For one Iowa restaurant and catering business, the recipe for success so far has included a side of government contracts.
B Fabulous BBQ in Slater has cooked up nearly $100,000 in business from public-sector clients over the last two years, said Deanna Faubus, who owns the company with her husband, Billy. “For a small joint like us, that’s a significant amount of sales.”
Catering meals for government-based organizations such as Camp Dodge in Johnston has provided welcome additional revenue as the company evolves. B Fabulous BBQ began as a catering business, then added a small deli within a Huxley grocery store that later became a restaurant. The enterprise moved to Slater at the end of 2016.
B Fabulous at first was a sideline business, using borrowed church kitchens to feed guests at weddings and other gatherings of Billy and Deanna’s friends and relatives. “Before we knew it, we were busy all the time,” Billy said.
In 2015, when the Huxley restaurant was still new, Deanna attended a CIRAS-sponsored vendor fair at Iowa State.
“Barbecue and catering is kind of seasonal, and so we were seeing this major slump in the winter,” she said. “We thought that government contracts would be an opportunity to have some more consistent catering throughout the year.”
CIRAS helped Deanna fill out forms and learn about bidding, said government contracting specialist Mary Zimmerman. Providing meals for government groups can be complicated, she said, because menus are very detailed, with portions specified exactly. “We tried to figure out every nuance so she wouldn’t miss something.”
“Government contracts can be very intimidating,” Deanna said. “There can be a lot of hoops. CIRAS has been able to just walk me right though that and show me that it’s not scary, and it’s not difficult.”