Sunday, April 1, 2012

What it takes to sell BBQ

BBQ in Texas is a passion for some folks, and I love dinning on their handiwork.  Just the other day, I stopped into a local BBQ joint for some brisket.  Prior to moving to Texas, I’d never had this cut of beef.  BBQ to me was pulled pork or chicken, or beef ribs.  I am now a big fan of Texas brisket.  Good stuff. 

While I was waiting (and drooling) in line I couldn’t help but notice the display of paperwork mounted on the wall.  Upon closer inspection, what I found were the company’s occupational licenses – eight in all.  These ranged from a license just to open (certificate of occupation) to a desert license.  Are the risks so great that one must be duly licensed to sell deserts?  Apparently in San Antonio.

Texas is (was?) known for its rather lax laws and regulations, and so this caught me by surprise.  Is all this necessary to protect the public?  I mean a desert license?  Get real.  Many of these so-called public protections are simply a way for the City to generate income, but it also has another effect (the unseen).  The average Joe is oftentimes pushed out of the market.  Starting a BBQ business would not only require all the capital necessary for acquiring equipment to cook and prepare meat, the owner must attend hours of education and pay the City large amounts of money to obtain all the necessary permits. 
Entrepreneurs loaded with a good recipe but not cash may balk at all the permits required.  The result of this is consumers are made worse off.  That’s one less choice we have, and that’s a bad thing.  So, the next time you’re out dinning on some good ole BBQ, thank the business owner for navigating their City’s labyrinth of occupational licenses and permits.  Pleasing City officials is often harder than pleasing customers.

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