Learning from Mistakes – Moe’s Original BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland

This past Saturday, we had our second band playing live music on the deck. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The days are still fluctuating, one day will be really busy, and the next day is not. Saturdays however, have been extremely busy and steady. Besides announcing the event through Facebook, posting it on the marque, and telling everyone that would sit long enough, I didn’t know how else to promote the event. I was crossing my fingers and counting on our Saturday crowd to show up and support the band. The band showed up, but a crowd did not. I instantly felt responsible for the lack of attendees. I knew I hadn’t done enough promoting and marketing to get the outcome we had hoped for. From the beginning I knew the purpose of an internship was to learn and grow, but I didn’t realize their would be so much trial and error along the way.

Rolling In The Hay from Birmingham, Al!

Rolling In The Hay from Birmingham, Al!

Since realizing I could and should have done more to promote the event, I now know what I will do in the future to get such events noticed by the public. The first being, contact the local radio station, whom we have good relations with already, to promote the event which both locals and tourists will hear. Secondly, make the chamber aware of our events so they can let both tourists and locals know where the fun and good food is at! I have defiantly noticed the power of word-of-mouth throughout our community.

A lot of Moe's leave chalk out so guest can write sweet messages such as this one for all to see!

A lot of Moe’s leave chalk out so guest can write sweet messages such as this one for all to see!

Getting my bearings will come sooner than later and I know I will not make the same mistakes twice!

Moe's is known for their delicious daily side specials!

Moe’s is known for their delicious daily side specials!


Being Prepared – Moe’s Original BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland

We all know being prepared is the overall goal in our daily school and work life, but sometimes it’s hard to fully accomplish. This coming week, the 16th annual Thunder Beach Bike Rally is beginning and I have very high hopes for an extremely busy week. We have been told  to buckle down and prepare to be engrossed with hungry bikers. We have been working with promoters and biking magazines to make sure Moe’s Original BBQ is both seen and heard! It is my responsibly to make sure the staff is prepared, the restaurant is in check, and proper orders are in place to make the week a success, hoping to avoid mayhem. I am looking forward to this next challenge, being that it is my first opportunity to fully implement everything I have been learning over the past few months. I not only want to prove to myself I can complete such a task, but I also want to make Moe’s, the owners, and the CSU Communication internship program proud as well. I am viewing the week long rally as if it were an event Moe’s was putting on themselves.

A busy day preparing for the week ahead!

A busy day preparing for the week ahead!

I know I’ve brought up several great reviews Moe’s has received over the course of our internships, but I can’t help but to share with you all this extremely rewarding review by USA TODAY!



We better prepare a lot of these award winning ribs for all our bikers next week!

We better prepare a lot of these award winning ribs for all our bikers next week!

Thankfully, we have again been named top 10 best barbecue chains in America!

Setting Us Apart – Moe’s Original BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland

Any good PR practitioner understands what sets their company apart from the rest. As easy as it has been to market and promote Moe’s Orginal BBQ Panama City Beach, I am now undergoing the process of setting us apart from the other 27 locations. Each store has their own character and flare. Each store also has their own preference, on which recipes they would like to make and sell. We’ve been able to pin point which recipes and specials we will make daily, based on feedback from the customers. My challenge this week is deciding how to promote and maximize these specials, to increase the bottom line for the business.

BBQ NACHOS! Served as one of our specials, daily! Yummy!

BBQ NACHOS! Served as one of our specials, daily! Yummy!

Another great way to increase the bottom line, is through product merchandise. I’m sure we’ve all gone to eat at a new restaurant and instinctively wanted to buy a t-shirt, souvenir kookie or cup. I want to focus on a few good products, which will raise the bottom line, while keeping the bottom line low.

My good friend, Ashton Pond. Ashton and I worked together at the Auburn, Al location, but has recently become a manager in Aurora, CO!

My good friend, Ashton Pond. Ashton and I worked together at the Auburn, Al location, but has recently become a manager in Aurora, CO!

Ultimately, I am beginning to embark the marketing side of PR, now that I’ve gotten a good grasp on what needs to be done to increase profit margins. I am looking forward to this new responsibility and all that there is to learn.

