So “T” wrote me an e-mail and asked:
“Why are you only open on the weekends? Or is your website not up to date?”
Here’s a very slight edit of my response:
The reason I only open Friday Saturday Sunday and Monday from 11 am to 6pm is purely so I can get some rest. That and the market research for my little shop, that is pretty unique for the Reno area (Takeout-Only BBQ), showed that my best chance for success is to try and grab the “at the end of the week/beginning of the week/weekend crowd” and would rather buy pretty good BBQ than make their own at home. I know it does make it inconvenient for a lot of people, but we are working hard to be open longer and with more days.
Totally being honest ??? I have no one trained up to do what I do and don’t have the cash flow…yet. You can stop reading now and go to the bottom or continue and I’ll show you, in my typical long winded way, what my typical week looks like:
I start my “week” on Tuesdays cleaning from the weekend. Doing what we do is pretty messy and it takes quite a bit of time to clean and sanitize everything. The shop I’m in is not really the ideal spot for what we do…in fact it’s pretty darned cramped “in the back”. But, it is what it is and I am not making excuses, just stating facts… Then there’s the maintenance on the equipment. Figure I do 12 hours Tuesdays.
Wednesday is pretty light, I check my orders in and restock the fridges, shelves etc. Make sauces, rubs, etc. I pay my vendors, do payroll for my 2 employees, do the banking, balance my books and figure out what people liked best “this week”… Trust me it’s a moving target……..Nah, it’s like trying to convince my wife she has enough shoes ( a valiant effort but doomed to failure ) Figure 7-10 hours.
Thursdays I start trimming all the meats for service on Friday and set them aside for a period of “-it’s a secret- time”. Do final maintenance on the Smoker, reline it with foil, start the meats smoking at about 2-3pm…bottle the sauces, make all the side dishes ready to go/ready to mix, make sure everything is clean and sanitized, run around town trying to find stuff I forgot I needed for the “Friday Food Coma” special, etc… Figure 9 hours.
Friday’s I get to work at 2 am (drink a gallon of coffee) and temp probe all the meats and wrap as needed, when needed. At about 6am I start prepping the ribs for 11 am service. Then I cook and serve till about 2 when I start Saturday’s prep…and still prep and serve along side my helper. I close the shop down either when we run out of food or at around 6pm. Do a bit of cleaning, wrap up the leftovers for food bank donations or to give to friends who might -need- it, then go home around 7:30pm.
Sat, Sun, Monday is pretty much a repeat of Friday. So from Friday morning at 2 am to Monday at 7:30pm I am there working around 65-70 hours. Add the other days, ( ~ 25-28 hours) I have a 90 hour work week being open 4 days a week. Since I am rather old and feeble-minded, I decided I’m just not up to doing many more hours than that…
I would LOVE to have more employees like the 2 I have now, who are TOTALLY Rock Stars, honestly I can’t afford it yet. I pay them for the hours they work, yet I can’t afford to pay myself, yet…
There’s a saying in the BBQ community: “Wanna make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune and then open a BBQ joint…”
Man, they weren’t lying !!! I have not had an income since October 2015… That’s why I trade long hours for the idea that _I KNOW, WITHOUT A DOUBT_ that things are getting done right… Because, really, I could be “The Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, so-so BBQ place that charges too much for too little food” or the one that would rather have shorter hours, fewer days and provide a generous, quality product done to the absolute best of my ability.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Sparks and Smoke BBQ Takeout