition. Maybe a "Kids Eat FREE" sign outside to lure people in for a promo period? Hope that someone with more expertise in the food industry chimes in!

Damn Bananas
Jun 30, 2007

You humans bore me


I have never worked in a restaurant, but as a food-eater, a quick glance at your Facebook page makes me wonder if your open hours are part of the problem. Lunch-only sounds like a recipe for failure, and closing at 8:00 for your dinner nights is pretty early IMO since my fiance and I only start looking at dinner options starting around 8:00.

Have the ads you've run included a coupon? Might be a good starting place to get people in the door and develop some regulars.

SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


drat Bananas posted:

Have the ads you've run included a coupon? Might be a good starting place to get people in the door and develop some regulars.

Yeah, the past two ads and the upcoming ad all have coupons in them.

When we actually get our liquor license we will be expanding our hours from 11:00-15:00 to 11:00-02:00. The biggest problems with longer hours is going to be more food waste. In the county we live in, the Environmental Health Department follows closely to ServSafe standards. Where in, after hot holding food for four hours you must throw it away. So every four hours we have to throw out all the food if we've been hot holding it.

Unormal
Nov 16, 2004

Mod sass? This evening?! But the cakes aren't ready! THE CAKES!

You're open 4 hours a day? I don't think I'd ever eat at a restaurant that was open 11-3; You're excluding anyone that has a day job. Make less food, stay open longer.

amishbuttermaster
Apr 28, 2009


SlayVus posted:

We have also done radio advertisements on three different radio stations in town. I doubt we have brought in any customers with these adds. Two of the radio stations are 60 30-second ads between 9-11:30am. The 3rd radio station is going to be 100 30-second ads, unsure of the times as they have started yet.

How long did these ad campaigns run? I used to work in radio advertising so I can give you some tips here. Radio ad campaigns need to run a minimum of three months but six months to a year is ideal. Any shorter than three months and you're just throwing your money away. If you have the budget (and what is your advertising budget?) you also want to run when people are in their cars listening to the radio. That'd be the morning, noon and afternoon drivetimes. Do any of the stations you advertised with have their stations streaming online? If so you'll want to have streaming ads as a lot of people listen to those at work.

Boris Galerkin
Dec 17, 2011


Yeah, you gotta do something about the white walls, and 11am-3pm means your only market is retired old people.

amishbuttermaster
Apr 28, 2009


Boris Galerkin posted:

Yeah, you gotta do something about the white walls, and 11am-3pm means your only market is retired old people.

There's plenty of places that only do lunch. I personally don't think the hours are necessarily a problem. The business just needs to advertise like crazy to get people in. The next time you talk to your radio rep have them get you listener stats on their audiences. They can get all kinds of information for you including age range, income, household sizes, etc. Make sure you're targeting the right demographics. If you want working people coming in for lunch you need to make sure that the stations you're advertising on hit those kinds of listeners.

ANiMaL6ix
Jul 12, 2003
[]D[][]V[][]D

I think your main problem right now is that you aren't serving beer. I don't think I would choose to dine-in a bbq place that doesn't serve beer. Take out is a different story.

I'm assuming that you're talking about hot sides when you talk about the food waste problem since BBQ for the most part just gets better the longer you leave it in the smoker as long as it's not getting dried out. For your food waste problem, I would start by making smaller batches more often. You're going to run out of things on occasion which is okay as long as you're serving freshly prepared food.

To get new customers, you might try giving out samples to those 400-500 people that are out in front of your restaurant! You also could offer some low cost catering to the schools for events and such to get the word out.

McPhock
Dec 25, 2004
hat-wearing champion of rhode island

Hi reasonably south neighbor!

My business partner and I opened up a hockey proshop in Duluth Ga about two years ago. I've also served, and subsequently managed a small "family friendly" pub/restaurant. In short, I know what you're going through.

During the restaurant phase of my life, we worked hard to integrate with the community. Sponsor kids teams. Offer Kids eat free, like has been previously said. My personal opinion is that you'll get much more mileage out flyers, stickers and other small advertisements than big things like radio and newsprint. We've found that getting out an about in the community...making your face and your business known, is a great way to bring in customers and build loyalty.

Why not set up a table in the college commons? Surely there are some hungry rear end kids who'll glad try your food. Think of all the places where people congregate in your area... a VFW perhaps? Try and meet the owner/operator of that place and work out a deal to get some food in front of some people.

