Steve White, founder and owner of Porkie's Original BBQ, announced that the restaurant has teamed with NEXT Franchise Systems, a franchise development company based in Orlando, Florida, to assist in the development and growth of the Porkie's franchise program.
Porkie's plans an aggressive, tiered growth strategy through franchising, aimed at expanding the Central Florida-based barbecue brand across the state of Florida.
White says he is excited about partnering with NEXT Franchise Systems and has enjoyed working with the NEXT team.
"I have been in the restaurant business for almost 40 years, and this is the first time I have ever done a franchise, and they are making it fairly simple for me," he says.
Dale Waite, managing partner at NEXT, says the company partners exclusively with small businesses that have shown success and are primed to become successful franchisors from the beginning.
"We looked at Porkie's BBQ and we saw a small business doing tremendous numbers; an operation that was streamlined and easy to duplicate; an owner who truly has a passion for what he's doing; and, of course, some of the best barbecue I've ever eaten," Waite says. "Porkie's Original BBQ has unlimited potential for growth, and we look forward to working with them to develop their franchise system and start selling franchises."
Once the Porkie's franchise system is in place, the company hopes to open four or five locations in the next year.
"We want to start out slow and we would like to have people that love barbecue," White says. "This will set us apart from any other barbecue franchise business.
"We would like to also have people that love the restaurant business," he adds. "It is a lot of work, although I have come up with a system that has worked for us very well. I would like to see a couple of restaurants open in the Central Florida area over the next year and make sure that they have all their systems in place and operating at Porkie's standards, and then look at opening maybe four or five in the next year."
Named the "Best BBQ in Central Florida," Porkie's Original BBQ celebrates its 10th year in business in 2013.
White says that creating high-quality barbecue is an art. "It's not just open up and put it on a grill," he says. "It is cut, trimmed, seasoned, and properly cooked with indirect heat, and you can only use wood to cook it.
"Every time we cook it is a challenge, and you just keep on trying to make it better each time," he adds. "It takes a lot of passion and a lot of time. To do barbecue good in a busy restaurant is very hard to do unless you cheat and use gas smokers. It works for some, but they don't have the passion we have at Porkie's."