Industry News | August 20, 2009

Facebook and Snail Mail Make Good Bed Fellows

Although Facebook and Snail Mail seem unlikely bed fellows, the combination has proved interesting for North Carolina-based Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q.

Take Will Gibson, a native of Kinston. Now living in Seattle, Washington, Gibson found Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q on Facebook and signed up as a fan. Soon after, Gibson brought his fiancé, Scarlett, back home for a visit, and they feasted on Eastern-style bar-b-q the entire week.

After that, Scarlett was hooked, too. “When we sat down to plan our wedding, it was her idea to try and replicate as much of that food as we could for our reception dinner, with bar-b-q at the top of the list,” Gibson says.

Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q obliged via the US Postal Service by shipping 50 pounds of bar-b-q (Gibson admits it may be only 48 pounds by the time the big day arrived), which was vacuum-packed and stored in the freezer until the reception dinner.

Facebook was also the catalyst that brought a soldier a little taste of home. U.S. Navy operations specialist first class James Franks, a Smithfield native serving in Afghanistan, found Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q’s Facebook page as well.

“I posted to make a joke that if they wanted to attempt to send some barbecue to Afghanistan, I would gladly be their guinea pig.”

Barbecue wouldn’t make it, but two cases of hush puppy mix would—and did. “On Memorial Day we had a little over 100 people attend our cook-out,” Franks wrote. “Once the word got out about the hush puppies, I literally could not make them fast enough.”

In just six months of offering nationwide shipping, Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q has shipped barbecue to all fifty states. What started as an idea that would be implemented on an occasional basis is now a full-blown enterprise for Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q.

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