The world of food franchising doesn’t lack for sub shops, fast Mexican and Chinese restaurants and burger joints. But barbecue restaurants aren’t nearly as prevalent, leading some industry experts to conclude that barbecue may be the next big trend in food franchising.
“It’s a simple matter of supply and demand,” said Tony Avila, the CEO of New Orleans’ VooDoo BBQ & Grill, a system of franchise barbecue restaurants. “We saw the opportunity to put a distinctive, hometown spin on a traditional Southern cuisine.”
Some of the reasons why barbecue may be the next hot trend in food franchising:
- High demand, low competition. There are no firm statistics available, but barbecue restaurants are relative rarities even in large cities.
- Growth potential. High demand for a product and a vacuum in the market leads to natural potential for growth.
- The comfort factor. Restaurant industry experts have been tracking the rise of “homestyle” and “comfort food” outlets in recent years, and barbecue is the quintessential American comfort food.
- The protein factor. Contrary to what many people think, the tenderness of good barbecue comes from the slow cooking, not fattiness. Carb-conscious diners are always looking for lean protein, and good barbecue provides it.
VooDoo BBQ & Grill adds two other advantages: the public’s fascination with New Orleans and Louisiana cuisine; and the company’s commitment to developing locations in the booming fast-casual restaurant sector. In 2010, the fast-casual sector outpaced the restaurant industry as a whole, with the top 100 chains growing six percent to nearly $19 billion in sales.
“That’s remarkable growth in an economy that’s dampened diners’ incentive to eat out,” Avila said. “We think competition-style barbecue in a fast-casual setting is an ideal platform for growth in today’s food franchising environment.”
About VooDoo BBQ & Grill
VooDoo BBQ & Grill is a chain of barbecue restaurants based in south Louisiana that opened its first location in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day 2002. VooDoo serves competition-style barbecue beef, pork and chicken with unique side dishes, plus salads and sandwiches, in a clean, colorful fast casual environment. For more information, visit voodoobbq.com or voodoobbqfranchise.com.