Shawn Morris, Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ, Culpeper
Shawn Moss opened his restaurant and catering business, Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ and Catering, LLC, in March, 2013. He has many years’ experience in the food business working with his mother who has been running her own catering service for 37 years in Woodbridge, VA.
The 84-seat restaurant is located just outside downtown Culpeper. Shawn presently has customers from as far away as Fredericksburg and Stafford, and his biggest problem right now is providing enough parking!
When Shawn first came to Lord Fairfax-Culpeper SBDC, he needed help in reducing his costs and growing his market. His labor costs were very high, since he was paying his staff higher than a minimum wage. It was suggested that Shawn consider changing the restaurant to a self-order, counter-pickup system, similar to 5 Guys or Panera Bread. Shawn has followed this advice and greatly reduced expenses.
Shawn also added take-out, and he now estimates that the carryout business is about 40 to 50 % of his total sales. He offers online ordering and is also thinking about offering home delivery.
The catering side of the business has also been growing -- enough that he had to buy an additional food truck. He is catering for large venues, such as fairs and horse shows. He estimates that he served 2000 people at one event last year, and he will again be catering this event in 2014.
He employs 15 part-time staff between the kitchen and the restaurant.
To cap his successful year Shawn Smokehouse BBQ and Catering, LLC, was named the Culpeper Small Business of 2013 at the Culpeper Chamber Annual Dinner in November 2013.
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