With that being said, I hope you've got cash stashed away. Businesses take time to get off the ground. It is said that you can reasonably expect to lose money for the first 2 years. You can always look at loans for assistance, but banks are unlikely to lend money without an owner guarantee.

If you were a bit closer, I'd come visit myself.

Tai-Pan
Feb 9, 2001


I work in marketing. You are not going to like a lot of what I have to say.

1) As has been mentioned, unless you are the second coming of a restaurant it takes 6-12 months to build a base. [Think about it, how often do you go to your favorite restaurant? 3-4 times a year at most probably] so even if people like your food you need to budget that time frame in.

2) Your first year operating budget should be equal to your first year marketing budgets. Sorry, its true.

3) Get your friends to park their cars in the lot. Everyone hates to eat an empty place. (poo poo, hire some bums to sit in their all day if you need to)

4) Hide the extra tables/room. You have too much space and deserted restaurants are poison. Get a temporary wall or something.

6) Why don't I see any smoke in those pictures? Any decent BBQ places make sure you can see (and smell!) the pits. Drag the drat smoker into the parking lot if you need to.

5) You need to become a marketing expert, FAST.
A) You need to track EVERY MARKETING EXPENDITURE FOR EFFICACY. I cannot stress this enough. This means create unique coupons and get unique phone numbers for each type of marketing activity you do. Check out CallFire.com for low-cost phone numbers
B) Experiment with everything. If your area uses Groupon, give it a shot. If people use Yelp, test out their paid platform.
C) Start with your neighbors. Restaurants bring in samples all the time into our office.
D) Identify your local audience and meet their needs. Does the lunch crowd need to be in and out fast? Advertise boxed lunches and guarantee they can grab and go in 10 minutes or less
E) Offer delivery
F) Find other revenue strategies. You guys need cash now and you are sitting on an unused kitchen 18 hours a day. That is loving stupid. Around here restaurants rent out their kitchens to local food makers (cookies, candies, etc). You could also consider cooking classes (corporate team building is an effective route here).
G) Find reasons to engage with the community. Host a charity chili cook-off, host a BBQ competition, etc.
H) Build loyalty. Offer any repeat customer you happen to see a free desert. Word of mouth is powerful poo poo. Edit: Actually, poo poo, for the next couple of months, give everyone that eats there a free desert. Just bring it to the table and tell them you are trying to establish yourselves and you would appreciate it if you mention the place to their friends. Banana pudding costs you $0.50 a serving to make. Getting customer in the door will cost you a gently caress load more than that repeat customer.
I) Get a free coupon for $100 and test out Google AdWords
J) Dont make people loving think. Put your best special in a sign out front (Brisket 'N Beans $6.99!), make it loving giant. No one needs to know your loving name.
K) Get some co-branding with the local motorsport track. Have them print a free desert or iced tea on the back of the ticket


Anyway, those are just some ideas. My main point is that you need to act fast and act now. Your clock is ticking an 90+% of all restaurants fail. Marketing is the key. No one eats at McDonalds because the food is great, do they?


Edit: One last thing that I know you will ignore. If you don't have the money to keep the doors open for 12 months with no business you need to walk away now.

Tai-Pan fucked around with this message at Apr 7, 2013 around 04:27

Aurora Borealis
Jun 21, 2012


- The color scheme on the outside of your restaurant would stop me from visiting - it looks like a really cheap and low quality fast food place. They look like fast food colors. I think you should paint it something a bit more subtle. Dark gray (current orange bits) with white accents (current red bits) would look really clean, and match the inside much better.

- Paint the inside light grey. Less garish than white, a bit refined looking, and hides dirt like nobody's business.

- Get art on the walls, even if you have to use cheap IKEA frames and printables from the internet. The bare walls are a big turn-off.

- The one lone table in the room with all the booths (near the bar) looks very awkward. Can you put another booth there or remove it entirely?

- I'd also make your menu a bit nicer, at the moment it sort of looks like an MS Word document.

- Pics of the food and how it's presented might be helpful too, but you may want to ask the cooking subforum about that.

Aurora Borealis fucked around with this message at Apr 7, 2013 around 16:39

Authentic You
Mar 4, 2007

Listen now this is your
captain calling:
Your captain is dead.