The Reality of Business – Moe’s Original BBQ- Elizabeth Strickland

Opening a business is by far one of the scariest things you could do. Knowing that so much is on the line keep so many people from following their dreams. Although I am not an owner of this restaurant, I’ve felt just as nervous and anxious as they have. As any business, some days are extremely busy and some days are dead. The dead can get you down and discouraged, if you let it. During one of our ‘dead’ lunches, we received a refreshing and motivating review in the Panama City Newspaper.



The owners: Will Casanova, Trace Armstrong, Ryan Helsley.

The reviews we’ve been receiving as well as daily support from the locals have kept my hopes high; even through the days where defeat was beginning to set in. Motivation is key in any business or trade. I have learned many valuable lessons through this process, but ultimately, know that everything doesn’t go as planned and hiccups are apart of any process.


One of the Moe’s food trucks in Denver, CO. So much personality!

The Beach Box, a restaurant review company will be by this Saturday, April 5,  to try us out for the first time. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it goes.

Good Things Happen to Those That Wait

The term, “good things happen to those that wait” has been oh so relevant within the past week. Last week, I was told that beginning in May, I would become the restaurants marketing and PR representative. Until this point, I have been given certain objectives and done my best to complete them and represent the company in the most positive manner. As you all know, I’ve been training the new hires, posting and tracking our social media pages, and whatever else I can do on a daily basis to help. This internship has allowed me to get my foot in the door and made this future position possible. As I’ve said in one of my recent post, there are so many things we can all continue to learn on a daily basis and I’m trilled to continue this learning  process, even after our internships are over.

I must learn to load the pit! Yum yum!

I must learn to load the pit! Yum yum!

Everyday that I’m at the restaurant, I learn something new that I can use in the future. Ultimately, it’s small things. Things that aren’t overly interesting or challenging. Original owner Mike Fernandez and pit master has instilled in us, what we do isn’t overly complicated or difficult, but a million small things that have to be done perfectly. I guess I’m just crossing my fingers that I can actually remember a million things! As usual, this week will bring new challenges and new understandings. Bring it on!


The quant and whimsical store in Daphne, AL. What a great atmosphere!

Feeling Relieved – Moe’s Original BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland


I can’t express to all of you how relieved I am to be where we are. We are officially at the point where some of the pressure has been lifted and working doubles is a thing of the past. We have a good staff and finally feel comfortable with the day to day flow of everything. Among the most rewarding is the feedback we are getting on the food, ultimately, we are all here for the food. The smoked BBQ and soulful sides are bringing in repeats, daily. I am able to implement things I’ve learned in each of my communication classes, daily. Not only have I heard great things about the food, but the customers who I’ve had a chance to speak with said they can tell I have (almost) an education and will make a great PR practitioner. When entering this major, I was confused, not knowing if I was heading in the right direction. These moments with the customers, here at Moe’s, makes me feel like I’m exactly where I should be, which is all owed to my education and this program at CSU.


A bit blurry, but you can tell, the line is out the door!

One of our customers, Phil Edwards, had become our biggest fan. He has said this on our Facebook page: “I’m telling you there is NOW FINALLY a great BBQ experience in Panama City Beach! Open just a short while but packed with happy, hungry customers that know good BBQ when they taste it! My wife and I went there today, again, and the food is absolutely, unbelievably fantastic! I’m just going to tell you I’ve sampled BBQ in several states over the years and, until now, I thought Memphis was the standard…. but not now… Evidently BBQ is actually a science and I’d like to tell the guys at Moe’s Original BBQ in Panama City Beach that they obviously have their PHD in the preparation of the finest BBQ in the southeast in my humble opinion!” We all know, the customers can become your biggest ambassadors, their opinion is the MOST important.




The Time Has Come – Moe’s BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland

Over the past two weeks, a lot has come together. We have opened up, and lines are out the door daily. Spring breakers are rolling in by the truck load, making the atmosphere very interesting. Locals have been returning, not once, but two and three times. Feedback from the locals is without a doubt, the most rewarding. Their business will keep us afloat through the slow winter months, and pleasing them is our main focus.


