Chef Todd Richards: The Future Of Rolling Bones BBQ

Last week, I posted some thoughts on Rolling Bones BBQ.  Ultimately, I said that I found the new iteration of this downtown joint to be heavy on potential and thin on delivery.  In a bit of surprise, owner/chef Todd Richards himself showed up to share his thoughts on my post.

As I’m not sure people will be as likely to find his words in the comment section of the post, I thought I’d throw them up here.  So with that, take a gander at what Richards said this past Tuesday:

I have read all your comments and take them very well. I would like to explain some things and would hope everyone reads them.

We have been in the space for about three weeks and have done some great things and not so great things.

The great:
– All proteins are being either dry rubbed, marinated or brine before smoking.
– We have and still are changing materials over to green such as cups etc
– Sourcing meats from farms and/or used higher grade meat
– Providing different drinking items for guest
– Moved away from pre-fabbed foods and are preparing things in house
– Smoke meats everyday

Not so great:
– We didn’t close after purchase; should have closed and not worked through the changes
– Should have repaired smoker well in advanced of menu change (reason why we are closed for two days)
– Didn’t take in to account peoples resistance to change and their fury of change (I honestly never ever ever knew that Open Pit BBQ Sauce was so popular. I am not being funny or making fun of it. I am being very very serious! Really am trying to find a compromise with this one.)
– Didn’t take in to account the fury about waiting time for BBQ. ( I really don’t know of any fast food BBQ places. We try to do everything to order but it seems people really don’t care how… as much as when… I guess? That one I really wrestle with. Went to all the BBQ places in city and waiting times were 15-20 minutes.)

Overall I totally believe we are doing the right thing long term.
We feel the changes are necessary to widen the brand, be consistent in the companies brand and ensure profitability.

What I mean is:

July:
– Fix smoker and cooking times of meats
– Provide better customer service
– Provide consistent side orders
– Pair down menu to fit guest needs

August:
– Move to a greener product
– Upgrade facility
– Continue July program

September:
– Re-Launch entire brand (re-launch party)

Please feel free to contact me with other comments….

I thank you all for your comments and will share them with staff, partners etc.
We will look at all comments both positive and negative and continue our attempt to get this thing right.

We must definitely get this thing right! I assure you none of will rest until we feel it is right.

Thanks a million!!!!!

Todd Richards

Less than three days later, Richards dropped in to let us know that the smoker has been repaired, the potato salad has been adjusted, the BBQ sauce is now altered, and a few other changes are in the works.  Nice to see an owner show up and take ownership of the situation (unlike some others who have chimed in before).  Whether he agreed with me or not, Richards took everything in stride … so kudos there.

Richards dedication will certainly get me back in the door sooner than later, so stay tuned.

7 comments Write a comment

  1. Looking forward to the changes. Atlanta needs a top notch & consistent BBQ place. Beg him to make a carolina style vinegar sauce available as well 🙂

  2. Wow, that’s pretty impressive. I admire the guy’s accountability and honesty. I’ll add this back to my list of BBQ spots to hit this summer.

  3. Man, if the integrity of the food at Rolling Bones BBQ matches Todd’s as expressed in his post, then “Hot-Lanta” is in for a truly special experience. Nice post.

  4. Wow, what a great case of feedback-looping. Kudos to him and his initiative for mid- and long-term planning. I’ll check the place out cos I <3 BBQ.

  5. I have been following the blog about Rolling Bones BBQ. I have just returned from Americasmart in Atlanta at the Home furnishings and giourmet gifts show with my own line of bbq sauces called Grendeddy Daves BBQ Sauce. One of the few lines of sauces that are all natural, no preservatives and no corn syrup. We use 100% honey. I have a true eastern Carolina vinegar sauce that is as real as it gets. I grew up cooking whole hogs with this sauce in Wake Forest, NC. I would love to send some for you to try out. Maybe “Hawgwash” will be what you’ve been looking for in a vinegar sauce. Thanks.
    Scott Merritt

  6. Mad props to Todd for taking your criticism in stride and turning it into a positive by listening to his customers. Most restaurateurs don’t take their customers seriously as they think they know best. By the sound of Todd’s comments, Atlanta will have a winning ‘cue spot in the near future.

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