20 Mar It was a great deal. For 45 minutes.
Richard Boyles (Moe’s Original BBQ)
Richard Boyles knows a great bargain when he sees one. Which is why, in the summer of 2017, he jumped at the chance to buy a used Bushwacker machine from a local equipment dealer for his soon-to-open Montgomery location of Moe’s Original BBQ. “The price was less than half what a new unit costs, and I knew the guy who was selling it,” he recalls.
Hey, that doesn’t smell like hickory smoke.
“We took delivery, and hooked it up right in time for our very first day in business. Forty five minutes into the Grand Opening, it nearly caught fire. So we brought in Taylor Sales & Service’s local repair tech. He examined the machine inside and out, and told us he could fix it. For about as much as we paid for it in the first place.”
The perfect option for his finances
“That’s when I called James Palmer about buying a new unit.” Since Boyles and his partner Hill Lubin were just getting started, cash flow was a genuine concern. “What I didn’t realize until I talked to James was, Taylor offers a Lease Purchase option — which is exactly what we needed. Since then, I’ve referred two other Moe’s franchisees to James.”
Boyles took delivery of his new Bushwacker machine in September, 2017 — and is happy to report that it paid for itself in less than four months. “Some days, we’ll serve as many as 100 Bushwackers. And obviously, there’s no comparison between the new machine and the one we had before. We haven’t had a single minute of downtime, and cleaning it has been really easy, once we got the hang of it. Which wasn’t very long at all.”
Yes, we have no Bushwackers. Banana or otherwise.
Boyles will tell you his early days without a working machine were not all rosy. “The Bushwacker is something of a Moe’s signature drink. A lot of customers come to see us just for Bushwackers. I can’t tell you how many people would come in, ask for one, then turn right around and walk-out when they learned our machine was broken.”
Moe’s: What do they know about BBQ in Vail, Colorado?
If you don’t know the Moe’s story, that’s where it all started. “I was friends with the three guys who started Moe’s (Mike Fernandez, Ben Gilbert and Jeff Kennedy),” Boyles continues. “They were all UA grads who moved-out to Vail — looking for jobs, so they could all live the Ski Bum life.
“Before moving to Vail, Mike had owned a bar in Tuscaloosa. One of his friends introduced him to a local man named Moe who regularly cooked BBQ in his back yard, and occasionally Mike would bring it into the bar — where it was always well-received. Moe died several years later, but Mike never forgot the name — and somewhere along the line, he, Ben & Jeff decided to bring Alabama BBQ to Vail.
“So they started selling from a roadside stand. Pretty soon, they were selling-out of everything daily, so they decided to open their very first restaurant.” Located just feet away from Vail Mountain, Moe’s original location is something a local favorite year round.
The chain has been extraordinarily successful — with 59 locations from Maine to California, including 19 in Alabama alone. Moe’s menu features their award winning Bama-style pulled pork — along with wings, ribs, turkey & chicken plus catfish and shrimp. All served with Southern sides, tasty desserts, whisky and brews.
Which brings us back to Richard’s story
A 2001 graduate of the Birmingham School of Law, Boyles practiced law for nearly 15 years before he decided, once and for all, he wanted something something else in life. That’s when he called his old friends about becoming a Moe’s franchise owner.
“I really didn’t even look at any other business options. I liked what I saw in the Moe’s system, so I moved to Vail for my training. One thing I really like about the Moe’s organization is, it’s very relaxed. Of course, there are standards everyone has to meet in their restaurants, but beyond that, owners have freedom to put their own imprint on their locations.”
Since his early days with Moe’s, Boyles has helped several new Moe’s franchisees plan and open their restaurants. With his broad exposure to so many different locations, Boyles definitely knows what works. Chief among them? A new Bushwacker machine!