…two topics that we are frequently discussing in the ‘back room’ here at GQ4U! and without question, both are equally as important to our operations! As anyone who’s had a chance to experience our “Q” should know, I am very committed to quick follow up, rapid response to specific needs and recovery when our service has been less than I expect it to be. In addition, we have done a LOT of work to keep our price points in line with other ‘caterers’ in our market niche, despite the fact that there are a few significant differences in most cases!
For the past 5 weeks or so, our Customer Service has been less than I expect it to be and there are several reasons (no excuses) for this, so I thought I’d lay a few on the table here. Again…I’m not the kind of guy to make excuses for poor performance, so I won’t even attempt that…I merely offer the explanations for you to make your own mind up as to whether its permissible in this situation. Shortly after the Tornadoes hit the US Southeast on April 27th, I knew that we had to do more than send some money to an anonymous bank account. You see….BBQ guys are used to cooking without electricity and in sub-optimal environments…and I figured that folks in Alabama could use some smiles! After nearly a week of looking at the faces and scenes on the news and LOTS of planning….all my plans fell apart and I was off to Alabama anyway. For 3 days, myself and a new friend that the Kansas City BBQ Society pointed me to (Ron Harwell) cooked some tasty proteins to feed the buffet line at the Sheriff’s Command Center in Morgan County. We fed lots of folks and without question BBQ made a few smiles! While brief in duration, this trip took a significant amount of logistical planning and resources and of course, there was the need to ‘catch up’ after returning…leading to sub-optimal service for some prospective clients.
THEN, as if the devastation in the US Southeast wasn’t enough…a massive and horrific tornado hit Joplin, MO on May 22nd. Our ‘back office’ was just starting to get things in order following my unanticipated absence earlier in the month. Once again…I had that same feeling of needing to help in a significant way! If there was any good news to be had through all this it was that Joplin is only a 2 hour drive South of Kansas City and there are truly INCREDIBLE BBQ folks out there. An effort to help folks was quickly underway and really became the vision that I had in my head prior to leaving for Alabama…an awesome effort and LOTS of cooperation led to well over 100,000 BBQ meals being served to the folks in and around Joplin from a huge contingent of BBQ Teams and businesses! I donated (you can too…www.kookerskare.com) but felt the need to once again do more. SO, I flew out on Saturday and worked all afternoon and evening and a bit of the early morning shift, then back on a plane and home for a busy week starting Sunday evening! It was again an incredible experience and very humbling!
In addition to the natural disasters, May was my daughter’s 21st Birthday and one of the busiest May’s that we’ve ever had…so there was a LOT going on! While I’d like to report here that we’ve got everything cleaned up and have this place ‘ship shape’ again…we’re still getting things in order. In the event that you haven’t noticed, we are still struggling with scheduling and paperwork…BUT the quality of the “Q” is as good as it’s ever been! We’ve expanded our menu and re-committed to sourcing as many of our ingredients as possible locally. We are looking at ways to improve our ‘Eco’ performance and constantly working on menu items and delivery methods to meet the ever changing needs of our markets!
Here’s the last word…it’s on PRICES! In the event that you haven’t been paying attention the the commodities markets (who really does…ME!) the cost of everything from Corn and Beef to Diesel and Grains for feed have been skyrocketing!!! It’s a widespread problem and many better minds than mine in the food service industry are struggling with and things are no different here. We have had a few price increases and service changes due to our increased costs, but we NEVER simply increase a price without considering how to add value for our clients! You’ve got my promise that we’ll continue to give you everything we can at every event, but the realist in me also wants to warn of an inevitable additional price increase this year…so if you’re planning on GreatQ…lock in as soon as you can and avoid it if you can!
Thanks for your business and your understanding! – Jim