Do you want to start a barbeque restaurant? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a BBQ restaurant business with NO money and no experience plus a sample BBQ restaurant business plan template. Starting a barbeque restaurant business can be interesting at the same time rewarding especially if you position your barbeque restaurant in strategic locations where you can easily attract barbeque lovers.
The fact that people who are not vegetarians eat barbeque on the go makes it one of those businesses that are in high demand. The barbeque restaurant business is one business that an entrepreneur can successfully start in the corner of a busy street or in a mobile shop without breaking the bank for cash. At the same time, big time investors can also leverage on the high demand for barbeque to set up their own barbeque restaurants in strategic locations all around key cities in the united states of America and in other parts of the world.
Barbeque restaurants can be located in any part of town as long as there are people living or working there and the local authority permits it. One good thing about starting a barbeque restaurant business is that if you are diligent enough and if you have good business/marketing strategies, you can build the business from just one outlet to numerous outlets across different cities in the United States of America from the sale of franchise.
Opening a barbeque restaurant just like starting any other business might not be entirely easy, but one thing is certain, it is a straight forward business that can generate huge and steady profits if well positioned and properly managed.
People often think that starting a barbeque restaurant does not require any professional skills; in as much as this is true, you would still need to learn how to prepare tasty barbeque, have good business skills and of course customer services skills if indeed you want to build a profitable business.
So, if you are considering opening a barbeque restaurant business, all you would need is some capital to purchase or lease/rent a suitable facility, the required equipment (barbeque making stands, propane smoker, cooking table), utensils and furniture.
You would also need some additional capital to purchase the initial supply (cooking ingredients, spices, beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, and turkey et al), pay your employees at least for the first 3 months, and also to pay your utility bills. These expenses are called “working capital.”
You can start your barbeque restaurant from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be long before your brand becomes nationally recognized and your business network spreads across the length and breadth of the United States of America.
18 Steps to Starting a BBQ Restaurant Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Players in the Barbecue Restaurant Industry leverage on the barbequing method to cook beef, chicken, turkey, bacon, pork, fish and corn et al for their customers. Basically, barbequing is done slowly over low, indirect heat and the food is flavored by the smoking process.
If you live in the United States of America, you will agree that Barbecue remains one of the most traditional foods in the United States. Even though many foods are only served on particular days or holidays, barbecue can be served on any day. Barbecue is ever so often served on the Fourth of July but it is not only served on that day. Barbecues tend to bring family and friends together and serve as a bonding experience at any time of the year and it is mostly served outdoors.
A report shows that over the five years to 2016, the revenue for the Barbecue Restaurant industry has trended upward thanks to the status of industry products. The report further stated that over the next five years, merger and acquisition activity will cause the industry’s major companies to leverage on brand value and economies of scale to increase their market share, pushing up their revenue and profit growth. Furthermore, companies in the industry will continue to seek out growing consumer markets.
The Barbecue Restaurants industry is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States which generates a whooping sum of $2 billion annually from more than 521 registered BBQ restaurants scattered all around the United States of America. The industry is responsible for the employment of well over 31,712 people. Experts project the BBQ restaurant industry to grow at a 1.2 percent annual rate between 2011 and 2016.
The Barbecue Restaurant industry has minimal barriers to entry, low start – up capital and no specific licensing requirements. On the other hand, the high level of competition and market saturation in a declining industry can prove challenging to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own BBQ restaurants. Most players in the BBQ restaurant line of business are small to medium size establishments that cater to the local community.
The BBQ restaurant business will continue to blossom because people will always want roasted beef, chicken, turkey and corn et al when they are out there and can’t afford to go home to fix it for themselves. Despite the fact that the industry seems over saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own BBQ restaurants in the United States of America.
Over and above, the BBQ restaurant business is indeed a profitable line of business and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize barbeque restaurants cut across all genders and age groups; male and female, adults and children all eat barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al hence the demographic composition of the barbecue restaurant business is all encompassing.
The truth is that when it comes to selling barbecue, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those that reside around the locations where you have your barbecue restaurant and who have purchasing power.
So, if you are thinking of opening your own barbecue restaurant business then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include corporate executives, students, migrants, entrepreneurs, business people, celebrities, military men and women, sports men and women, tourists and every adult in the neighborhood where your barbecue restaurant will be located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to barbecue restaurant business. Every player in this line of business are basically involved in preparing barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al, coffee and other drinks.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you are good at preparing barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al and every meal you have on your menu, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
There are several barbecue and fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and any other outlets that also sell barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own barbecue restaurant business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst these barbecue restaurants. Besides, there are larger barbecue restaurants – brands that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their business and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading barbecue restaurants in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Barnsider Barbeque Restaurant
- BBQ’d Productions
- Keo Ku Jang Restaurant
- Franklin Barbecue
- Prairie House Restaurant
- Rib Country BBQ (Murphy, NC)
- Mason Dixon Line Restaurant
- Sonny’s BBQ
- Smok-Shak Inc
- T.’s Smokehouse
- LawLers Barbecue Athens
- Back Behind Restaurant & BBQ
- KT’s BBQ & Catering
- Ironhorse Barbeque & Catering
- Grover T’s BBQ
- C & K Smokehouse BBQ
- Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
- Park Avenue BBQ Grille
- Route 22 BBQ
- Uncle Kenny’s BBQ
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Barbecue restaurant business is not a Green business. As a matter of fact, you will come across several barbecue restaurants, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and any other outlets that also sell barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al when you drive through town.