Gray? Really? I popped in to suggest warming the place up. I absolutely can't loving stand eating in at restaurants with a cold, drab atmosphere. For me, atmosphere is a huge deciding factor in where I choose to eat out, to the point where I'd choose a restaurant with less good food if had the better atmosphere. I mean, you can make gray work great (Gordon Ramsay makes it work just fine), but not with the rest of the OP's basic, nondescript decor, especially black tables and chairs. As for the exterior, I'd say a nice rusty color with off-white and black/dark navy/dark gray trim. A gray building in an industrial district will look just look like another light industry business, not a BBQ place.

As for appearances and atmosphere, let me talk about my favorite down-south shithole-looking restaurant. This is a catfish place, and it even looks a good deal lie the OP's place from the outside. Similar architecture and color, with a gravel parking lot full of potholes. The interior has awful fluorescent lighting, fake wood veneered tables, and beat up linoleum flooring, but it has atmosphere. There are thousands of business cards that customers have pinned up on the wall (which is wood-paneled over the years, lots of them yellowed and faded, and all sorts of local posters and fliers and stuff. Colors are warm (browns, golds, beige, 70s, etc). Boisterous, fun crowd, fun waitresses, a general shabby, local charm, and of course, epic catfish and hushpuppies. People flock to this place.

The thing about the catfish restaurant is that it's managed to build up a neat vibe and good atmosphere simply by being around forever. You can expedite the process of building up charm in your low-key-but-epic BBQ place by fixing your place up with neat local art and posters, or you could even mount cool antique grilling stuff on the walls (after you paint them a nice warm color (or even rust red) and not gray). Hell, if you want to be family/kid-friendly, have a local artist draw up some cool coloring book pages, get a bunch of crayons, and then pin up colored cartoon pigs that kid customers make. Also, I totally hate the green blinds.

In general, other folks have had good suggestions, like making the place seem less huge (empty), and getting locals involved. I like the idea of a BBQ grill-off.

HooKars
Feb 22, 2006
Comeon!

I don't really have any advertising tips aside from whats been said but just some general comments on a potential customer viewing your menu:

Why does your party platter come with one 1 lb burger? Usually party platters are for sharing and burgers aren't shareable, pretty much anything else on your menu would be a better fit.

Unless you do the lamb burger really well, it seems like a bit of an anomaly on the menu and seems like a pricey ingredient for you to only be using in one dish that isn't really bbq related. I would probably concentrate on the ingredients that you have and work them into the menu in different ways - for example, you have no smoked/pulled chicken sandwich. Do you do the catfish/shrimp grilled or deep fried? Mashed potatoes in addition to your other potato dishes. Again, just some variations that you can make with the ingredients you already have rather than branching out into something like lamb. Throw in adding bacon to a burger or coleslaw to the sandwiches for $X. Other combos that revolve mainly around the meats you make: pulled pork/brisket nachos, loaded baked potato/mashed potato with your brans and choice of meat on top, frito pie with beans and your choice of meat.

Side dishes are one of my favorite parts of a bbq restaurant and I'll say yours don't really jump out at me - an amazing mac and cheese is always a good compliment to bbq and it always seems a little weird for a bbq place to be missing mac and cheese from the menu. Other ones I personally like: hush puppies, collard greens, biscuits, fried pickles or okra, most any seasonal grilled vegetables, but that's just me - I do think you should come up with a solid mac n cheese for the menu though.

Do you guys have desserts?

Grok
Jul 23, 2006

ZOMBIE uses BITE!
It's super effective!

SlayVus posted:

So every four hours we have to throw out all the food if we've been hot holding it.

What food are you holding for four hours? I admit that I have never run a bbq restaurant, but shouldn't burgers and stuff be cooked to order? Maybe I'm just missing something on your menu or I really don't understand how restaurants work.

Your restaurant is not very pretty, but the inside doesn't bother me that much. I don't think many people would walk in, look around, and walk out. (Though a better atmosphere would only help). I would for sure get an actual sign, though. Those banner signs just scream "cheap" to me.

Also, your facebook page is really boring. Offer a coupon to facebook people, post pictures regularly, try to get the community involved. Facebook pages that just post business info are the pages I don't follow.

And, hm. On Kitchen Nightmares they like to go out and offer samples to business people/businesses in the area, maybe try that?

I really want BBQ now.

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012


As a fat guy who spends too much in restaurants, those tables look a bit crowded and neither the interior nor exterior look like a BBQ joint.

Horking Delight
Jun 24, 2007
Rawr


Nthing what everyone else said, with emphasis on "get some photos, get some wall decorations, get some photos OF your wall decorations" for your facebook page; I just checked the Facebook page of the last two restaurants I could recall going to and they all had pictures of the atmosphere and people having fun.

What's your target audience? Do college kids actually go a mile out of their way for lunch? When I was in college, my lunch was limited to anywhere that was within a five to ten minute walk of where my next class was, takeout preferred. Dinner was when all my friends were out of class for the day and we could go somewhere further.

What time do those parents pick up their kids? 2:30, 3 PM? If you're an 11 AM - 3 PM place, they're at work during lunch and they're going to be eating lunch somewhere near their office.

How many offices are near you? Give them free samples, see if they do a catered lunch every week or whatever that you could get on the rotation for, etc. etc.

It'll help once your hours cover dinner as well. If you're worried about food waste during slow hours in the middle of the afternoon, there's places that aren't open all day, but are open during the lunch and dinner rushes (something like 11 am to 2 pm, then 5 to 11 pm). You could consider something like that instead.

Make the banner be "grand opening" or "kids eat free" or "free dessert on saturdays", or something else dumb that will make people think "hmm, might as well try it". A banner with your store name on it when you have a sign that says the exact same thing several feet away is kind of pointless.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Yeah, that banner in the front is super-tacky, the sort of stuff you see at festival tents (although it's always good to participate in local festivals).

Dunno about other people, but I know that I have a good impression of a place if they don't cheap out on side-dishes. Sometimes I go to a burger joint and they give you like 10 french fries which kind of seems cheap, whereas if I know a shop that gives you a huge portion of them, I'll have good memories and be more likely to recommend the place to people (poo poo, one of the things people like to mention about Red Robin is the endless fries basket). Spend the extra 5 cents and make sure people get lots of sides, you won't even need to change your main portions and it'll make the meal look a lot bigger and a better value.

Also, for me barbecue screams old-fashioned decor, an almost run-down atmosphere that looks like it's been around for ages, regardless of the actual age of the restaurant. Your place looks like a typical diner that I'd go to for breakfast, would never know it's a barbecue joint otherwise.

Raskolnikov2089
Nov 3, 2006
Schizzy to the matic

Two things that jump out at me:

1. Your menu is a confusing, unreadable block of text. Your section headings don't really stand out, so it's hard to tell what's what. I should be able to scan for what I want/am interested in.

Compare your menu to http://stubbsaustin.com/wp-content/...Dinner-Menu.pdf

Look at other well put together menus, borrow liberally and incorporate their design ideas into your own.



2. Speaking personally, if a business doesn't have a website, it's very unlikely I will ever visit it. A website is a good way for prospective customers to get an easy look at your goods and services to see if it's worth the drive/money. I want to see mouth watering photos of your food, read your menu, check out your prices/hours and just get a general feel for the place.

Your facebook page delivers none of that.

It's very easy to find a cheap, easily customizable wordpress theme, and quickly get something up.



Also, your sign out front makes it look like one of those "Office Space for Lease" billboards. It wouldn't draw my eye as a "restaurant here" sign.

MAKE NO BABBYS
Jan 28, 2010


Why do so many people who have zero experience in the industry try to start restaurants? Ill never understand. I hope you have a lot of cash socked away to float the place.

I would highly recommend against any sort of "kids eat free" or other giant signs/banners on the front. It makes a restaurant seem cheap and desperate, ultimately driving away customers. I'd seriously recommend hiring a consultant with experience to help you one on one, you're about to walk a brutal and exhausting path.

BossRighteous
Dec 28, 2002



This is a small tip, but the logo and menu graphic design is probably one of the most immediate and affordable branding options you should look in to.

I worked at a new restaurant that basically did a $100 online contest through a design website to get logo submissions. That logo was professional looking enough that people assumed we were a chain and asked if we had different locations constantly. Chains provide a sense of stability and consistency, so appearing to be big enough to be a chain seems like a better positioning strategy than focusing on homey/family-owned/local branding.

The menus are huge as well. The Logo/signage can get people through the door. The menu quality can further sell the idea that you are not only established, but you are engaging your customers with dynamic and clean visuals. It's almost like website usability, but in a tangible sense.

I would also say avoid food photography for menus/walls/online until you can afford some level of professional shots. Poor food photography makes food look gross and unappealing.

I know you are strapped for cash, but I honestly think you could get a decent level of branding done for under 1000 if you actively look online and leverage designers. Don't be a total dick about things though, you do get what you pay for. Try a local college and see if you can get a Junior/Senior level Design student to create a paid portfolio business system for you. Most students would love the opportunity, especially if 500-600 dollars goes along with it.

I am no marketing expert, but if it were my business I would focus on the perception of my business from drive-bys and walk-ins before focusing on drawing in more customers with limited marketing dollars.

Edit:
Oops. After looking at the photos, there is probably no way in hell you can sell that building as being part of a bigger chain. I still think clean well-thought and professional menus/logo are the right idea, but homey/local/Musty-BBQ positioning probably is better, a good designer can help with that feel.

BossRighteous fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2013 around 23:46

evensevenone
May 12, 2001
Glass is a solid.

MAKE NO BABBYS posted:

Why do so many people who have zero experience in the industry try to start restaurants? Ill never understand. I hope you have a lot of cash socked away to float the place.

Because if you do have restaurant experience you know it costs hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to get a restaurant going and stay open long enough to be profitable, and even then it has maybe a 50/50 chance.

There's a reason why so many gourmet chefs strike out on their own with food trucks now.

Mister Fister
May 17, 2008
NON STOP VERBAL DIARRHEA, EMERGING FROM MY KEYBOARD, FOREVER


moana posted:

White empty walls in a restaurant is weird, it looks like a 50s diner inside instead of a BBQ place. Apart from the decor, though, you've chosen a hard business. Restaurants take forever to start making profit, even if your food is great. I would look into possibly doing some catering events to drum up name recognition. Maybe a "Kids Eat FREE" sign outside to lure people in for a promo period? Hope that someone with more expertise in the food industry chimes in!

Yeah, if i looked at the pictures without knowing what type of food was served, i would have said it was one of those retro burger joints.

When i think of what a 'bbq' joint looks like, this is what i think of:

http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/locations/syracuse/

http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/loca...use/photos.aspx

Of course this is upstate, NY and BBQ joints in the south may look different.

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012


Mister Fister posted:

Of course this is upstate, NY and BBQ joints in the south may look different.
I was in Florida to visit a friend. As we drive past a roadside BBQ trailer pod - smoker MacGyvered onto the back, service counter cut into the front, a lone aged black man inside - this amazing smell filled the car.

Only BBQ I saw while there. I still wish my friend stopped. Polar opposite of the OP's joint; I should've gotten a picture.

SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


So I am reworking the menu, but I think I may be going a LITTLE too fancy on it. Thoughts?



Edit: I know there are punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors. I am just currently looking for thoughts on the layout and design of the menu in general, not proofreading.

A suggestion we got from Sysco, one of our suppliers, was to rework the menu to only sell sides with items. Which is why sandwiches and burgers come with one side instead having no sides or up to two sides. Same goes for the dinner plates.

SlayVus fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 20:06

Chexmix
Dec 10, 2006

Looks like you'll have to go handle this yourself.


SlayVus posted:

A suggestion we got from Sysco, one of our suppliers, was to rework the menu to only sell sides with items. Which is why sandwiches and burgers come with one side instead having no sides or up to two sides. Same goes for the dinner plates.

What? Including a side with the dish is great, but not being able to order individual sides just seems weird. What would you do if someone wanted more than one side? How would they know how much an extra side would cost?

I like that menu, though.

SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


Chexmix posted:

What? Including a side with the dish is great, but not being able to order individual sides just seems weird. What would you do if someone wanted more than one side? How would they know how much an extra side would cost?

I like that menu, though.

I do want to give the option of including extra sides for items. I am just not entirely sure where to put those options at. I may put it in the "Sides" description maybe like 0.75 extra for one side. We also have a plate that you can buy that is only sides, but I want to have a line in there some where like you can't just purchase sides by themselves at 0.75 each.

BossRighteous
Dec 28, 2002



SlayVus posted:

A suggestion we got from Sysco, one of our suppliers, was to rework the menu to only sell sides with items. Which is why sandwiches and burgers come with one side instead having no sides or up to two sides. Same goes for the dinner plates.

Please no...

A regular place I go to stopped selling "sides" in the way you mention, and it totally hosed up our usual meal. It fails to take into account the fact that appetizers are well complimented with sides, and sometimes weight and/or budget conscious people like to get a side and a drink, or a side and a desert. Now I have to pay $6 for a fry basket instead of adding a $2 side-portion of fries, and I will tell you now that I don't opt for that anymore.

It also seems short sided in the scope of eventually serving beer. Some people just want to stop in for a beer and fries.

What benefit does it bring your business? Is it purely to simplify the menu?

Also, you should make a fry basket covered in cheese, pulled pork, barbeque sauce, and dry rub seasoning, and serve it with a fork.

----

\/\/\/
That said, it's all good in my book. I would leave them off the menu but still make it an option in the POS if someone requests it.

I like the menu too by the way. It's clean.

BossRighteous fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 20:29

SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


BossRighteous posted:

What benefit does it bring your business? Is it purely to simplify the menu?

It does simplify the menu greatly as well as making it look less like a spreadsheet. Right now I am thinking of a 3 side plate for $3.95, aka 1.32 a side, sell individual sides for 1.50, and extra sides for items that come with sides for 0.75.

This is our current menu - http://i.imgur.com/ElOkIvU.png

Edit: /\ I'm currently working on our fries. Like the cuts and cooking times as well as seasoning. It's probably going to take me about two or three weeks to get them where I want them. Right now I'm trying out like a 1/8" sticks that run the full length of the potato, blenching them for about 4 minutes, icing them down, then frying them.

Currently though, our fryer situation is a little dire as we only have a single 2.5 liter fryer which can only handle about 12 of our chicken wings at a time.

SlayVus fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 20:35

Poison Cake
Feb 15, 2012


The other thing about barbecue for lunch is barbecue is messy. I don't want to eat barbecue and go back to work. YMMV of course, but it's just not something I'd want to do.

Brennanite
Feb 14, 2009


You say it's a BBQ, but the first things I see on the menu are all burgers. Actually, all I saw were burgers and po'boys. The BBQ stuff is buried in the middle. I'd seriously consider ditching all of the burgers and adding a smoked chicken option. You don't have to have a lot of different entrees to choose from, just focus on the BBQ stuff and do it well. No one's looking for a place where they can get brisket and 1/2 lamb burger.

SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


Brennanite posted:

You say it's a BBQ, but the first things I see on the menu are all burgers. Actually, all I saw were burgers and po'boys. The BBQ stuff is buried in the middle. I'd seriously consider ditching all of the burgers and adding a smoked chicken option. You don't have to have a lot of different entrees to choose from, just focus on the BBQ stuff and do it well. No one's looking for a place where they can get brisket and 1/2 lamb burger.

That's only one page, there is a second page as well. http://i.imgur.com/iOiDnTV.png

Adar
Jul 27, 2001

William "J." Fillmaff in training

Poison Cake posted:

The other thing about barbecue for lunch is barbecue is messy. I don't want to eat barbecue and go back to work. YMMV of course, but it's just not something I'd want to do.

This times a thousand. When I think restaurant that opens during lunch I think something that an office worker can eat. BBQ is not that meal.

A BBQ joint that closes at 3 PM is an affront to humanity. All the other suggestions sound good too, but what kills me is that you guys opened a new business with the up front proviso that you wouldn't even be open during the prime hours for it. Did you have any kind of plan for working around this?

$4,500 divided by an average $10 order divided by 20 business days * 4 hours each equals 6 customers an hour that you're open. That might not be too bad for a BBQ place that closes before anyone wants BBQ, but at this point you're going to have to either dive into the deep end (and actually run the place all day) or cut your losses right now.

BossRighteous
Dec 28, 2002



I realized someone mentioned Groupon as a marketing tool, but I wanted to chime in on that point that I read a lengthy article about Groupon and it's affect on startups.

It seems that Groupons and the like can lead to extremely high demand in a very short amount of time, but then not really lead to continued business in many cases. Some businesses have offered discounts they couldn't afford, in quantities they couldn't stock, pissing off customers and in the process going belly up.

---

Do you offer any catering services?

Most local barbeque places I know offer event catering, and it's really a great food for self-serve sandwiches that can be kept hot easily. Catering is a continuum, as some do on site serving, and other just offer bulk pickup/delivery.

If you are in an industrial area you may try and place a bid to offer lunch-room catering 1 day a week or something similar. I worked at a distribution center that had a different restaurant sell food in the break room each shift one day a week each.

Also curious is you mix your own sauces or spice blends that could add to your marketing. Signature sauces and rubs seem to be a hallmark of BBQ joints I know of.

