Cover Story: Multichannel Hospitality
You can call it barbecue, barbeque, BBQ or just plain ’cue. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, of course, calls it business. In particular, it’s a family business that started in 1957 when the Fiorella clan opened the first of its barbecue restaurants in Kansas City, Mo., called Smoke Stack Barbecue. In 1974, the eldest Fiorella son, Jack, added another branch to the family trade by opening his own operation, which he later distinguished by renaming it Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, introducing hickory wood to the grilling process and adding seafood to the more traditional pork, poultry and beef offerings.
Thirty-five years later, the Jack Stack Barbecue business has grown to include four Kansas City area restaurants with retail stores; a multimillion-dollar catering division and private dining service; and a thriving mail order business for barbecue meats, sauces and rubs, and logo apparel.
The secret recipe behind the brand’s success brings together a focus on the product and customer service to deliver a top-notch barbecue dining experience, whether the customer is in one of the restaurants or in the comfort of his own home. Product price points range from $54.95 for a ribs dinner package that serves two to three people to $359.95 for the Jack Stack’s Signature Feast that serves 20 to 24 people. In addition, customers can supplement their barbecue packages with add-on items, such as other meats, side dishes, desserts, sauces and rubs, and even a copy of the latest catalog.
“It’s actually a challenge to sell barbecue nationwide, because the preferred regional flavor profiles vary so widely,” explains Steve Trollinger, executive vice president of J. Schmid & Associates, a catalog and multichannel marketing services firm in Mission, Kan., that works with Jack Stack Barbecue. “It so happens that Jack Stack is, for all practical purposes, the definition of ‘Kansas City barbecue’ and benefits from the cachet associated with that positioning. The result is that Jack Stack can be very ‘niche’ with the product offering but appeal widely because it’s known as the representative brand for the genre. The company’s perfectly positioned to leverage the niche and still grow.”