Our first restaurant experience

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SmokeyDs BBQDarren Warth In my last blog, I told you Shad and I started a catering company in 2007. Our first business was supposed to be a catering kitchen, but we decided to put a little carry-out on the front of it and see what happened. I still had my corporate job at the time.

We opened the kitchen north of Des Moines and it just went crazy. It was only open five days a week because we still wanted to compete on the barbecue circuit on the weekends. We traded off with Shad on weekends so we could still continue catering, too.

In late 2007, I talked to my boss about my crazy schedule and that I wanted to be my own boss. November is not a good time to start a business and I was thinking that if I could just wait until the following July, I would make it go. Ruan was downsizing and I decided to leave. A six-month severance package gave me the peace of mind to know I could make this work.

It was the best day of my life (well, except for marrying my wife and having our daughter. But as far having the freedom from corporate America, it was great). My wife was concerned but I knew it was a great thing.

Time to Grow
The business was doing well but we needed to grow it. We had a location we were pursuing in the skywalk in downtown Des Moines (6th and Locust), and I leased the space from Ruan, my former employer. We opened in Feb. 2008 (that was my wife’s Valentine’s Day present). Then, we opened our Nationwide location (also in downtown Des Moines at 1200 Locust) in Oct. 2009 for our anniversary.

We opened our main restaurant, just off of Interstate 35 and 80 on the north side of Des Moines (next to the Harley Davidson Barn) on Labor Day weekend of 2010.

In my next blog, I’ll tell you about our business, and why we think it’s been successful.

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