No matter which kind of barbecue sauce you’ve tried off the store shelves, they never taste as good as the ones you get from BBQ rib joints or at cook-off competitions. It’s no wonder that custom BBQ sauces always taste better when they’re homemade. Is custom-branded BBQ sauce better than a store bought one? If you’re looking to make your own custom BBQ sauce that’s better than all the others, here’s what you need to know.
Starting your sauce business
- Why are you making this sauce?
At some point, you have to stop and ask yourself if you’re motivated to outperform the barbecue sauces you’ve tried before. What is the motivation that will give you enough reason to make a sauce that everyone will love? Or for that matter, what small percentage of people will prefer your barbecue sauce over another brand name? It’s not criticism that asks these kinds of questions, but the persistence that keeps you going- followed by passion.
If you can’t get to sleep at night because you know your ideas can work, then it’s time to make these ideas into reality. You might just think this kind of thinking is for dreamers, but the reality is that you never give up on achieving your goals. It’s a pursuit that is never-ending, so prepare for a long and hard road ahead.
- What ingredients are needed?
If you’re already familiar with BBQ sauce, you already know what’s needed when it comes to the ingredients involved. Perhaps you have cooking skills already but lack professional culinary training. This never stopped anyone from making a BBQ sauce that had something about it that was impressive for one reason or another. You don’t need to be a chemistry expert but you should know a thing or two about cooking barbecue food before starting.
Where will you buy your ingredients?
Fresh ingredients are a must for making a good sauce but that only takes you so far when it comes to secret ingredients. Be sure to have access to your ingredients from local suppliers that offer an endless supply of what you need. This can be difficult if you’re using seasonal ingredients. This is one more reason that may require you to freeze-dry selective ingredients so you have them on hand all throughout the year.
This is easy enough to solve if you have friends in the neighborhood with a freeze-dryer who can help with this. Later, you’ll save money by buying your own equipment to build up a supply of hard-to-find ingredients.
Always use quality ingredients
What kind of sauce?
Barbecue sauces are a bit like the colors of the rainbow, they all have spectrums of flavor, taste, and spiciness. Perhaps you have a couple of ideas for more than one sauce that you want to make. Keep in mind that these are the sauces that will eventually make people recognize that flavor instantly. Just as the scent, color, and taste will be as original as a fingerprint that separates any other BBQ sauce from yours.
Develop reliable recipes for your sauces
Every home chef uses recipes that they keep in their kitchen. These are the written formulas that are repeated every time you make a sauce. These recipes are also your secret and should never be shared with others, even when so many recipes appear the same. Only your sauce recipe should be kept secret so others won’t have any chance to copy what you’ve taken the time to create and perfect.
Use reliable sauce-making equipment
There is no need to buy expensive measuring cups or fancy kitchen tools to make your sauce in the beginning. Just have reliable kitchen accessories to make it easier for you. A good kitchen thermometer and digital scale are an absolute must. Everything else is up to your need for cooking up a sauce that is repeated exactly as your recipe calls for. This will require that you keep a clean area where you make your sauce each and every time.
Have some experience with your clients
It’s not good enough that you like your own sauce but what other people want as a BBQ sauce. You have to be a real people person that helps to get a sense of what your potential customers are looking for. This creates a direct path to finding a steady market that will buy your sauces. More importantly, helps you focus on what sauce is going to be a big seller that gets immediate returns on your hard work.
Choose a catchy brand name
It’s no secret that BBQ sauce is always a play on words and is typically a name that is easy to remember. It can be something local that everyone can easily identify with which describes your sauce being part of that tradition. Make it rhyme like Busta’s BBQ Basting Sauce or Jimmies Original Bar-Be-Cue Jam, so your name is always part of the brand itself. If you have to have a brand name use an animal or symbol that defines your brand of BBQ sauce.
One of the most important bits of information is how to use feedback from your customers correctly. Use this information like you would wear a Boy Scout achievement badge, as this is the backbone of what people really think of your BBQ sauce. If you can get local celebs or folks around town with a big name, you should certainly use their positive comments to help sell your sauce. As you grow in popularity, this same concept is used on a larger scale.
Why do good labels matter?
Your product can move mountains when this label also gives you plenty of credit. It’s not just the design itself, but how the label attaches to your product. It should be professional and not peel off easily. Many online printing companies can create professional labels that are laminated and water-resistant and make your sauce look authentic and professional. A label printed on your home printer is too risky for appearing amateurish or cheap-looking.
When is custom branded BBQ sauce better than a store bought one? Take a look at the label of your favorite BBQ sauce. It will be apparent that you can do better than what they’re doing right away. A good label shows you care and you’re proud of your sauce.
Have a consistent production timeline
Where you will do your business
Start with local farmer’s markets, small mom and pop shops, and local festivals that offer food and crafted goods. Until you start approaching bigger outlets, your product needs to be seen at as many places that are continual big sellers. This is always better when you offer free samples, snacks, and even BBQ samples to let the public get a taste of your product. Just like those who travel to several BBQ cook-off competitions, your sauce should do the same.
Create a good business plan
Plan for a long-term schedule that will take you to as many venues and places where you can be seen. Many business experts believe that you need to lay out your goals on paper and stick to a timeline. The sooner you start getting out there and showing your product to everyone is all part of a plan of exposure. It also helps if you love talking about your product and like talking with people. It’s all about being very friendly and easy to talk to.
Register your business
Getting a trademark for your brand name is something you’ll need to do when you have enough money for that. The best advice is to use the sauce name if possible, to protect your brand name in the company title. It can be Bubba’s Big Red BBQ Sauce Company if that’s your brand name. When this is filed legally as a business, consider this name protected since there is a name search that allows you to use that exact company title.
If anyone else is using it, you can bring legal charges against another product that uses your brand name. It’s a legal loophole that is the cheapest way to protect your brand name with little effort.
Keep your customer demographic open
Finding bottles that suit your needs
The shape that you use for your bottled sauce has to be an extension of your product. It has to remind people why that shape is easy to spot. Your label also needs to be easy to spot on this bottle so this completes the visual impact when anyone sees your barbecue sauce. Local companies in your home state are the first place to check for suppliers that sell containers for sauces. If you can find these out-of-state at a better price, always buy in bulk to get the best price.
Which bottle material to use?
Many people might wonder which is better when considering plastic versus glass bottles. Obviously, glass is better for storing BBQ sauce compared to plastic which can affect flavor. Glass is pricier than plastic and can start to add up when you’re looking at buying 1000 to 5000 bottles. This is why you might want to weigh out what your product is worth. Perhaps a mix of plastic and glass can be used to market your sauce from the beginning.
Use plastic bottles for promotional samples and ready-to-use sauce at festivals while glass bottles are better for shipping and selling in stores. Help your customers to feel the difference with real glass when they own your sauce. Save on material and weight when traveling around with plastic bottles and a few select cases with real glass.