Monday, January 29, 2007

C'mon Spring

Before I get into the update let me explain the picture. Bryan and I were sitting around after the close the other night having a beer. We got to talking about our old days in Henderson, TN cooking BBQ at the old joints we used to hang out at and sometimes work at during college (Thomas & Webb Bar-B-Que) cooking whole hogs on brick pits. We decided that, besides all of the friends we still have from there, the only thing we really got out of Freed-Hardeman University (in Henderson) is listed on the sheet of paper Bryan is holding up in the picture. I moved on to Lipscomb where I received a B.S. in Finance/Economics with a minor in Beer Administration. The irony......Church of Christ schools and mass beer consumption!?!?! You really have to know a little about the Church of Christ and/or growing up in a conservative christian environment to appreciate the humor here. You also really have to know Bryan to see the humor in the picture, he's hilarious and doesnt even know it!
Not much new to add. Last week was so indicative of what I've been talking about in regards to the emotional ups & downs of the restaurant business. The only thing I can compare it to are the financial markets, except there is no technical or fundamental research to lean on for direction or answers.....its all chance, at least for the time being. I have started keeping records of the weather in relation to sales and that is starting to show some correlation. Last Tuesday was cold & cloudy and was our worst day to date in daily sales. Wed. we did a little better than break even (sunny & high 40's). Thursday was great. Friday rolls around and its the best Friday we've ever had and Saturday was awesome. We ended up making some pretty good money for the week, all of which I'll never see because it will go towards the loan but the moral victory is still there. Within a span of 4 days we had the worst day we've ever had and one of the best days we've ever had. I'm just trying to steer this ship free of any storms till spring. I am very interested to see the warm weather.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A satellite Martin's Bar-B-Que???????

Yep.........for several weeks I've been talking to the "End Zone" in Green Hills about taking over the food there. Last night Joe (the owner) and I verbally finalized everything. The Zone used to be an old stomping ground of mine back in college. Now I might go there every couple of months or so when I'm in the area just to stop in to see if any old buds are there. Its gone down hill a lot recently. I had heard that one of the biggest reasons for this was the lack of food. They had quit serving food almost a year ago. Joe needs food like the crops need rain and it gives me a chance to increase overall cash flow to offset expenses at the joint in Nolensville. We're going to start off slow. Wed. - Sat. nights from 5-10. It will be a limited menu. BBQ sandwiches, BBQ plates, 1/2lb burgers, catfish po-boys, crawfish etouffee, brisket tacos, wings and ribs. I'll bring shoulders and brisket down about 4:30 in the afternoon and when we run out we run out. Same thing goes there as it goes out in Nolensville.....cook it fresh everyday and when its gone then its gone till tomorrow. I've talked to "Pooh".....the old line cook at the Box Seat about coming in down there and he is all for it. Between Pooh and I, there should be good food and a lot of Bull-s*%@ flowing down there again. Its not really costing me a dime to do this so if after a few months it doesnt work out then no harm done. This is a "trial" period for both Joe & I. Oh, for those of you that know Joe that are wondering what I know you are wondering, I'll have my own seperate register in there so my butt will be covered.
Things are flowing pretty good in Nolensville. Things slowed down a bit during the holidays, picked last week while it was warm and has dropped off a good bit this week because of the cold weather. Everyone has told me that this is the way it is from thanksgiving till March 1st. I'm not really making any money right now, but I'm not losing any during this down time either.....which is the important thing. Jonathan Nebble (owns Jonathan's bar & grill) came in to see me yesterday and told me the fact that we're at least breaking even during this time is something to be happy about. My banker told me the same thing. So relativly speaking cash flows are good, have some unreal people working for me and words getting around about the food. The "groove" that the Joint in Nolensville has found is what gives me the confidence to be away a little bit to do this in Green Hills. Having the guys that work with me out there are the backbone to that "groove".......cant say enough about them. Thanks to a change in schedule, Jackie is now going to start manning the kitchen during the weeknights to let Bo off. Bo will now work lunch tues-thurs and then pull the all day friday & saturday. Its great for both those guys, Jackie gets more hours to work and Bo gets more hours to himself......which is well deserved! There will be no dropoff in production....The smoker has MORE than enough room in there to handle the cook and Jackie has been at this for almost 20yrs and has owned his own restaurant himself, so the kitchen will be fine. And then there is Ball (Bryan Chandler). Ball works part time on weekends to pay for his scotch habit....just kidding. He's working to make some side cash. He's like a dang brother to me (literally) and as usual is the most reliable sum-bitch on the planet. After things are up and running I'll put someone down there with Pooh and I'll come on back out to Nolensville full time. Got to hit it......come out to the Joint and buy some food from me.......we got kids to feed!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ringing it in

