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So You Want to Be a BBQ Restaurateur

fresh off the grill ribsSo, you’ve done some research and you have made your mind up - you want to open a BBQ restaurant! Congratulations on your choice. We’ve generated a guide of some important things you’ll want to keep in mind, and what you will need.


One of the things that make a successful barbecue restaurant is your ability to make your BBQ taste like it just came off of the backyard grill. Having the right equipment will most important in making that happen.

Barbecue Smoker

A barbecue smoker is essential for a BBQ restaurant and will cook your meats thoroughly and evenly. The circulated heat emitted from a smoker will cook your meats to lean, juicy, succulent perfection… Mmm.

Barbecue grill (Gas or Charcoal)

You will need to decide if your BBQ will be prepared on a gas grill or a charcoal grill. Charcoal grill lovers appreciate that meats can get crisp on the outside, while remaining pink and tender on the inside. Charcoal also emits stronger smoke flavors into the meat. Yum! Gas grill advocates love the flexible heat control , easy clean up, and reduced fire hazard benefits offered by using gas.

Mongolian Barbecue grill

Consider a Mongolian barbecue grill to stand out in a competitive location. Mongolian grills provide a round, solid iron griddle with temperatures of up to 570°F Mongolian barbeque is popular in Taiwanese culture but has growing popularity.

Other key equipment, you are sure to need includes rangers with ovens, serving steam units, specialty conveyer toasters.


When it comes to opening up a restaurant, location is the one factor that can completely make or break your business. Barbecue is more suited to the casual dining experience, so you want to avoid setting up shop in an upscale neighborhood.

Check Your Demographics

Understanding the demographics of a location will help you to better decipher if your restaurant will do well or is in demand in an area. Check the Census Bureau website to research average income, and other important factors in a given area that can affect your establishment’s success.


Be bold and consider the approach of moving close to a competitor. You may benefit from your competitors marketing efforts by being nearby.


Most people are visual; in fact 65 percent of people are visual learners according to Pearson Prentice Hall. You can help sway patrons’ perception of your BBQ before they even taste your food by having an attractive decor. By creating a striking visual appearance, you are making a statement.

Consider embellishing your restaurant interior for a southern feel. Since the Top 10 barbecue-loving states are in the south, namely Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, etc.), BBQ lovers often associate the food with southern charm – Sunday picnics, and old country tunes create a familiar experience.

New & Improved Barb-IQ

Now that you have a better understanding of the equipment, location and décor necessary for a thriving BBQ joint- the real work can begin! Market your business, get advice from successful restaurateurs, and continue your research. No one ever said that running a barbecue restaurant would be easy, but it can be a fun, rewarding, (and might we add delicious) endeavor. Use your new and improved BBQ IQ and get out there and make a profit!