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Do you oversee the grill during the BBQs you host in your backyard? Starting your own barbeque company might be the best way to advance your level of expertise. There are a variety of business models you can pick from, such as starting a food truck, a smoker on an empty lot, or a small barbecue restaurant. It’s possible that you’ll develop your own meat empire and become the next Franklin Barbecue. 

Before opening your own barbecue restaurant, there are many things to learn. Thankfully, you’ll find all the business knowledge you need in this step-by-step manual to cook your way to entrepreneurship excellence.

Step 1: Find Out if this is the Right Business for You?

Positives Vs Negatives

Amazing Food – Express your love of succulent meats that have been expertly grilled.
Numerous options for products and services provide flexibility.
High Demand – Who doesn’t enjoy bbq?
High levels of BBQ options and fierce competition
Realistic Requirements – In order to get noticed, one must be a true grillmaster.
  • Industry size – In the US, there were $4 billion worth of barbecue restaurants in 2021[1].
  • Growth of the industry – Over the past five years, the US barbecue restaurant business has grown consistently by 2%. 
  • Count of enterprises – There are 17,243 BBQ restaurants in the US.
  • Total number of employees – There are 372,986 workers in the BBQ restaurant sector.

Cost of Starting Small Barbecue Business

$8,500 to $24,000 is typically spent as startup capital for a small barbeque business. Deposits for a food truck, a truck to transport your equipment, or a leased space are the first significant outlay of money. A commercial smoker and a grill are included in the second major expense, which is for the equipment. 

You may enroll in online video classes for around $1,000 through a website like BBQ Champs if you want to improve your BBQ skills. Additionally, YouTube has a ton of free videos about grilling and barbecuing. 

Investment Items:

  • Marketer of cigarettes
  • Grill
  • grilling implements
  • Dishware for serving
  • supplies for packaging

Is Small Barbecue Business Profitable?

A BBQ lunch costs approximately $15 on average. Your profit margin should be around 40% if you are a solopreneur running a food truck or mobile stand.

20 dinners may be sold each day from your BBQ truck in the first year or two, earning you close to $110,000 a year. If the 40% margin is accurate, this would result in a profit of roughly $44,000. In order to lower your profit margin to about 20% as your brand becomes more well-known, you might rent a restaurant and recruit workers. You might sell 200 meals a day, which would bring in around $1,100,000 in annual revenue and a tidy profit of $220,000.

Entry Barriers

  • Making grilled meats that are unique in a crowded market 
  • startup funding

Step 2: Create a Strategy

Identify a Gap

Examine the products, price ranges, client testimonials, and best-selling items at local small barbecue joints by conducting research on them. Finding a market gap to fill is what you’re after. One possibility is that there isn’t a BBQ chicken restaurant in your market.  


You could choose to specialize in cooking a certain cut of meat or provide a variety of meats, and you could even decide on a particular barbecue style, such as Kansas City or St. Louis barbecue. A choice of side dishes could also be provided. among the potential goods are:

  • sandwiches made with pulled pork
  • Sandwiches made with beef brisket
  • sandwiches made from chicken and chicken
  • Pig ribs
  • a baked bean
  • The potato salad
  • Pancakes and cornbread


Depending on the size and quantity of sides, a barbecue dinner may cost anywhere from $10 to $18. Around $15 is the standard. Expenses for ingredients, packaging, and petrol will be incurred if you operate a mobile stand. A 40% profit margin is what you should aim for.

The Step By Step Profit Margin Calculator can be used to calculate your markup and final price points once you have an understanding of your expenditures. Do not forget that the prices you use at launch should be flexible if the market requires it.

Target Market

You should spread out your marketing on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn because your target market will be highly diverse. Entering a few BBQ competitions could also help you gain some attention.


You might decide to operate your company as a mobile stand in the beginning to reduce costs. But if your company expands, you’ll probably need to hire personnel for a variety of positions, and you could need to rent a storefront in order to operate a BBQ shop. Utilize websites like Instant Offices, Crexi, and Craigslist to find rental opportunities for commercial space in your neighborhood.

You might want to abide by these general guidelines while selecting a commercial space:

  • accessible by public transportation in a central location
  • With plenty of natural light and ventilation
  • As your firm expands, your lease might be made more accommodating.
  • a space that is ready to use and doesn’t require any substantial upgrades or repairs

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

Every company requires a plan. This will serve as a manual to help you through the launch process for your firm while staying focused on your major objectives. An investor’s and partner’s ability to comprehend your company and its goals is also enhanced by a business plan:

  • The executive summary, which should be written once the plan is finished, provides a concise summary of the entire document.
  • Overview of the business, including ownership, vision, mission, and corporate goals.
  • Clearly state your products and services that you are providing.
  • Analyze the market by performing a SWOT analysis and evaluating trends like changes in demand and development potential.
  • Construct a list of the benefits of your services after analyzing your top competitors’ strengths and flaws.
  • Develop sales, marketing, and promotional tactics by considering your companies’ USPs (unique selling propositions).
  • Overview of the management team, including a corporate structure, information on each member’s responsibilities and educational background.
  • Operational Plan: The operational plan for your company outlines logistics, office location, essential assets, and other purchasing decisions.
  • Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, which includes startup expenses, break-even analyses, profit and loss projections, cash flow, and a balance sheet.
  • Added financial or commercial documentation should be included in the appendix.

Step 4: Create a Marketing Plan

Despite the fact that some of your customers will be passing by on the street or browsing online, you should still invest in digital marketing! It’s crucial for new firms to spread the word because it will increase brand and client recognition. 

Establish links between your social media accounts and your website once it is live. The ability to create interesting posts that promote your items on social media makes it an excellent tool for business promotion: 

  • Facebook is a fantastic tool for paid advertising since it enables you to target particular demographics, such men under 50 in the Cleveland area. 
  • Facebook-like advantages with a different audience on Instagram.
  • Website: SEO will assist in advancing the position of your website higher in pertinent search results, which is essential for boosting sales. On your website, make sure to optimize the calls to action. Play around with the text, color, size, and placement of calls to action like “Order Now.” As a result, purchases may rise significantly.
  • Google and Yelp: Listing on Google My Business and Yelp might be essential for businesses that depend on local clients to increase visibility and attract new clients. 

Kickstart Marketing

Utilize your online presence, social media platforms, and offline activities to promote your services and develop your brand. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Put up enticing signs at both your business location and website. 
  • By handing out flyers in your community and at professional gatherings. 
  • Produce press releases announcing new services, locations, etc.
  • Choose platforms that will allow you to reach your target market and run targeted social media marketing.
  • Pay-per-click advertising: Boost your search engine ranking with Google AdWords. Initial keyword research is required.
  • Influencer marketing: Pay individuals with huge social media fan bases to promote your BBQ. With smaller audiences and cheaper rates, micro-influencers are available.
  • Share client endorsements of your bbq, attesting to how much people enjoyed it.