Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Update


Had to put a picture of my kids on this post. We went to Bobbie's Dairy Dip after Church for ice cream. It was a mess. Things still trucking along, biz is still great and with all due respect to my good buddy Carey Bringle - I've been busier than a one legged man in an ass kickin' contest. So heres the update:

MENU CHANGE
I've tried - for way too long - to hold my pricing, but its going to change. The only relief I can find today is a sepository laced with some of that menthol cooling gel. My wholesale pork prices have almost doubled since April! -kinda felt a "tinge" down there didnt ya? There ain't no getting around it and its something I hate to have to do, but its got to be done. So, we'll be charging a little more on some menu items just to make up the difference and we'll be introducing a few things too. We're bringing on baby back ribs in addition to our spares, Mississippi hot tamales, slug-burgers, pulled chicken sandwiches, brunswick stew, stewed cabbage, mac & cheese. Then we're bringing on a daily specials list that will have anything ranging from Mutton to shrimp po-boys. I'm also going to improve on some of the things that I have never been completely happy with but had to settle for. If you've been reading this thing since the beginning then you know that when I first opened up it was just Me & Bo. When there are just two of you, or three/four for that matter you are very limited on what you can prep & cook to keep up with demand. Baked beans is a good example. We needed baked beans that we prep up in a flash and have cooked in 45 minutes. We didnt have time to dice and sautee onions or green peppers, so they have not been where I want them to be but with the staffing we have now they are about to be. Actually not really going to change much of anything - the only things that I'm going to work on is Baked Beans, Green Beans - but we'll be able to keep up with other items we only have every so often, such as Etouffee' on a daily basis. The funny thing is we'll still have folks who for some reason must think we're just dying for their opinion. Its usually some tubby-fat-ass who thinks she's got the best recipe on the planet for this or that. What said tubby-fat-ass does not take time to consider is that recipes have nothing to do with it. Do you, tubby-fat-ass, really think that we're sitting back there in the kitchen making a 4 ingredient baked bean thinking its the best stuff on the planet? This is some of the pain you'll have to deal with opening your own place - people who cant fathom the difference between cooking for 4-8 in their home kitchen and cooking for 300 - DAILY - in a commercial kitchen. When its just you and one or two other people then recipes ain't got shit to do with it, getting it out as fast as you can with what you have does. Scan down this blog to about the first couple of months we were open and read about the crock-pot lady. I guess she's draining her back fat for lamp oil because I havent read about her crock-pot bbq joint opening up yet......but I digress. Sometime around middle of August we're going to start opening on Sundays. Not sure about the whole day yet but at least 10:00-2:00. The deck has been a huge payoff. I'm not seeing any increased business from it yet but it has greatly reduced waiting times for customers! I think its probably going to take a few months for word of mouth to circulate around that its open, at that point we might start seeing more business from it. Brew festival is coming up in two weeks. We had a pretty strong day there in sales last year so that should be fun. Sales are still very strong - up about 35% or more since this time last year. Im now realizing just how underfunded I was opening this place up. The good side to that is Im paying for a lot of stuff with cash as I go, not going further into debt. The bad side to that is any additional funds to pay down extra debt or go on vacation or whatever ain't there. When does it stop? How the heck do I know? We were recently named a top 5 BBQ Joint by Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. Thats a pretty dad-gum big honor to me. To even be in that conversation is flattering.

http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080630/NL04/306300010/1395


3 comments:

Michael in PA said...

Man, you don't charge enough. Maybe TN is different from my part of PA, but probably not so much. If you're overworked and underpaid, you aren't charging enough. Everyone understands the problems those of us in food service are facing. Charge what you are worth!

There's an old retail adage: "You can have good price, good service and good quality. Pick two." If your quality is as good as it seems to be, reflect it in the price and concentrate on great service.

Eric Devlin said...

Hi,

What is a slug-burger?

I've been periodically reading the blog since it started and this is the first time I remember seeing a picture of the joint from the front.

It looks great! Sort of the epitome of what a BBQ joint should be. Very 'homey' look while still being professional.

Eric

Pat Martin said...

eric.....long time no talk, thanks for keeping up with the joint, hope you'll be able to make it down sometime! a slug-burger is a depression era burger that used a lot of meal (soy/corn/whatever) mixed in with the meat as an extender. they became mostly dough with about 25% meat in with it. they are fried and served ONLY on burger bread, yellow mustard, pickles and chopped white onions. They at one time were all over the South, but are now only still found in poor areas of the deep south, such as Mississippi (my families home state). They are called a slug burger because back then a nickle was referred to as a "slug".

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 life.....you 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!