Woody’s Bar-B-Q Trims the Fat for the Benefit of Franchisees and Patrons Alike



After more than 30 years of smoking and serving up generous portions of Southern Bar-B-Q to a growing fan base, the masterminds behind Florida-based Woody’s Bar-B-Q® envision a full-flavored future as one of the hottest fast casual concepts to hit the United States. By pairing age-old secret recipes with cutting edge operations and smaller store footprints, Woody’s is repositioning itself for the good of both future franchisees and patrons.

“We have enjoyed great success over the past three decades as a casual dining concept,” explains company co-founder Woody Mills. “But with the increased interest in franchising paired with the high demand for takeout and catering from our existing stores, we felt it might be time to add a couple of special ingredients to our franchise offerings – through new fast casual and fast casual express Woody’s Bar-B-Q locations.”

Under the new repositioning, a Woody’s Bar-B-Q fast casual restaurant will average between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet in size, while an express location will cap out at about 1,000 to 1,500 square feet. The smaller restaurants lend themselves to lower build-out and start-up costs, fewer employees, and tighter operations making them highly attractive and potentially extremely lucrative for new franchisees. Whereas the start-up costs for a fast casual restaurant might range from $284,000 for an existing location to $640,000 for completely new construction, an express fast casual restaurant may range from $227,000 on the low end to just $397,000 on the high end.

“We see the Woody’s Fast Casual Express model as our future, possibly bypassing the standard size model in just a matter of years,” insists Mills. “What will remain unchanged during this transition in our company is the unsurpassed professionalism of our operators and the outstanding quality of our product. Woody’s Bar-B-Q is dedicated to providing each and every customer who walks through our doors with a highly memorable and positive experience through the service they receive and the food they enjoy. We are proud to have developed a loyal following among our patrons thanks to menu items like falling-off-the-bone Baby Back Ribs, skillfully smoked pulled pork, creamy coleslaw, and my mom’s recipe for banana pudding. We plan to keep building upon that already rock solid foundation.”

Each Woody’s Bar-B-Q franchisee is carefully screened and qualified through the use of the company’s Three C’s:

  • Character: This future franchisee exhibits strong morals and ethics. He or she is committed to running their business the right way using sound principles and mutual respect, while remaining active in their local community and church.
  • Chemistry: This future franchisee is committed to the Woody’s Bar-B-Q brand and adopts the corporate philosophy of “Quality, Cleanliness, and Service”. He or she is a firm believer in the company’s values with regard to operating a successful Woody’s Bar-B-Q.
  • Confidence: This future franchisee has the confidence and background to successfully own and operate a Woody’s Bar-B-Q. He or she has proven they can manage their own finances and possesses a solid credit rating.

“We may occasionally come across a prospective franchisee who has never owned or operated a restaurant in the past, but passes muster with our Three C’s,” says Mills. “We understand that everyone has to start somewhere, just like we did 30 years ago. With valuable tools in place like our tried-and-true menu offerings, amazing marketing and operations team to guide them, and well-scouted location sites selected by Parrish Taylor and his team at Harbert Realty Services – we are setting each franchisee up for success, regardless of experience. The smaller fast casual model will also make it easier for those ‘rookies’ to find a solid footing.”

In another strategic move toward their repositioning, Woody’s Bar-B-Q recently revamped their website at www.woodys.com – which now features an easier-to-navigate system including locations, menu, online store and kid’s club for patrons and a link to a well-defined “everything you need to know about Woody’s Bar-B-Q” franchise site for prospective franchisees. Plans are already underway to ramp up operations under the two new franchise models in 2012. Woody Mills, along with his partner Yolanda Mills-Mawman and Director of Franchise Development Troy Taylor project that they will add 25 to 30 new Woody’s Bar-B-Q franchises over the course of the New Year. The three credit this vision of growth to the anticipated popularity of the sleeker, leaner and more efficient models.

“Our patrons ultimately benefit in the simple fact that with more than two dozen new restaurants out there in the world, a whole new clientele will be introduced to the great Southern Bar-B-Q that so many have already come to know and love,” concludes Mills. “It’s a win-win for Bar-B-Q lovers and future franchisees alike!”

After opening their first Woody’s Bar-B-Q in 1980, partners Woody Mills and Yolanda Mills-Mawman have spent the past three decades setting the “bar” higher for great Southern Bar-B-Q. From the humble beginnings of just one location in Jacksonville, Florida, a shared passion for Bar-B-Q, and a dog-eared collection of recipes, Mills and Mawman have grown the Woody’s Bar-B-Q brand to more than two dozen locations reaching from the Deep South where Bar-B-Q is king to the Northeast and Western fronts. Perhaps best known for their signature melt-in-your-mouth slow-smoked Bar-B-Q Baby Back Ribs, Woody’s has also built quite a following among patrons with their secret recipe Bar-B-Q sauces and meats, as well as their freshly prepared side dishes.

For more information and a list of locations, visit http://www.woodys.com. To learn more about becoming a Woody’s Bar-B-Q franchisee, visit http://www.woodys.com/franchise/ or call Director of Franchise Development Troy Taylor at 904-992-0556 x 36 or 949-677-8771.