So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your barbecue restaurant business and the amount required to purchase barbecue making machines (propane smoker and grilling machines et al), cooking table, cooking utensils, supplies of beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al, BBQ spice supplies and other supplies and also the running cost of the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a barbeque business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a shop facility and purchasing barbecue making machines, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful and well – established BBQ restaurant as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established BBQ restaurant brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the Barbecue Restaurants industry, then you might just want to start your own barbecue restaurant business from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your barbecue restaurant business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful barbecue restaurants around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own barbecue restaurant business – brand to become a successful brand with corporate and individual clients from all across the city where your barbecue restaurant business is located and through the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world if you decide to go into opening chains of barbecue restaurants and selling franchise.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own barbecue restaurant business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established barbecue restaurants and fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and other outlets that also sell barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, history has it that businesses such as barbecue restaurant business usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers. So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your barbecue restaurant business. There is nothing you can do as regard these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
You have the option of choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship for a barbecue restaurant business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale barbecue restaurant business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.
But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of barbecue restaurants across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your barbecue restaurant business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your barbecue restaurant business with the ability to sell franchise and open chains of barbecue restaurants all across the United States of America, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your barbecue restaurant business to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own barbecue restaurant business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Barny & Friends® BBQ Restaurant, LLC
- Night Life™ BBQ Restaurant, LLC
- Teddy Trump© BBQ Restaurant, Inc.
- Moon Light® BBQ Restaurant, Inc.
- Santos McDonald™ BBQ Restaurants & Bar, Inc.
- Fresh Taste™ BBQ Restaurant, Inc.
- Roller Coaster© BBQ Restaurant & Bar, Inc.
- One Stop® BBQ Restaurant & Bar, LLC
- The Beef Man™ BBQ Restaurant, Inc.
- Chop ‘n’ Chop© BBQ Restaurant, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your barbecue restaurant business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own barbecue restaurant business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health/Medical insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own barbecue restaurant business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents, software or BBQ making machine that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to operating a barbecue restaurant business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a barbecue restaurant business in the United States of America and in all countries of the world. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of preparing barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al and effectively running the business.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can help you to conduct your barbecue restaurant business properly, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own barbecue restaurant business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Food and drink handlers certificate
- Health inspection Certificate
- Proof of district-issued food and drinks manager identification card
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a barbecue restaurant business can be cost effective if you choose to run a small barbecue restaurant business in a street corner. Securing a standard and well – positioned restaurant facility and purchasing barbecue making machines (propane smoker, and grilling machines et al), cooking table, cooking utensils, supplies of beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al, BBQ spice supplies and other supplies et al are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.
If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale barbecue restaurant business.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factor that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your barbecue restaurant business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your barbecue restaurant business, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for barbecue products and easy access to wholesale purchase of beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish and corn supplies directly from farmers, or wholesale distributors. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your barbecue restaurant business, it will give people easy access to locate your restaurant.
The location you chose to open your barbecue restaurant business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consist of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your barbecue restaurant business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your barbecue restaurant business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of barbecue restaurants, fast food restaurants, mobile food truck, regular restaurants and any other outlets that also sell barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey or corn et al in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for barbecue making machines (propane smoker and grilling machines et al), cooking table, cooking utensils, storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, food case), Counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.), computers and receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs. So also, you will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of a restaurant facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for your business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard barbecue restaurant business with more than one outlet, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandize Manager, Restaurant Manager, Chefs/Cooks, Sales and Marketing Officer/Sales Girls and Sales Boys, Accounting Clerk and Cleaners. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard barbecue restaurant business.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to the business services process of a barbecue restaurant business, there are no hard and fast rule about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization purchase beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish, corn, BBQ spices, cooking ingredients and packaging/serving materials. They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits.
Once the barbecue restaurant business is in full operation, the beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish and corn et al are prepared and they are listed on the menu. Barbecued products purchased from a barbecue restaurant are usually eaten in the restaurant and can also be taken away. Stocks are taken after the close of business every day and accounts are balanced.
It is important to state that a barbecue restaurant business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated barbecue restaurant business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a barbecue restaurant business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for barbecue restaurant industry.
Your marketing strategy should center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers purchase barbecued beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish and corn et al from you, they would get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet, which is why they do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort should be directed to internet users; your website should become your number one marketing tool.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your barbecue restaurant business;
- Introduce your barbecue restaurant by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, car owners, taxi companies, transport companies, households, sports organizations, gyms, schools, socialites, celebrities and other key stake holders throughout the city where your barbecue restaurant is located
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message acros
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your products
- Engage in road shows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your barbecue restaurant business
- Join local barbecue restaurants business associations for industry trends and tips
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you sell your barbecued beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish and corn et al at rock bottom prices is to purchase your cooking ingredients directly from farmers or from wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is that the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from farmers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your barbecued beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish and corn et al at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; with that, it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives and also purchase.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a barbecue restaurant business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of barbecue restaurants and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a profitable business.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your smoothie and barbecue restaurant business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your barbecue restaurant business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your barbecue restaurant business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact corporate organizations, car owners, taxi companies, transport companies, households, sports organizations, gyms, schools, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your barbecue restaurant is located, informing them about your barbecue restaurant business and the barbecued beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish and corn et al you sell
- List your barbecue restaurant business in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your barbecue restaurant business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your barbecue restaurant business is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.