What does your job entail?
I'm in charge of making sure that the food we serve costs the right amount. Basically, I balance quality with price.
And then what?
It's a continuous process. Every time we add a new menu item—like our tomato-cuke salad or garlic mashed potatoes—we need to make sure that it's not only tasty and popular, but also cost-effective. As a relatively new restaurant building our business model from scratch, it's important that the price of our food is enough to cover our overhead, but low enough that people return for our delicious barbecue.
Do you ever do any barbecuing yourself, or are you purely a books man?
I'm a friend of Joe's, so I've done a fair amount of barbecuing. I've also worked in the food business as a bar back, waiter, bartender... it helps in this job to know what people want when they walk into a restaurant, and what a satisfied customer looks like.
What seems to satisfy customers the most here?
Our mac 'n' cheese is a citywide favorite—it won a People's Choice award last year. Our barbecue pulled-pork sandwich is also very popular; it's got a Carolina vinegar-based sauce, and comes topped with some slaw, which mellows out the vinegar flavor.
What's Joe's story?
Joe is a master barbecuer who loves to throw huge parties—summer solstice parties, Super Bowl parties—with hundreds of guests. He's been feeding his friends for 20 years, so he decided to start feeding the public. I'm just here to keep his vision going.