Let’s pretend … you live in a small town, population 1,200. You operate a BBQ joint open only on Saturdays in this small town. The townsfolk describe your brisket as “transcendent meat.” By the early afternoon you’ve sold all 300 pounds of the meats you smoked. Your day is done and your customers are happy. Business is manageable, profitable, and more important, enjoyable.
Then all of a sudden your unknown BBQ joint gets praised as BEST BBQ IN THE STATE.
People now drive hours from all over the state to taste your BBQ and by 10am, all the meat you smoked has been sold. Then you start smoking 1,000 pounds of meat instead of your regular 300 pounds, but still sell out by mid-morning.
This isn’t pretend, this is real.
Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, TX was anointed by Texas Monthly as the best BBQ joint in Texas. Since being lauded, Snow’s BBQ has been swamped with out-of-towners. The first Saturday after being featured in Texas Monthly magazine, I made the trip out to Lexington, TX to taste the ”transcendent meat” at Snow’s. No go. All gone. I was too late, even though I arrived at 10:45am.
As Snow BBQ’s pit master, Tootsie Tomanetz, says, all this attention has “blowed our business out of proportion.”
When faced with a similar situation where demand outstrips supply, most businesses would welcome the opportunity to blow their business out of proportion and simply expand to better meet demand. Expansion is the easy answer. The more difficult answer is to not expand.
Snow’s BBQ doesn’t want to expand because its owner, Kerry Bexley, worries that his and Tootsie’s passion for their Saturday BBQ gig will dry up under all the demands that come with being a bigger business.
These are perplexing times for Bexley and Snow’s BBQ. Sure, business is booming and the attention is good for the ego. However, is being too good actually bad for business? More out-of-town customers mean fewer folks in Lexington can enjoy the meats at their hometown BBQ spot. Tootsie is having to dramatically ramp up her early morning meat smoking duties, which adds intense pressure for everyone involved. It’s not uncommon for Snow’s BBQ to sell out of their meats by 9am which means loads of customers arriving after 9am leave disappointed. Again, is being too good actually bad for business?
Kerry Bexley told the Austin American-Statesman he’ll consider shutting down the business if it becomes just that … a business. “My concern,” says Bexley “is we don’t get so big that she [Tootsie] doesn’t enjoy it. But when it does, well, we’ll quit.”
Wow, that’s a refreshing take ... a business that puts passion and enjoyment before revenue and growth.
Learn more about Snow’s BBQ from this NPR story
and this review from Chowhound
| After adding an astute comment
, Rick Liebling
riffs beautifully off this post with a post of his own ... Scarcity, Storytelling and Having Your Business Blowed Up