A little on me. I am a classically trained chef that fell in love with the idea of slow food. The idea of using the most flavorful, most difficult cuts of meats to turn them into a surreal meal is a gift.
I started chatting up with John Lynch on Twitter. We were discussing his plans to take over the world (starting a business) and he mentioned that he was working on getting funding through Kickstarter. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to learn more about the process from someone going through it. I made my donation and asked him for an interview. Here is what he had to say while we chatted up (via many emails and tweets).
FriendsEAT: Can you tell me (and those who know nothing about you and your project) a little bit about yourself?
John Lynch: I was an unemployed cable guy watching Food Network 8 years ago when an epiphany happened and I said, “HELL, I can do that” and I dove into the world of cooking. Through TV, reading and working my way through kitchens, I taught myself to cook. And the same came about for BBQ I got the bug and learned all I could from the great community of BBQ. Four years ago I came into the world of Slow Food, and the 100 mile menu. The 100 mile menu, you use only those products within a 100 mile radius from your kitchen, that way you cook in season and within the community.
When did you first hear of kick starter?
In the summer of 2010, on of our Twitter followers suggested it to us as a way to raise money to expand our business. This was before the food truck seed was planted in my single focused mind!
Why did you decide to try kickstarter?
The best part of Kickstarter is that it gives the chance for people all over the world to show their support and belief in their friends. Like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin it is a Social Media way of raising funds. It takes the power out of the hands of tradtional avenues of business and puts it back in the hands of the people who use the business.
How does the process work?
People “Pledge” their support to a project through Kickstarter and Amazon takes care of the money aspects of the pledge. You choose a project, pledge your support. Now the best part about Kickstarter is the people get “rewards” from the Project developers. As an example, with our project we offer sauce, gift packs, t-shirts, caterings etc. Now what makes Kickstarter TRULY different, is that when you set up a Project you set a goal for the amount you want to raise, and when you end the project, up to 90 days. IF you don’t reach your goal by the end, you get NONE of the pledges that have been pledged.
Was the process easy, is it pretty much just self serve or is there someone
there to give you a hand?
It is really quite easy to set it up. There is quite an extensive Q&A section and we have found that there are many people willing to help with suggestions and how to’s.
Do you feel you have gotten more publicity by going through kickstarter?
I think that it has caused us to be more Social. Which is hard to imagine with me!! If given the right circumstances, a person could use this as a platform to raise more attention and publicity to their business.
Had you tried to raise capital in other ways?
With the econonmy in the state that it is, we felt that the “traditional” ways of raising startup capital is almost non existant for anything NOT in the Tech world. With Kickstarter it gives you a chance to raise a good deal of money from a lot of people. BUT, if you think about it, Kickstarter is actually more traditional then the bank route. Every book tells you that you need to start with family and friends, which is what Kickstarter is about.
How did it feel when you reached the first thousand dollars?
We felt loved! It gave us the feeling that we were not alone in our dream.
What did you do outside of kickstarter to get more of a push towards your
We have done some catering with small business, and did some cross marketing with other small companies. This give us a chance to help others get some limelight as we do this drive. We have also put out press releases and some small radio shows locally. But the biggest key to success on Kickstarter is to go viral. You NEED to have people talking about your project. ReTweets, Blog posts, RePosts on Facebook. You will only be successful when strangers get on board with your project.
Would you recommend kickstarter to other restaurateurs?
I would only recommend it for people that are really willing to put forth the energy to spread the word. Unlike hitting up banks for money, you can’t put it up and then wait for an answer.
If there was one feature you would like kickstarter to add or remove, what
would that be?
I think if there was more analytics, it would be easier to focus your “attack” on your Social Media outlets.
What is your favorite kick starter feature?
The social aspects. You can link it with every platform you interact with.
How far along are you in the planning for the business?
We have been in business for our sauce company for about 2 years. The restaurant (now food truck) we have been planning for about 6 years. It has morphed as my cooking skills changed and my interests moved from the white china to comfort food.
