As business philosophies go, the approach at Pinkerton's Barbecue in Houston is direct and simple, the best kind.
“Do a little better today than you did yesterday,” Grant Pinkerton says. “And don’t make the same mistakes twice.”
That approach helped land Pinkerton on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list earlier this month, as well as get his place on Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 joints in the state earlier this year.
And it keeps the young pit master-entrepreneur focused on the future.
Pinkerton’s Barbecue generated $2 million in revenue its first nine months of operation. Going forward, Pinkerton said in a telephone interview, “we could probably double that.” We talked to Pinkerton the day after Thanksgiving, as he was getting his pits fired up for Saturday service.
Pinkerton said he’s always thinking of ways to become more efficient, and about the “smart utilization of time” in his restaurant.
He uses two meat cutters to help move customers through his lines faster. Pinkerton’s Barbecue once did 216 transactions in 90 minutes at lunch, he said. About eighty-five percent of the customers used credit cards, transactions that take more time to process.
He’s now trying to figure out how to make better use of down time at the restaurant — between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. — on weekday afternoons, maybe with more catering and pre-order business.
His place also has one of the best bars that we’ve encountered in a BBQ joint.
On the Posse’s visit to Pinkerton’s this past summer, we did a video interview with him about his operation, his approach to cooking, and his business philosophy. It was forgotten in the archives — our bad — until the Forbes news reminded us. Now, though, it may have even more relevance. Take a look.
“It’s rewarding for someone to pat you on the back for something other than the taste of your food,” Pinkerton said of the Forbes recognition.
Pinkerton’s Barbecue, 1504 Airline Dr, Houston, (713) 802-2000. Open Wed-Fri & Sun 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm.