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To side or not to side??????

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am working on a business plan for a rib joint. I was going to just sell ribs. Pork spare and baby backs but my wife convinced me to sell sides also. What do you guys think? Here in South Texas we eat bbq with beans and potato salad. I also saw a menu online the prices seem alright half rack for $11.99 baby backs and 10.99 for half slab spares. This place is in Long Island. What would be a good price down south for full rack and half rack? I want to sell both Baby Backs and spares.
post #2 of 18
Can't help you on price as I think local market and demand will determine that. During college I went with some buddies to Dreamland in Tuscaloosa and my memory is that they served Ribs, white bread, and drinks...thats it. Always seemed like a good simple business plan to me. At that time they had more customers than seats but haven't been there in a long time.
post #3 of 18
The only way to know pricing is to shop your competition locally. Wholesale prices vary as do other costs, utilities, rent etc.

You need to have sides and drinks to help with the profit margin.
I am also thinkng about opening a joint and I am NOT going to do either of those ribs, too expensive. Consider adding some lower cost items like butts and brisket, chix quarters, country ribs. You need some diversity, not everyone likes ribs or wants to pay for them.

I had a joint for 8 years and looking back now, I wish I didn't back myself into a wall speciallizing in bb backs and other expensive items, they are so expensive to make a decent profit. You can read a little background of my restaurant here: http://smokingmeatforums.com/forums/...ad.php?t=17415

If I can help let me know or give you some ideas. Also with the economy the way it is, a cheaper menu is better, just MHO, though. The customer always wants good, but doesn't always want to pay for quality.

Will it be a sit down, how many tables ETC?
What I learned is KISS. The more complicated it gets the more problems you have.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!!
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. There are no other rib places but the major players like applebees and Chiles. I got a good price on the ribs for 1.60 a LB. I was also thinking of a rib meat sandwich I made up at home. I will have to see on the people that are going to help me. To see what else will be on the menu. I know for sure that I will have drinks but still debating on sides. I know how to make charo beans but not a sweet ranch stlyle bean.
post #5 of 18
Baked smokey beans are almost a must and they are cheap.

That is cheap, what kind and size will you use? 2# and down or bigger?
post #6 of 18
I would also consider a good cornbread. Its easy to make and can be done on a big sheet pan. Good profit item. Good luck with your venture.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I think 3 to 4# slabs. I dont know about cornbread in deep south texas. Smoked baked beans are a great idea. I made some bake beans with smoked ham hocks that was awsome.
post #8 of 18
Wow, those are huge slabs. I didn't think babys came that big. The best quality starts at 1 1/4 and down, and goes up from there. That sounds more like untrimed spares.

The beans are cheap and good.
post #9 of 18
I like to choose between Cole slaw and tater salad when I go to a smoke house. a friend of mine owned and operated one for about 10 years before turning to another chapter in life, he offered the baked beans, Cole slaw and tater salad.

you got to choose either cole slaw or tater salad and beans came with the meal.

not real big portions but was enough to add a variety
post #10 of 18
I've never owned a rib joint like some of these fellas have but I did own a restuarant for 3 years....and here's my advice:
KEEP IT SIMPLE. My place started out as a sandwich shop (yeah, right) and turned into a full blown restuarant. I DIDN'T take advice from an older friend of mine who had a place for 22 years. He said..Nick, whatever you do, KEEP IT SIMPLE. I didn't, and it became a hassle. Wayyy too big of a menu. Specialize in a FEW things, do them well, and keep it simple.

Good luck to you!
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
I want to keep it simple just ribs. The cost and weight of the rib is untrimmed. I was thinking with the trimmed off parts I can use for sandwich meat. Thanks for all the info guys I really needed it.

I found one that I liked. This might be it fi the price is right.
post #12 of 18
Couldn't have said it more strongly, but that's what I meant by KISS keep it simple stupid. If I do it again it will be all paper, no dishes, dishwasher, just a big garbage drum for trash. No waitresses ether. No highly skilled employees, find a good one and teach him/her pay a little more than the others. Teach them the basics of smoking your way, not theirs, it's your money on the line. I had a few chefs try and tell me what/ how do things and told them "when you pay the bills you can do anything you want"

Right now my SIL is working at a BBQ place just helping out in ST. George UT. It had a few partners, BAD. I guess some were just investors with the money, no knowledge, MISTAKE. They are begging her to take over the place, after 7 months, (and the bills.) She does the books, makes the desserts, and say's no way. They were paying an employee almost $3,000 a month for who knows what, while she wasn't getting paid, maybe a friend or relative. They also invested I think about $30,000 dollars for a fryer and hood system to just add fried catfish and FF, STUPID.

When she demanded a paycheck it bounced. She is staying till the end of the month, and I guess they are closing down.

When someone has money or knows someone that does and gets in the business, that is the wrong thing to do. Failure rates are some of the highest for restaurants. We had a Quisnos here that lasted less than 6 months, sad. Somebody lost their ***.

The reason I'm so confident if I start a BBQ is if I could survive 8 years with tons of competition in the rib bussiness in a town of 3,500 with a tourist season of 10 weeks, and high overhead I should be able to do it in a populated area. I am proud to have lasted 8 years, especially with the
recession of the 80's.

You need to know your market, overhead, and know your menu mix, a small menu is better than a big one, do a few things outstanding, that's all you need.

Off my soap box for now, lol.

While I encourage people to be thier own boss I also caution them to do their homework. It may take some time and money, but may save their A S S in the long run.

As usual, just MHO.
post #13 of 18

I worked Restaurant for 3 years. And I ran a Private kitchen for an Upscale Jewish Nursing Facility for the better part of a year. And your Honest Opinion is dead on. I couldn't agree with you more. When the menus are bigger then 3 pages you have a problem and a recipe for disaster.

post #14 of 18
Thanks Mike, I don't think you need more than maybe 6 or 8 items that are exceptional, plus sides. If that is not enough they can go elsewhere. If you do it right they will come to you.The more you complicate things the more the customer get's confused.
post #15 of 18
sides are a must, Coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, the main ones I want when eating BBQ,
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Looks like baked beans and potatosalad are most common. I am working on a sweeter baked beans this minute as I am typing this message. I will put up the recipe if it works. I havnt used brown sugar in baked beans before so wish me luck.
post #17 of 18
I have been using brown sugar for many years. Before I started smoking I also put liquid smoke icon_smile.gif and tabasco.

Here is the way I do mine now.

I buy the cheapest beans on sale and drain the tomato sauce. I then add 1/2 KC Masterpiece and 1/2 Lone Steer BBQ sauce found on this site.

Either saute some bacon with rough choped onions, until translucent, or better, yet if you have some ends from a previous smoke, use that in place of the bacon. Combine everything and add brown sugar to taste. Heat up enough to blend in the brown sugar. Place in a foil pan and smoke for 2 -3 hours. After about 2/3 of the way I sprinkle some 4 Mexican cheese blend and finish.

Good luck and let us know your results.
post #18 of 18
And the waitresses.

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