Follow Us On

#058: Advice On Growing From One BBQ Restaurant to Two Units – Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ

Listen to this episode

Jeff Nicoletta – Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ – @BubbasSmokehouseBBQ – La Jolla & Eastlake, California

Podcast recorded above the butcher shop at Valley Farm Market in Spring Valley, California.


  • Jeff Nicoletta is the owner/operator of Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ in La Jolla and Eastlake.
  • Having no experience in BBQ Jeff opened two BBQ restaurants only because he has a passion for the customer’s reaction not just the bottom line.
  • By treating his restaurant operations like a video game, Jeff tries to raise his score by increasing quality and decreasing operational cost to satisfy his customers.
  • The benefits of paying more for quality and the shift in the industry from commodity to craft.
  • Delivery: Will it work for your business? How do you maintain the customer experience when using a food delivery service?
  • We discuss: UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates and online ordering through your Aloha POS.
  • Buying from Restaurant Depot vs. using a primary food vendor like US Foods.
  • Jeff and Derek share their experiences delegating day-to-day tasks to more passionate staff members and how it allows them to focus broader goals.
  • Derek gives an update on the 2018 Turf & Surf BBQ Championship.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ





Restaurant Depot Website

Flores Financial Bookkeeping – Bubba’s Smokehouse Recommendation

Restaurant Solutions Inc – Cali Comfort BBQ’s Recommendation

@BBQWarStories Weekly Social Shout Out:



Winner of a sexy new #BehindTheSmoke Mug.

Be sure to tag @bbqwarstories in all your #BehindTheSmoke photos and interact with the podcast on social for your chance to win.

Remember…if we can’t tag you then we can’t pimp you.

Shareable Quotes From This Podcast:

  • “You have to make bad brisket before you make good brisket” {05:10} – Derek Marso
  • “What I find interesting about BBQ is how there’s so many different techniques.” {7:02} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “It goes but gut feeling, really. I’ve been told I’m insane for listening to my gut.” {9:25} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “You gotta go to Restaurant Depot everyday and slave!” {16:22} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “I look at food costs and labor costs as a video game. The lower you get those costs the more points you get. The more customers you please, the more points you get. Your goal is to bat 1000 every day.” {16:01} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “The trick is to portion it correctly and run a food cost of 28%.” {17:12} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “Having all the things I had made it too easy and made me real cocky. That’s what causes problems sometimes in this business. You have to maintain you have to be humble.” {22:06} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “You can never take your eye off the ball in this business. Ever.” {22:20} – Jeff Nicoletta
  • “You have to work just as hard on the second restaurant as you did building your first one.” {37:02} – Jeff Nicoletta

Get in Touch:

Shawn P. Walchef –  @shawnpwalchef  on Twitter

Derek Marso – @marsoderek on Twitter

Cory Wagner – @iamcorywagner on Twitter

Bryan Abou Charca – @kinglordbryan

Behind The Smoke Media

Valley Farm Market – 9040 Campo Road, Spring Valley, CA 91977

Cali Comfort BBQ – 8910 Troy Street, Spring Valley, CA 91977

Honorable Mentions & BBQ Business Resources:

Behind The Smoke Media BBQ Business Resources

3rd Annual Turf & Surf BBQ Championship @DelMarRacing #BETonBBQ

9th Annual Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival #SVBBQFest

  • California’s Largest Annual Amatuer Tailgate & BBQ Competition
  • Date: Sunday, October 28, 2018
  • Request our Sponsorship Deck:

BBQ Pits & Grills we use at Cali Comfort BBQ & Valley Farm Market

Restaurant Operations Resources:

BBQ Business Resources:

Behind The Smoke: BBQ War Stories Logo Branding

Thank you to Jet West Band for our epic podcast intro jingle.

Contact Jet West for a custom podcast intro music today!

Jet West:

#GetInvolved & #StayCurious

About the author, Bryan Abou Chacra

Passionate about all aspects of media production with over 15 years experience.

Leave a Comment