Ben Gilbert, original owner, business man, and pit master.

I have thoroughly enjoyed training the new hires. Each hire has brought something new to the table, teaching me something new as well. Implementing that they are all ambassadors of Moe’s Original BBQ has been the first and last thing they are told every shift. Explaining consistency for each customer and transaction is included.

My main goal for the next week is tackling social media, each and every day. We have all been so busy getting the doors open, I have not made as many post as I would like. We all know how much awareness can be made through social media, there is no excuse for me to not follow through with post a couple times a day. I am so pleased that the doors are open. Happy faces and full bellies are walking out the door, making this all worth while.


I must not forget, once again, we have been named one of the top ten BBQ joints in America. Check it out!


Crunch Time – Moe’s Original BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland


Due to the weather, the date has been pushed ahead a couple more days. As eager as we all are to open, these next two days will be extremely helpful in prepping us for the busy weekend ahead. I think back to the first month of being open at the store in Auburn, AL. Trying to get the doors open, we opened a few days before we were prepared. We thought we would have down time through the opening process, to fine tune and make further preparations. Boy, were we wrong. From open to close, there was a line out the door, for weeks after opening. This was such a learning lesson for myself and others who are planning to open their own business one day. Don’t open before your fully prepared. You raise the risk of the situation falling apart, leading to a bad experience for the customers. With that being said, we are waiting, it will pay off. The next two days, more cleaning, training, and cooking will be done. Friday, the new employees will catch a drift of Moe’s mission. Food will be prepared and delivered to surrounding condos and businesses. Each Moe’s across the country prides itself on involvement with the community, we want and will do the same. I look forward to my post next week, as  I share with you our progress and first few days of being open. What a long but rewarding process this has been. Until next time…

Eat well my friends!


BECOMING AN ASSET – Moe’s BBQ – Elizabeth Strickland


Although my days are long, and my commute to Columbus every week is tiring, I really enjoy my time in the class room. Each week brings a new topic of discussion. With each discussion, lightbulbs consistently are going off, making me eager to return the next week. This weeks lecture in my PR management class spoke of employee and consumer relations. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past week, thinking about my role in the restaurant. I not only want to be an asset, but I want to impact the employees and customers who enter the restaurant daily. I have always felt this way, but knew I could do more. I found 12 Most Marvelous Assets You Can Offer Your  Company extremely helpful in my quest to become a better intern and team member. Among the 12 assets listed, a few stuck out to me that we can all gain from during our intern experience. The first being, recognize you are always learning. As much as we all ‘know’ this, we as humans often forget there is something to learn in every situation, big to small. The second being, never say “I know.” Instead of telling my mentors, friends, and elders, “I know,” I will kindly say thank you, or just a simple, ok. Often, we don’t know as much as we think we do. Lastly, I want to become a better communicator, “A strong communicator”, as the article states. Taking time to listen and observe will most likely be more beneficial, rather than always rushing through conversations and situations.

ImageUltimately, were all here for the Que!

Rather than briefing you all on my responsibilities over the past week, which were the same as last, I thought I would share some of my research and thoughts. I can say, after months of preparations, Moe’s will be OPEN for business this coming week. As always, I must say how thrilled and thankful I am for being able to experience this journey.

Reference: http://12most.com/2012/04/18/marvelous-assets-to-offer-a-company/

Small Business Shout Out – Elizabeth Strickland


We are nine days away from the big day, opening day. Saturday, the twenty-second will be the soft opening. The following Monday, the doors will be open for good. So much needs to be done before hand. Further training, more decorating, and a thorough cleaning is in order.

Ultimately, everything boils down to this. As nerves are beginning to set in, I must remember we are among the thirtieth store (one in also currently being opened in Lake Tahoe, California.) With that being said, I know we are one of the most successful small businesses through this trying economy.

Again, staying organized and remaining focused will be the most important, to accomplish everything that needs to be done over the next nine days. I’ve watch this video several times recently. It reminds me of why I’m here, doing what I’m doing. Co-founder Mike Fernandez was chosen by HLN, discussing his success and passion for the business. Check it out!