Food.Man.Chew.: Spreading the word

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SmokeyDs BBQDarren Warth Our customers are the ones who promote our business, because it’s all based on “word of mouth.” We’ve only advertised once (because I lost a bet to a local weekly Des Moines newspaper, that we would finish in the top three).

People who sell advertising for television and radio shows don’t like me very much because I don’t advertise. I had an interview last year with the NASCAR racing network and they wanted to feature us as a place to come for a good, fast meal. We’ve had a lot of TV stations come by and want to interview me but I’ve turned them down (because I have the face for radio!).

We have passion for what we do and that comes through in our food. We’re excited to come to work every day, and we love being in the atmosphere and talking with the people. The friendly environment along with great food at a reasonable price makes people want to come back.

People ask why we don’t put on classes: We really should help folks learn how to do barbecue in their backyard, but we really don’t have time. The barbecue season used to start in May and end in October, but now it takes place virtually 12 months out of the year. We won’t go the entire year having two weeks off from the barbecue circuit.

We’re lucky because we have great people and things go well when we’re gone. In fact, most of the time, things seem to go better when we’re gone. We have wonderful managers who can run the ship. We’ve developed this system, both from the kitchen to the front of the house.

During the week, both Shad and I are usually here (except during lunchtime when I’m out catering almost every day). That’s my way of getting out to see customers face to face. I use this time to ask them how we’re doing and what we should be doing differently. I take what they tell me to heart, and my listening to our customers, we’re able to grow the business.

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Mike Lake    
Florida  |  May, 07, 2014 at 09:15 PM

My wife and I travel the BBQ circuit extensively and Smokey D's is always our first stop in Des Moines. I also think he has the best pork tenderloin sandwich in Iowa. I sampled a lot of them.


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