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Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q Lays Plans to Go National—Virtually

(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 23, 2009 ) It's the world's oldest method of cooking, and the debates over the best way to cook it can get heated. Cookbooks specialize in the art of complementing it. There are entire competitions devoted to the very best sauces to cover it. There's even a national association dedicated to it. What are we talking about? Barbeque. BBQ. Bar-B-Q. However you spell it, you're bound to hear a hundred different opinions on the best way to cook it, sauce it, complement it and eat it. But one thing is certain—North Carolinians are very big fans of their barbecue. Make that Bar-B-Q. And its particular “sauce” isn't really a sauce at all.

Eastern style Bar-B-Q is slow cooked and bathed in vinegar, red pepper and salt. You won't find this in Texas or Memphis. So what happens if you find yourself in a cramped downtown Manhattan apartment or in the suburbs of Hollywood, California with a craving for that deliciously tangy Eastern Style Bar-B-Q? The answer to your hankering is available via the internet. The legendary , yet quaint, and highly favored Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q has figured out how to satisfy your hunger no matter where you reside.

Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q has been a household name for Eastern North Carolina style Bar-B-Q for 30 years. While Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q's traditional charm provides guests with a down-home dining experience, it is the fresh, quality fare that keeps them coming back. Besides the favorite Bar-B-Q, Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q is also known for its fried chicken, as well as other Southern meal essentials: potato salad, slaw, sweetened iced tea to wash it down, and banana pudding to finish things off.

Since opening the first restaurant in 1964, Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q has grown to thirty-three locations today. The company has an aggressive growth plan including expansion outside of North Carolina. Thanks to locations near major interstates, former North Carolina residents, and social media, Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q has a name for itself outside the N.C. borders. But how would the company continue to push the brand out of state without building restaurants?

That question was just what Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q Marketing Director, Richard Averitte, needed to spark some creative sales expansion ideas. “People had been requesting that we ship our Bar-B-Q for years. We decided to answer their request, which would allow us to expand a different way, without the need for building additional physical restaurants.” Thus, the Smithfield's internet Bar-B-Q distribution was born. “Our process has been refined, so folks can get the best Eastern North Carolina style Bar-B-Q available, just as fresh as the day it is made,” Averitte adds.

Freshness Can't Be Beat

Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q commitment to freshness is second to none. Each of the thirty-three stores prepares their own Bar-B-Q fresh every day. The electric ovens in each store are loaded with pork shoulders to cook overnight . Every morning that freshly cooked pork is hand pulled and mixed to make their famous Bar-B-Q. Add some coleslaw and hushpuppies, and you've got Eastern Style Bar-B-Q perfection!

For the reasons of freshness and authenticity, Chris Hill of Hollywood, California orders Smithfield's Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q online. He is one of their biggest fans and admittedly addicted to their Brunswick stew, also available on the website. His reasons for ordering from Smithfield's are many, but he especially likes the customer service. “Where else can you order online and get a hand written thank you note? You don't find that kind of courtesy here in California!” Of course, he adds, “The whole package comes vacuum sealed, chilled, and ready to eat. I promise you can't smell this stuff and not want to dig in immediately.”

Online Food Purchases on the Rise

Chris is not alone in his online specialty food pursuits. Since the inception of online shopping, studies have tracked the online consumer's habits, and specialty food purchases have grown dramatically. Based on the survey results by Gregory K. White and Barbara J. Manning, specialty food and drink buyers are “highly educated…[and] eighty-five percent are between the ages of 25 and 54.” These are savvy shoppers. Smithfield's online storefront caters to the Bar-B-Q fan who desires the highest quality, freshest taste available. The process Smithfield's uses to ensure these demands are met is rather simple, but is continuously being refined.*

How does it work?

If you place an order during the week, you will receive an order confirmation via email, and your order is sent into the “Bar-B- Queue .” All orders must be placed by Sunday at midnight. On Monday evening the required amount of pork to fulfill the orders is loaded into the ovens at the designated online-order provider store. On Tuesday the Bar-B-Q is hand pulled and mixed and subjected to a freeze blast to bring the product below 40 degrees. Each order is then separated into 2.5lb or 5 lb vacuum sealed packages and stored in a freezer. On Wednesday morning, your orders are shipped to you in insulated coolers with cold packs. You'll receive it within two days, still well-chilled and ready to enjoy.

In-House to Your House

Today's redesigned Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q restaurants offer a charming ambiance housed in a sleek brick and steel building with huge windows. As the locals stop in, the ceiling fans whir above the chatter of the community patrons. There's still a sink in each dining room, reminiscent of the first Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q restaurant. With all of that, it might be tough to beat the in-house dining experience, but it's nice to know their delicious Bar-B-Q can be delivered to your house. Visit to place your order today. Brew some sweet tea, take a bite, and chances are you'll feel like you're actually there. Enjoy!

By Lauren Reinhardt

* Data comes from research by Gregory K. White and Barbara J. Manning. Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 8 • Number 1 • 1998 • pp. 32–38 © MCB University Press • ISSN 1066 Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 8 · Number 1 · 1998 · pp. 32–38 © MCB University Press · ISSN 1066-2243

Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q
Richard Averitte
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