How to Start a Small Barbecue Business

You’ve probably perfected your barbecuing skills to the extent that anyone who tastes your smoked steaks would ask for more. You are probably barbecuing as your favorite hobby and you really find joy doing it. But, have you considered the idea that you can earn good income starting your own small barbecue business?

Just in case you decide to venture into a barbecue business, here are some steps that can help you achieve success:

Step #1: Start With a Business Plan

You need to map out a clear direction for your intended BBQ business. Every successful business you see today started with a plan. The plan will unambiguously state your business model and how you intend to serve your customers. Your business plan should also incorporate the following;

  • The legal requirements/costs of setting up your grilling business
  • Your operation size or scale and the suitable equipment for your scale of operation
  • An estimate of your start-up expenses/costs and how you intend to source start-up funds
  • Menu items
  • Equipment and their prices
  • Ingredients and food supplies
  • Location options and the costs attached to the rental and permit
  • Cost of obtaining licenses
  • Staffing capacity
  • Marketing and promotional approaches

Step #2: Purchase the Equipment and Supplies You Need

Equipment is a very essential aspect of starting a barbecue venture. The top of the list of the equipment you require for your barbecued foods include smokers, grills, serving utensils, refrigerators, and other secondary equipment.

Now, when it comes to the choice of smoker, the size or type will depend on your mode of operation. In essence, for someone intending to set up a drive-thru BBQ business in a small space nearby, you may not need more than a single portable smoker at reasonable cost.

This also applies to your packaging and transportation needs; if you are going for a large-scale barbecue business from the start, such as offering barbecue services to corporate organizations or catering for festivals, you will need a mini truck or minivan.

And, it’s not just enough listing out the equipment you need to purchase; you also have to shop and compare the prices to see how they fit into your budget and where you need to make adjustments.

Step #3: Determine Your Preferred Delivery Method

Thankfully, you are not limited when it comes to available options for delivering your barbecue service to your customers. One such option is a conventional storefront – a restaurant. Other alternatives you can consider include a vacant lot or an open space – a portable grill or smoker will be ideal for these service delivery methods.

Some barbecue business operators also choose sporting event arenas and fairs locations when it comes to how and where to sell their barbecue foods – in this case, the start-up cost will be inflated since the operator would be needing large-scale barbecue equipment. For instance, at beer or wine festival arenas, a BBQ business operator will need a full-sized trailer to transport supplies.

Step #4: You Need Helping Hands

Even on a small scale, a barbecue business can be demanding, so you won’t cope doing everything all by yourself. You need to hire some workers – the startup staff capacity will depend on your scale of operation, just the same way the volume of your equipment will depend on your scale of operation.

Extra hands would be needed both to take orders and work the grills. However, what matters most are the service skills of your would-be employees. Are they customer-oriented? In essence, can they offer excellent customer service to your barbecue business customers? Are they willing to be at the beck and call of customers, including annoying customers, without snapping back?

The quality of people you hire to serve in your BBQ business is a huge factor in determining whether or not your business will succeed. So, be thorough in picking people who will serve your customers.

Step #5: Create Awareness for Your BBQ Business

You need to spread the word about your catering business. Employ every promotional tactic at your disposal to let people know that you offer barbecue service. For people in your neighborhood, community, and sphere of influence, word of mouth can be quite effective in letting them know you have a new business venture. Don’t just tell them one time; you should keep reminding them and also ask them to help spread the word about your new barbecue and catering business.

In this social media era, one of the best ways to spread the word about the opening of your business is via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels. Instagram and Pinterest are great places to use irresistible images of your barbecued steaks and foods to advertise your business.

You’ve got to be aggressive with your promotional strategies. As a result, use as many channels as possible to let your target audience know they can count on your barbecue service at any time, anywhere, and any event.

You should adopt location-based ads when you go online to promote your new BBQ venture. In essence, ensure your storefront location (e.g. Alabama, NY) is included in your online sales copies. This will help your target audience to search and locate your business easily. Also, your local newspaper is a good medium to advertise your new business. And, do not forget to put up a storefront banner that bears details of your business.

Lastly, when it comes to promoting your barbecue business, freebies and specials are highly effective. For instance, you can get some people in your neighborhood or town to have a free taste of your barbecue delicacies. This is a great way to bait them and get them hooked to your delicacies. I bet you, they will surely spread the word around and bring you tons of customers. Go out of your way to advertise your new business during local events such as summer carnivals, local craft fairs, car shows, and beer festivals.

Step #6: Get the Applicable Licenses and Certifications

Just like many other small businesses, food businesses also require some licensing. And, you may also need to present certification. For instance, you need to register your barbecue food business with your state and also obtain the Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

You should obtain all necessary pieces of food business licensing information from your local and state government, including information about serving requirements. Often, the majority of food business owners are also required to present food-handling safety certification, indicating that you passed through a relevant training.

Finally, you need to get small business insurance to help you protect yourself and your barbecue business from unforeseen disasters.

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