Love the review, except for the part about vinegar based sauce is from SC. Yankee writer.
Hehe, I’ll be there!
And based on this review, WE should be asking YOU for advice….
I think you could be the BBQ equivalent of the soup guy and still be successful!
MOSCA, I WOULD WELCOME YOU! TOM C.
Greymo,never fail to stop because there are alot of cars outside, there’s a reason for all the cars, you will never wait more than 6-7 min for an order to go,or at your table,i have created this eatery to fit every place i ever wanted to go for "crave food",i will put up every item on my menu against any restaurant special item ,in any restaurant in the country,less standard mozz. sticks etc.my ego is on the line ,not my banker on the phone, dunning me.it’s my personal GOAL to everyday paint a picture food that people say ,THANK YOU,THAT WAS INCREDIBLE.it"s easy to say very hard to do!
If you are going to offer the samples and use your servers to do it, you should use the opportunity to implement some increased ‘suggestive selling’ and train your wait staff as such … defrays some of the costs of offering the samples, and patrons are amenable to suggestions while they’re chewing. Make sure you develop a script for servers to use as a baseline for what they’ll say.
Focus on day’s specials; also alcoholic beverages (if you have that); and don’t forget to have servers hit’em up later for deserts. A really good opportunity with both customers and wait staff.
Pushing specials and drinks worked great for us (got particularly good results with drinks).
And we pushed only "true" specials … only menu items which I’d obtained at a particularly good food cost due to seasonality or whatever, and sold at standard prices. Gave me some flexibility in my menu costing due to the improved margin … and got my servers in the habit of stepping up to the plate.
(I’ve tried to come up with a "sows ear into a silk purse analogy" for barbque… I’m sure there’s one in there somewhere.)
If you are trying to sell more BBQ, I think giving out free samples is a good way to promote it. But if it’s just another menu item to you and you don’t really care whether people order that or a hamburger, I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble, especially if you have a lot of one-time business from people passing through the area.
If you are trying to promote it, I’d go full-bore and have your servers mention to folks as they hand out the menus what "great BBQ" you serve and offer a free sample. I’m pretty sure that would increase the amount you sell, though at the expense of other menu items. Doing it that way would also "regularize" the offer for the staff–they could prepare a supply of the samples during less-busy moments–and make it less of a burden.
We have been by your place quite a few times and never wanted to stop because of all the cars outside. I don’t think you have a thing to worry about and I would be darned if I would start handing out samples. If they are suspicious of your barbeque, send them to Famous Dave’s in Frederick……………just what they deserve.[;)]
If you’re located near and competing against Chubby’s, I think you need to do all you can do to make the customers want to try your Q. However, if you are Chubby’s, I think you already have a whole lot of folks clamoring for your Q and can do whatever you want. pb
I’m not too far from you, and I’m planning a trip to Gettysburg this summer. I may also be planning a group trip. I’ll stop in, dine, and introduce myself… and I won’t drop any plates, and I wont ask for a free sample!
Having been raised in the GREATEST and possibly only wonderful BBQ state in the Union I not only have no difficulty in asking for sample but have no trouble in walking out the door if it doesn’t meet my standards. That would be North Carolina to you ridge runners and swamp jockeys. Q holds a special place in the south and you are just on the edge…people want a taste of home but feel that if the guy who spilled his steak platter got brisket they might just want a burger to be safe. Just kidding…
Someone wants a sample of the grilled cheese…get real… Q is something else. A management duty and it very much requires a management flair. You have the time, you should anyway, and the customer feels special and catered to. "Who else wants a taste of my great Q? Best Q in Maryland and I want all of you to know how good my staff cooks Q!!!"
Freebie samples should be given w/ great flourish. One person asks for it the whole store should get one. I spent a painful amount of money pushing foie gras until it caught on…lost money on that item for six months and then bought a classic BMW on the profits the next year. Small children would ask for the app of the duck guts. Sounds funny but I actually heard eight year olds asking for fried duck guts before their dinner. PETA has made that a app you don’t want to consider anymore. An animal rights chap burned down a place in California for serving foie gras…great stuff but not worth the risk.
A million years ago my best-man-to-be and I went drinking in Staten Island. At the first bar we hit, a place we had never been before, the bartender greeted us, took our orders, and then proceeded to serve us our first drinks of the night. As he slid them to us, he said, "That’s on the house."
I had never been given a first drink "on the house" before. And after about 40 years, I’ve still not forgotten the moment.
A BBQ place opened up near me recently. This is a pretty BBQ-ignorant area, so the clientele is curious, but not that well-informed. This restaurant’s solution is to set up trays with sample-size/condiment-size plastic cups, with a couple of different types of pulled/chopped meat for the customers to try, by the counter where you place your order. I don’t know how it’s working out for them but that’s one idea. It certainly does seem to reflect the owner’s pride in his product.
I’m with the automatic free sample crowd. Perhaps a small pile (maybe a little more than a teaspoon) of pulled pork or a hunk of sliced brisket served on a round of chewy bread. If four people sit down at a table, four rounds of bread with ‘Que are automatically brought out. If five people sit down then five rounds…you get the idea.
By making this a regular part of your routine, you eliminate the "pain in the butt" factor. You have pre-sliced bread, and a small steam table tray full of pulled pork (or whatever) ready to go. A quick squirt of sauce on top and your server delivers it to the table before the party is ready to order. I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly your orders for ‘Que will shoot up.
Just as an example of how this has worked for me as a diner, there used to be a neat Italian place here in Chicago called Lawrence of Oregano. It was one of Rich Melman’s Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. They used to serve a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet, one very small scoop, about halfway through the meal. Since I was a teenager when this place first opened (holy crap, that makes me…never mind), I had never seen this before. I lapped up that sorbet quicker than anything. At the end of the meal, our waitress asked if we wanted any dessert. Now, I almost never order dessert (shocking, I know), but I loved that lemon sorbet so much, I ordered a full bowl of it. I did the same thing every time we went in there.
Like chicagostyledog says, make a minimal investment at the beginning of the meal and it will reap rewards by the time the check comes.
Just my two one-hundredths of a dollar.
i indeed have a diverse customer base as i my
place is on rt. 15 north just south of the mason dixon line in maryland. i get people from all over the USA and the world for that matter as we are quite close to gettysburg.my barbeque is as authentic as you can get anywhere.i use a southern pride smoker,hickory and white oak,nightly smoke pork butt,full cut briskit.daily pork chops,baby back ribs,half chickens,meatloaf.i have a ton of sides, and alot of other menu items,including filet mignon! did i mention that? PS. i have every kind of sauce you can think of,as i get requests for every kind.i probably get 3-4 requests a week for samples.
At Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, TX, they have always given "samples" of their brisket to those in line. When it’s your time to order, Bobby takes a tray, covers it with butcher paper, then cuts off a chunk of brisket (usually a burnt end) and slaps it on the tray.
Nice, and it is one of their "signatures".
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