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Thinking of Starting a BBQ Business? Should You Invest in a Franchise or Start from Scratch?

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When it comes to starting a BBQ business, you can get a head start by choosing the franchise of a well-established BBQ restaurant as opposed to starting from scratch and opening a BBQ restaurant of your own invention. In this article, we’ll explore reasons why you should take a look at a franchise before opening a BBQ restaurant from scratch.

Successful Franchises Have All Started from Scratch

Launching a BBQ restaurant requires a combination of good general business planning and specific product research and development. These are not small undertakings, and there can be costs associated with the amount of research and planning this entails. Preparing a specific BBQ business plan requires quite a bit of in-depth research in a number of stages.

Market Research

Is there a market for a BBQ restaurant in the area in which you’re interested in starting a BBQ business? Do the demographics and psychographics support such an establishment? Or is the particular location already saturated with long-standing competitors?

Generally, a franchisor has done this type of research before, and may be able to advise you as you research the area you have selected to operate your franchise. They know what it takes to operate the business, and can advise you from their own experience, which is priceless!

Competitive Analysis Starting a BBQ business

Before starting a BBQ business, you can bet a franchisor checked out their competition, and continued to do so after they themselves began to expand. They may have studied the competitors for things like:

  • BBQ Concept
  • Pricing
  • Menu
  • Cooking Style
  • Branding
  • Restaurant Style (interior, exterior seating, etc.)

Once this research was conducted, the franchisor may have decided that they indeed had a marketable concept or niche in the world of BBQ before deciding to move forward with their expansion, whether it be local or national.

Menu Development

If you’re starting from scratch, “once you have narrowed down your concept, create different menus based on your proteins, side dishes, breads and desserts. Side dishes can make or break a BBQ restaurant. Decide if you want your sides to specifically go with a type of BBQ...or if you will stick with local favorites your customers have already demonstrated they buy at other restaurants.”

Established BBQ franchisors already have this figured out. But they didn’t get there without a lot of recipe testing and consideration. When you choose the franchise route before starting a BBQ business, this step has already been done for you. You’ll save considerable time, painstaking decision-making, and money on ingredients!

Ingredient Sourcing

When you are considering starting your own restaurant, you will need to research the specific ingredient costs before starting a BBQ business or other concept. Having an expansive menu with beef, pork, chicken, fish and game might attract more customers but will require you to buy more proteins, reducing economies of scale from specializing in only a few proteins. Contact suppliers and get prices for proteins, and ask for suggestions regarding popular choices and year-around affordability.

And finally, evaluate side dishes to determine their a la carte purchase prices and what they will cost you if you have a “meat-and-three” concept that offers three side dishes with a protein.

You cannot short-cut any of these sourcing and pricing steps if you’re starting a BBQ business from scratch.

On the other hand, a solid franchised BBQ business opportunity will have already flushed out suppliers, products to order, and maybe even pricing for you. More so, since there are multiple restaurants purchasing the same ingredients from the same list of suppliers, there’s opportunity for better pricing based on this consolidated volume. Another reason to think twice about starting a BBQ business from scratch!

Equipment Sourcing

For equipment, you’ll need to price the cost of the ovens, grills, or smokers you will need before starting a BBQ business, including the fuel for them. Find the price and year-round availability of the wood you will need – once you decide which type will be best for the specific smokey taste you are going for.

A franchisor like Edley’s BBQ has a specific wood (white oak) and cooking time (low and slow) defined for its franchise owners, so that they can deliver a delicious, consistent product to their customers every day.

Marketing to start a BBQ business

When it comes to marketing, you’ll need a well-thought-out strategy. Initially, it will be all about branding and name recognition. Things to think about include:

  • Developing a creative brand, name and logo
  • Decorating the restaurant to match the regional BBQ style you’ve chosen
  • Entering BBQ competitions and festivals
  • Becoming the go-to BBQ expert in your area through articles and interviews
  • Adding barbecue lifestyle content on your website

Sound like a lot of work? You’re right. But much of this work has already been done for you when you start with a reputable BBQ franchise. Also, most franchisors assist with marketing strategies that will help with starting a bbq business. Plus, they can offer tips for on-going marketing and campaigns ready for you as soon as you sign up.  The advantage is, they already know what works so you won’t be wasting your marketing budget.

Before Starting from Scratch

In summary, these are few of the reasons to take a look at a franchise opportunity instead of starting a BBQ business from scratch. The financial and time-saving advantages of aligning with a tried-and-true business model are too numerous to ignore.

At Edley’s Bar-B-Que, we focus on our guests’ overall experience while showcasing our signature Nashville personality. We are interested in joining forces with the right people in the right places, and are expanding in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, and Illinois. We’re also growing into other Southern and Midwest states.

When you join the Edley’s Bar-B-Que family, we'll be guiding you to leverage all the research and tools we’ve established, as well as advising you on your local store marketing plan right from Day One.

We are here to help you every step of the way. That’s the Southern hospitality we’re known for, treating everyone like family.

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