BossRighteous fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 22:08

Raskolnikov2089
Nov 3, 2006
Schizzy to the matic

SlayVus posted:

So I am reworking the menu, but I think I may be going a LITTLE too fancy on it. Thoughts?



Edit: I know there are punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors. I am just currently looking for thoughts on the layout and design of the menu in general, not proofreading.

A suggestion we got from Sysco, one of our suppliers, was to rework the menu to only sell sides with items. Which is why sandwiches and burgers come with one side instead having no sides or up to two sides. Same goes for the dinner plates.

That menu looks sooooooo much better. It's so much easier to read. I still think you need to emphasize the section headings a little bit more. You want to make it easy to scan.

Tai-Pan
Feb 9, 2001


BossRighteous posted:

I realized someone mentioned Groupon as a marketing tool, but I wanted to chime in on that point that I read a lengthy article about Groupon and it's affect on startups.


I was the one that suggested it.
First, that is the reason I said he needed to track EVERYTHING so he could effectively measure the ROI.
Secondly, groupon has responded to the the complaints you describe and are now allowing owners to limit offers and fix the cost/risk.

Doesn't mean it will work, but it is an avenue to explore.

Finally, you people don't eat BBQ for lunch?
Reason number 3012 I will never leave Austin.

Engineer Lenk
Aug 28, 2003

Mnogo losho e!

Brennanite posted:

You say it's a BBQ, but the first things I see on the menu are all burgers. Actually, all I saw were burgers and po'boys. The BBQ stuff is buried in the middle. I'd seriously consider ditching all of the burgers and adding a smoked chicken option. You don't have to have a lot of different entrees to choose from, just focus on the BBQ stuff and do it well. No one's looking for a place where they can get brisket and 1/2 lamb burger.

Echoing the menu ordering. Also the pricing on the new menu's a little odd - beef brisket is $1.50 more for half the quantity of the pulled pork in the platters, but the same price for a sandwich.

The beef burgers aren't different other than size - it looks off to see the same description repeated over and again. Get one good description of your base burger (1/3 lb beef), then play with the names like 'bigger burger' and come up with something stupid to call the 1-lber (Behemoth?). Focus the description on the burger's size and don't parrot the first.

Get the fryer sorted; not having fries also makes the place look weird, particularly for the sandwiches and burgers.

Lamb burgers aren't going to be a huge draw for the southern BBQ crowd, so if you keep it in the menu put it at the bottom of the category.

Walk Away
Dec 31, 2009

Industrial revolution has flipped the bitch on evolution.


Engineer Lenk posted:

The beef burgers aren't different other than size - it looks off to see the same description repeated over and again. Get one good description of your base burger (1/3 lb beef), then play with the names like 'bigger burger' and come up with something stupid to call the 1-lber (Behemoth?). Focus the description on the burger's size and don't parrot the first.

I was going to say something to this effect about the beans. If you really want to have two kind of beans, describe them in a way that makes both of them sound unique and different from each other, not, "This one is like that one but with less of that stuff." Play up the spicy kick of the first and the sweetness of the other.

razz
Dec 26, 2005

Queen of Maceration


Chexmix posted:

What? Including a side with the dish is great, but not being able to order individual sides just seems weird. What would you do if someone wanted more than one side? How would they know how much an extra side would cost?

I like that menu, though.

Yeah not selling standalone sides is a bad idea. Why not do something like this, which I've seen at lots of restaurants:


SANDWICHES AND BURGERS
All our burgers come with your choice of: and then list all of your sides.

SIDES:
List all your sides with a price for each.


That way people know that they get to choose one side with their sandwich and that it is included in the price of the sandwich, or they can choose to order another side (or just a side dish itself) for a certain price per side.

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SlayVus
Jul 10, 2009


What do you all think about the sides being in the center of the menu like that? I figured if I put sides in the center it would provide a better flow of reading the menu.

Engineer Lenk - The beef is actually more expensive for us than the pork. I believe they are angus beef briskets that we use. I might also look at baking the french fries instead of actually frying them. I feel like it might actually be a positive point for them since all the restaurants that serve french fries fry them.

Razz - I actually commented on that. Basically, you can buy sides individually. You can also buy a 'plate' of sides for cheaper than buying sides individually. It just isn't in the menu yet that I am working on.

SlayVus fucked around with this message at Apr 9, 2013 around 23:41

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