Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q: Smoked for Hours, Served in Minutes



It all began with Willie Jewell Daniels, a sixteen-year-old girl who lived on the streets of Jacksonville with no means or family to support her. Fortunately, her days of despair were soon going to be over. The Adeeb family rescued Daniels from the harsh life on the streets and presented her with an opportunity to work at their legendary Green Turtle Restaurant. Daniels, with her superior culinary skills, feverish charm, and a remarkable sense of humor, soon became the soul of the business. For the way she handled the kitchen and never failed a single dish, she was highly respected and admired by those around her. Moving forward, she was offered to work at the Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q, a renowned casual dining-based BBQ restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Set up in 1949, it has a wide chain of 20 successful restaurants across the Southeast region and Colorado. While Bono’s was running successfully, the visionary minds of CEO Joe Adeeb and President Josh Martino spotted an opportunity in the fast-casual segment of BBQ joints as they were surprised to see there was hardly any competition in that market. They decided to name their newly found venture the Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q, as a legacy of their beloved friend who passed away in 1997.

"The goal is to create opportunities for others to succeed. We seek to continue building something great in many more communities."

Keeping it old school

Since its establishment in 2009, the Jacksonville, FL based Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q has been a torchbearer in the fast food and casual dining segment of BBQ. It leads by example and is well-known for its warm hospitality featuring a truly authentic BBQ experience. They specialize in the old school southern bar-b-q where all meats smoked on-site, with no exceptions. Their four Signature BBQ sauces and rubs glistening the juicy chunks of meat are sure to make anyone come back for more. The food is served hot, cut to order, and with hardly any wait time. And the menu? Oh! it just gets better. “Local, Family, Loyal, Legit, and Old School are a few words you can use to describe Willie Jewell’s,” says Josh. The recipes and culture are over 71 years old which brings forward forgotten traditions and taste. When you are at Willie Jewell’s, satisfaction is guaranteed. Currently, they are operating 15 locations across the US.

But how do they manage to stay ahead of the competition in a market which has always been cut-throat and continues to get more brutal every day? Willie Jewell’s takes market demands, consumer trends, and the technology beast by its horns. They keep their focus on adapting and innovating their services to match customer’s expectations while staying true to their roots. Online ordering, 3rd party delivery, a new point of sale capabilities, tablets for ordering through distribution, social media, and e-campaigns are some of their strategies to increase their outreach and bring in more customers. Since Willie Jewell’s wants to keep things simple yet effective, they have a set-up that doesn’t require any servers, hostesses, or busboys. This allows them to deliver a business with high-profit margins. Although, the key to their success is consistency and choosing the right franchise partners. Here’s how.

Building the American dream

Willie Jewell’s was started with the vision to offer quality southern BBQ by collaborating with entrepreneurs who had limited capital and wanted to enjoy a simple style of operations, low overhead, quick ROI, and recurring revenue. In the future, they intend to partner up with entrepreneurs in areas where commercial spaces are available at a minimal rent. Willie Jewell’s offers its franchisees the best chance to succeed and grow with them. It does not matter if the franchise is a big shot investor or already a success in his/her domain.  Willie Jewell’s looks for partners of good character. Strong morals, a solid work ethic, and some practical work experience are all seen as key facets to success. The franchisee should be hardworking and willing to go the extra mile for customer service excellence.

To support its franchisees, Willie Jewell’s offers a well-planned 4-week training program. This includes classroom and practical in-restaurant training. A highly skilled team of experts dedicatedly works with the franchisee to head-start their restaurant and help them progress and grow in the future. A group of selected site consultants helps them locate sites that are cost-effective and have the potential to attract large customer traffic. This is to ensure that their restaurant operates flawlessly and takes off with a flying start. They have a dedicated construction staff who provides site layouts and sample models for new construction. They work with the contractors to ensure that the look and the feel of the restaurant match the blueprint and the standards set by Willie Jewell’s. Once the restaurant opens, the owners will receive timely feedback and operational updates. This does not end here. A trained purchasing coordinator works with the network of appointed suppliers and vendors to ensure that the quality of food and its packaging meets the quality and safety standards set by Willie Jewell’s. The coordinator is also responsible for the sufficient supply and availability of the final product.

In terms of marketing, Willie Jewell’s understands the complexities and challenges of the restaurant market. And in this age of ruthless competition, effective marketing is as critical as delivering quality products, exceptional service, and a pleasant environment for the customers. The marketing team pays personal visits to the restaurant and discusses the local marketing strategies with the owners. Using their expertise, they help them develop LTO programs, make strategies to increase their social media outreach, and design special offers to attract more customers to their restaurants. And if that’s not enough, franchisees will also be entitled to receive further pieces of training, be a part of the market study meetings, managerial workshops, and annual business review meetings.

Josh summarises Willie Jewell’s enthusiasm to say,  “The goal is to create opportunities for others to succeed. We seek to continue building something great in many more communities.”

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