You are pretty close to your goal, but say you did not make it…what is
your plan B?
Our plan B is to curl up and cry! HAHA! Just kidding, if we don’t make it we have gotten many of our supporters offer to paypal us their pledges. We are “Plan B” kind of people, we are always looking at alternatives to the norm!
Are you offering Kick Starter Rewards? If so, what are you offering?
We are offering rewards, We have Limited Edition Bottle sets. Our labels were redesigned by artist friends in their style. We offer regular sauce, dry rub, t-shirts and catering options.
If you were to summarize your Kickstarter experience what would it be?
By using Kickstarter as our “Venture Capitalists” we gather a community of people that believe in Cripple Creek Barbeque, John and Stacy, and what we believe in. We gain the independence to follow our hearts in our choices for the direction of our business. And we don’t have to listen to people whose only concern is the bottom dollar. Our conscience will direct us to where we need to go and how we will get there.
When did your passion for food begin?
About the time I figured out I could cook! Before I started cooking I would only make Mac-n-Cheese out of a box and grilling steaks. Then when I figured out that I didn’t have to follow a recipe to cook, I fell in love. The idea of making something that not only feeds someone but makes them smile just by eating it is an amazing thing.
What made you decide to actually go into cooking as a profession?
After figuring out I could cook, I started catering my wife’s office just to let me cook for people. I would offer them lunch at $5 a day and bring them a full meal including dessert. One day I made Chocolate Mousse and everyone loved it. One of the ladies said it was as good as any she had had in a restaurant. She said I needed to open a restaurant, I had been a dishwasher when I was 18 but that was the only restaurant experience I had. So, I got an apprenticeship job in a pretty good kitchen with a great Sous-Chef who taught me HOW to be a professional cook.
Why a food truck and not a brick and mortar restaurant?
What advice have people given you?
Mostly be myself. People like the way we do what we do, and we should stay true to ourselves.
What cooking tip would you give me?
Simpler is better! Not every plate needs 14 ingredients. If you can make a beautiful plate of food with 4 or less ingredients it is much more skillful.
How do you feel about Foodtertainment?
I think it has given a level of respect for what we do. Our industry is gaining more respectability as the food channels grow. BUT, it also has a down side, is so much as it brings a flood of kids going to culinary school hoping to be the next Iron Chef, watering down the talent pool.
Who is your favorite chef?
It is a tie. For absolute gorgeous food: Thomas Keller. For absolute kick ass cook: Michael Symon
Final question – we ask everyone who comes on to share a recipe – this is of
Oddly the recipe I choose has NOTHING to do with BBQ directly! It’s pizza. It is a food that I absolutely love, and if done properly will stand up to any other kinds of food!
BBQ Chicken Pizza.
2 C AP Flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T Honey
1 T Olive Oil
1 Package of yeast (2 1/4tsp)
1/2 Cup warm water (105*-115*)
2/3 C Cold water
Proof yeast in warm water with honey and oil. Add Flour and salt in mixing bowl. Add yeast mixture to flour incorporate then add cold water. Mix 15-20 min, check bakers window for gluten.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-15 hours. If using it the same day, leave on counter in room temp area for 2 hours to proof. Punch down and form into pizzas or 5 oz calzones.
If using the overnight cold fermentation process pull dough from fridge 2-3 hours prior to using it. Let it come to room temp before you form it.
Toss 2 skinless boneless Chicken breasts in spice rub of choice (we use CCB All Purpose) and olive oil.
Place in 350* oven for 12-15 min.
Let chicken cool and pull apart with two forks, and set aside.
Roll out pizza doughs and spread your favorite bbq sauce and spread pulled chicken, cover with favorite mixed cheese and onions.
Place in pre-heated 425* oven and cook till golden brown. sprinkle with a little olive oil and freshly chopped cilantro.
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Cripple Creek Barbeque