SLAB BBQ on Catering and Channel Management as a Fast Casual Restaurant

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast hosts Valerie Killifer and Erle Dardick chat with Mark Avalos and Rafael Robinson, the co-owners of SLAB BBQ.

Avalos began SLAB in a barbecue trailer as a catering business in 2006. He subsequently opened a food trailer at the University of Texas in Austin, and established the company’s first brick and mortar restaurant location in 2014 with Rafael Robinson. A second SLAB BBQ location was opened in 2016.

In this unique episode, guests Avalos and Robinson ask the questions. As a small, independent fast casual restaurant, they are concerned about the cost of maintaining their company’s catering business, where to invest their time and money, and how best to implement the five pillars in the context of their restaurant.

“One of the headaches that I’ve had is trying to figure out—does full service catering fit with the concept of a fast casual restaurant?” asks Avalos. “The full service catering side isn’t doing enough to stand alone, and we can’t hire people, so we have to share the resources of our brick and mortar. The busiest days of our restaurant are on the weekend.” As he notes, many fast casual restaurants do not invest in catering.

“Ultimately, you have a consumer who wants to spend more money with your brand. And they want solutions at a particular time in their day,” says Dardick. “The more solutions that you can offer for their particular opportunity to feed them, the more revenue you’re going to capture.”

“This is the complexity that you’re managing as an operator,” adds Dardick. “You need to figure out what your channels are. Once you understand that dynamic, you can backfill.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about the pros and cons of working with third party vendors, the necessity of gratuities, and best marketing strategies!

Produced by:

Nathan Mikita

Nathan Mikita

Director of New Media/Producer


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