Monday, January 28, 2008

Coke sucks (part two)

So Pepsi came this past Tuesday, hooked up the machine and all the syrup and we were in business by lunch. Meanwhile I still have not heard from Coke as to when they are going to schedule the pick-up of their equipment. Well a couple of days pass by and I finally get a call from the balding, hitler-mustache, mullet wearing sales consultant who for the past 18 months has done such a wonderful job of covering us. He says he can only pick it up on Monday, as in Today, at 8:30 - 9:00 in the morning. As you might know this is the day we are closed......funny how that all works out huh? So I say fine, see you Monday morning. Now....I live about 25 minutes from the joint.....thats 50 minutes round trip.......ah heck lets call it an hour. I leave this morning a little before 8:00 to get there. THE - BASTARDS - DID - NOT - SHOW - UP!!!!! Ticked off is not the word! I know some Coke guys read this blog, and I know they share my disdain for "bald with a mullet". I wouldnt be surprised if they switched some things around to screw his day up or what. I dont know what my retaliation will be, but I will keep you posted. I can tell you this..........they cant get their machine without me...........and it may be a few weeks before Captain Mullet Man gets it back. Stay Tuned.

The week

Tuesday and Wednesday started off really slow. I was like, "oh here it is.......its finally shown its ugly head........the doldruns!". But then we had a strong day Thursday, real strong day Friday and a really strong Saturday. Those three days made up for the first two and some, we finished above our "winter time" average. This week nothing looks to change weather wise; two days of rain, partly sunny all week. Those good ol' muddy Tennessee winters. I am building an excel spreadsheet with all of last years daily sales and the weather for each day we were open. I am going to lay those two out in a graph on top of each other to see the correlation. Ill post it here when i finish it, it should be interesting. Martha took a picture of my boy Wyatt sitting in my truck. He wanted to put Daddy's sun glasses on and drive.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Shot of some meat on the pit.

Sales off a little this week.

Sales are off to a slow start this week. Rain+snow+mud=contractors not working. Supposed to get sunny & in the mid 50's in the next few days, which means first of next week. Looks like this week could be off by about $1,500.00 or so. We'll see.........

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coke sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coke & Pepsi. There is no in between. Its like Chevy & Ford, Tennessee & Alabama, Celtics & Lakers..........there is no in between.......its one or the other. I grew up a Coke man.....we didnt drink Pepsi products in our house growin' up. So I'm sad to say that I'm no longer with Coke. I'm also glad to say Coke (Corporate) SUCKS ASS! You wanna' talk about being treated like shit? This really hurts me......I'm not kidding.....but I had to do it. I was the biggest Coke fan anti-Pepsi person you ever met. It hurts me now to even think of not serving Coke, but I've had enough! Coke has a true monopoly in the soft drink market. They have so much of the market that they truly dont give a rats ass whether or not you want to do business with them or not, let alone being happy. Those bastards have been prison raping me to the tune of $80.00 per 5 gallon box of syrup ($290.00 per week average) for over a year. To top it off the C-suckers charge me an additional $13.00 per delivery for surcharges and delivery fees. Pepsi offered me $50.00 per box and no fees. Even with those numbers it still took me a night to think about it! Thats a savings of around $6,000.00 per year.
Oh and I dont have the room here to discuss my wonderful sales rep, Terry.....who is NOT on commision I might add. If Terry were on commision, his balding, mullet wearing, Hitler-esque mustache ass would look like a combo crack/meth addict because he'd be starving and homeless! He is THE most worthless "salesmen" on the face of this planet! There are COKE people who read this, maybe even Terry himself. Terry, we here at Martin's Bar-B-Que hope you are reading this. Please follow our directions closely:

1) Print this diatribe
2) Crumple it in your hands
3) Go take a dump
4) Wipe your ass with said crumpled diatribe as hard as you can, several times over.
5) Smear Turpentine on your butt-lips

Now........its said.........I'm not angry anymore and looking forward to my new relationship with Pepsi-Cola.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Bookkeeper, Menu Design

Monday Martha & I met with a bookkeeper. Folks I should have done this a long time ago! Its really tough for me to describe it because I could type here forever. I have a finance background, so I think I was a little bull-headed on letting someone else do what I felt I could. You finally get to a point and realize that you can't wear every have to wear a lot of em', but a few you let somebody else put on. We got all of our payroll squared away, set everyone up on direct deposit, set up our quarterly payroll taxes to monthly so it wont strap our cash flow 4 times a year.........I really could go on and on but I wont. If you ever do something like this, get a bookkeeper right out of the gates. Trust me.
I have been doing a lot of research on "menu engineering". In layman's terms it basically uses item placement, shapes and colors to tell your subconscious to buy what I want you to buy (usually those with lower food cost or those with a very high dollar return). When you have an itemized price list like we have set up now, the customer focuses on the price first, the menu item and/or what they want second. Next time you are at one of the major casual chains, Applebees, Chili's, etc....take a minute and just look at their menu. You have to almost look for the price, and most of the time its listed without a dollar sign right after the item description. Katie is re-designing the menu and I am adjusting my food costs. We should have a new menu in the next few weeks. Its not really about charging more, its about steering your mind towards certain things. Now their are some items that I am going to raise the prices on because commodity prices have soared (if you are not "in the business", read yesterdays article in the New York Times business section....very good!). Peace out.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Arlie Bragg

I remember like it was yesterday. A rainy day in June 2006. I had just verbally agreed to rent the space in Nolensville from Vern. I was in the process of finding a pit. Knowing that I could not build a brick pit to cook hogs on (because of codes), I was trying to find a pit that replicated that of the brick pits I knew and know so well. I called what seemded like everyone in the country, one of which was Ole Hickory Pits. Next thing I know I'm "up on top" of Mt. Juliet in the driveway of Arlie Bragg; Competition Cook, Organizer, Caterer. Arlie sold me on the pits and the rest is history. He and I were talking the other day and I had realized that I had never given ol' Arlie his rightful "props" here on the here it is. Arlie is a great guy, friend, and a helluva cook.......if you ever need a pit, call Arlie or look up his website @


Yesterday fell right in line with every other Tuesday for since October. I guess we've finally hit our stride. Our daily sales through the week are becoming very predictable. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can start concentrating on catering for the spring. Relatively speaking, in relation to other bbq restaurants, we did not do much catering in 2007 because I didnt want to lose focus of the Joint. I wanted all I could get but was careful to go get what I asked for because we could have overextended ourselves and hurt our reputation by not being able to adequately service the demand. This year we are better suited and more comfortable from an operations standpoint to take that on. In the next few weeks I'll outline a sales plan here on the blog.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sales still strong

The past two weeks we've only been open 6 days combined because of the holidays. Those 6 days have been very strong. It has really been a very pleasant surprise! Because of the 4 days we've been closed we've probably lost about $5,000.00 in sales (opportunity costs), but then again my operating expenses were almost nil. I hope the past few weeks are a sign of whats to come; that the "slow" months of Jan. & Feb. wont be as slow as I was/am anticipating.
2008 is really looking exciting.........I've got some big plans in the works, a lot of irons in the fire. Some of it I'll get into over the next few weeks and some of it I wont/cant until they come into fruition. Its hard to believe that mid June will be the two year mark of when I leased the location from Vern and started this Train on the tracks.

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!