Well we got through the holidays unscathed.......meaning we didnt lose any money. That being said we really didnt make any during that 8-9 day span of X-mas & New Years. Last week picked up a bit and so far this week has really been pretty good. As you might have read in earlier posts Thursdays for some odd reason has become our slowest day. I have no idea as to why this is but since Thanksgiving it has become our down I'm eager to see how today turns out because this will be really the first Thursday in the "post-holiday" era. Yeah I know we had last Thursday but to me that doesnt count because every day last week was basically an economic recovery week for everyone in this country. The 1st week of the year is always like that. Look at basic economic statistics.....spending plummets the 1st week of the year. That is when the grinch comes out in all of us because you start thinking about all the money you spent on relatives that you spend about 2hrs a year in total conversation with and you find yourself sitting there saying to yourself, "next year I ain't doing this crap hell with uncle poon-nuts and aunt knuckles next year, whether they get their feelings hurt or not"! I may apply my old "how to not get invited back to a party you dont want to go to in the first place" theory................go to a hobby store, buy some cheap materials and make them a craft to give to them. They unwrap this big present only to find your craft that you spent $5.00 on in materials is a real stunner. Its a definitive solution to the problem and I would think it would work here. Of course we all know that wont happen and we'll do the same dang thing again next year. Back to the topic at hand......I just dropped close to $2000.00 in coupons & frequent costomer programs because I knew this would be my slow time and I just want to get folks in the door to spend money......just to keep the foot traffic as high as I can. Its been about two and a half weeks and I'm already starting to get cynical. I've seen 3 coupons come in the door......what a r.o.i.! (return on investment)

What is this Blog???

You ever been sitting around cooking for your family and friends and been told the following: "Hoss, this is the best I've ever had in my dadgum have got to open up a place of your own". The thought crosses your mind to do just that, but for whatever reason you dont. Well I'm "that" guy that actually went through with it and did it. I had absolutely ZERO restaurant experience! I decided to start this blog about my own experience hoping that it may be of some use and help to others who might be interested in opening their own place.
I learned this craft almost 20 years ago cooking whole hogs on brick & cinder block pits at a couple of little BBQ Joints in Henderson, TN. I learned from old, lifelong career Pit-Masters, working with them as an apprentice during school off and on for four years. Over the course of that time I learned the old, time-honored craft of REAL pit barbecue. At Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint I am trying as hard as I can everyday to bring that time-honored authenticity to my customers.
As you read you'll see I've made some stupid decisions, and I've made some good decisions. If you are thinking of opening a restaurant, especially a BBQ Joint, read this blog! Maybe some of this info can be of use to you. At the very least you will be entertained because I pull no punches.
Now listen, this is my blog to not only help with information but my blog to freely rant about my day to day experiences. There is no real "bad language" on this blog but there might be some things said that are very "tongue in cheek". If you are easily offended and/or cant see the satire in my posts then please just leave the blog. It will save both of us the annoyance of each other. For those of you who do like satire and are looking for good information about this experience, then by all means enjoy!