Have you noticed that you often see the word “Local” being used in a lot of social media and print advertising? And while we are certainly a “local” business, I haven’t routinely used that word when talking about what we do and who we do it with. But I have come to the conclusion that I should be using it. Because what is more local than two Kentucky natives who were born here, grew up here, went to school here, raised a family here, and now have opened a business here? I guess we are about as local as you can get “around here.”
When we first started our Food Truck business, known then as J. Render’s BBQ, the first thing we did was apply for our KY Proud affiliation. But then, as usual, we got busy with the business of being in business and didn’t really use our Kentucky roots to our advantage. So when we made the leap to our brick and mortar with the food truck tagging along, all of a sudden “local” started to take on a whole new meaning for us. I mean, with Big Red (how we affectionately refer to our food truck), you didn’t find one of those on every corner. Yes, food trucks are starting to take off, but when we came on the scene in 2012, there were not many to be found. And there certainly were not many food trucks that were operating as their main source of income. By this I mean that a lot of food truck owners have day jobs and hone their food trucking craft on the side.
But with a restaurant, well that’s another story. It seems like a new restaurant, and especially a new restaurant with a BBQ theme, is popping up on every corner. For years, the only game in town was Billy’s BBQ and now, you can’t drive down the street without seeing something BBQ related, be it a food truck or a brick and mortar. So what does that mean? I think it means that we have to elevate our game. We have to give our customers and food truck fans just a little bit more than the guy down the street. And we need to talk about the fact that we are a “locally owned” business. Yes, it actually matters. Because now, I ask those questions before spending my money. I want people around here to support me, so in return, I want to support them back. So if I have a choice, I spend my money at “locally owned” businesses.
While we are not a large chain restaurant with gads of cash to make a go of things, what we ARE is a couple of Kentucky natives with a dream to own a restaurant, who figure we have what it takes to make it work. I am getting out a lot more and talking to more and more business owners, and what I have found is that they have your back. They want local businesses to succeed, they want their business to succeed, and if we all focus on that and our “local” friends and businesses, I’d say we will do ok. Chain restaurants and big corporate businesses aren’t going anywhere, but I’d like to believe that we little guys DO have a chance to make it with a little help from our friends.
Thank you, my friends. And come see us at our little old “locally owned” restaurant, J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar, over in Beaumont at 3191 Beaumont Centre Circle.