Q-BBQ takes home the People’s Choice Award for the second year in a row at the area’s largest rib festival, Ribfest Chicago. The win comes on the heels of a sold-out pop-up restaurant at the iconic Willis Tower and the opening of their fourth and fifth locations in Northwest Indiana and Oak Park, Illinois, in less than six months. With both critical accolades, and “raving fans,” Q-BBQ has become the fastest growing barbecue concept in the fast-casual industry, a segment of the dining industry that continues to see unprecedented growth.
Q-BBQ opened seven years ago, as the first fast-casual barbecue restaurant in Chicagoland. Since then, Q-BBQ has grown to five locations, 200 employees, and $10 million in annual sales.
“We don’t sell barbecue; we sell reasons to come back,” says Michael LaPidus, Q-BBQ founder and owner, who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into customer service and training. “We have great food, but if we don’t have amazing client service, no one will bring their families to be a part of our family. We need to do this right.”
For LaPidus, doing it right meant spending a year traveling around the U.S. to every small barbecue stand he could find to perfect his authentic barbecue, including a 22-hour hickory smoked brisket, dry-rubbed Memphis chicken wings, 4-Cheese Mac-Q-Roni, and the award-winning, "always-smoked, never-broiled" ribs.