When the hungry can’t come to Sweets & Meats BBQ, Sweets & Meats BBQ goes to the hungry

By Nicole Menkhaus, Marketing Director, Goering Center for Family and Private Business

The food service industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic in 2020, and Sweets & Meats BBQ was no exception. In the early days of the pandemic, when everything was shut down, Sweets & Meats’ carry-out remained open – but that would not be enough to survive. They began offering online ordering and curbside pick-up, partnered with Kroger to sell packaged meats and sides in the deli department in their neighborhood store, and began taking their food trucks out to Cincinnati area neighborhoods. They would hit four neighborhoods a day within a 30-mile radius of their restaurant for a period of 15 months, offering family packages and individual meals for pick up from their food truck and trailer. This additional service kept them in business and broadened their audience.

“By going into neighborhoods, we provided a convenient and safe option for customers who were following the stay-at-home orders and/or were under strict quarantine,” explains Kristen Bailey, CEO. “By setting up in the Anderson Kroger Bistro, we were meeting the needs of our customers who were not venturing out anywhere except to the grocery store and for essential supplies.”

The challenges to their business did not stop Sweets & Meats from supporting their hard-hit community as well. They partnered with La Soupe and the SEM Food Pantry, who aided them in distributing cooked meals to families at Sands Montessori, Mt. Washington Elementary, and the Mt. Washington Library.

During this time, Kristen and her partner also realized their potential as a small business: they learned to delegate more to their team, who in turn surpassed expectations, and they spent a lot of time working on the business operations and team development, closing through the winter when they realized their team needed a break. “Although difficult to close for 10 weeks, it was the very best decision we could've made in hindsight,” shares Anton Gaffney, Kristen’s partner and 2020 Goering Center Rising Leader. “We made sure our staff was still compensated while we were closed, and we retained 100% of our employees.”

Thanks to all the additional streams of revenue Sweets & Meats created during and because of the pandemic, their business broke even in 2020, despite a $400K loss in catering & event revenue due to cancellations and government restrictions in the second quarter. As for 2021, they are reaping the rewards of their 2020 efforts, with full bookings and exciting growth.

Featured image: Kristen Bailey (CEO) of Sweets & Meats BBQ

Sweets and Meats BBQ is a Goering Center Core Member. The Goering Center is sharing this content as part of its 2021 Family and Private Business Awards celebration.

About Sweets & Meats BBQ
Sweets & Meats BBQ specializes in smoked meats, homemade sides and desserts. What started as a road-side pit-stop in the heart of the founders’ own neighborhood has grown into a carry-out restaurant located in Mt. Washington, a catering business and a food truck operation with two trucks.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business
Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit goering.uc.edu.