Boy how my perception of this whole business has changed over the years. Evidently I had plans for us to open a spot at the end of 2009. It actually took 5 years before we decided to do a brick and mortar. We also thought the brick and mortar would be an addition to the farmers market but that was a bust as well. Once we settled with four walls, the guys couldn't imagine dragging smoker, tents and whatnot hither an yon for the sake of bbq.
Fast forward to today. We opened our second location November 2015 and have hopes of a third. We have no plans to franchise but we want to spread good bbq a little further than the mom and pop stand we thought we would settle into.
With each new phase of Bigmista's I ask myself how did I get here?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Here I sit finishing a revised quote for a party on the 17th wondering how I got here. By here I don't mean my desk. I mean a business owner of something I never even imagined. A business that is quickly growing to be a success.
We "officially" started Bigmista Barbecue I will say in November when we started our first farmer's market in Watts, Neil was cooking long before that though. I thought this would be something for him to do just because he loves to cook so much, so why continue to play. Let's make a little money at this.
The orignal plan was to do a couple of markets on the weekend and then try and expand within a year or two. If things took off then Neil would quit his job in August when Ashton, his son, turned 18. After working the really slow season, November/December, of the market we spoke to the market manager about maybe doing another. She put us in touch with the market manager at Atwater Village so we started there in mid- to late- January if I'm not mistaken.
Atwater turned out to be better then Watts on most days. When we had our first $400 day we were so excited we said hey lets add another. I called around to a few places to see if we could get in somewhere else. As it turned out Lawndale which I had contacted back in November and forgot about called us. The manager I called about a Friday market had no openings but said she could place us Tuesday morning in Torrance. Who eats barbecue in the morning. I'll tell you who in a later post.
It's still January and the discussion for us has turned to how soon will Neil quit his job. It was definitely before August. Well I spoke to the market manager at El Segundo who told me she already had a bbq person but they weren't happy and they weren't making any money. She said she would call if things changed. Well she called the beginning of February. After that Neil quit his job a week and a half later. We now consider a $400 day a slow day.
To give you more background as to why I ask how did I get here I majored in Finance, personal finance to be more precise. I wanted to help people manager their money. I do on a small scale, but my plan was to start a non-profit and show people how to manger their finances and stop living from paycheck to paycheck.
I always knew Neil's calling was food but I flat out told anyone who would listen I was not getting involved. I would also tell them how Neil always wants to cook the beans but he doesn't want to count them. Boy was I ever right, but that's for another entry.
So here I sit contemplating building a bbq empire and planning our next move. Wondering what the new smoker will look like and where will we get the money to open a spot by year's end. I'm surrounded by receipt books, quotes, purchase orders and the like. I applied to Mt. Sac so that I can take restaurant management classes. Hopefully I can get something online since most of the classes are during the day.
So please, come with me as I remember my past and plan our future on my journey from a barbecue widow to a... I don't know what.