7156 NW 80th Street
Oklahoma City OK 73132
“Real Barbeque Is Back!” That’s Swadley’s slogan, but the truth is that it never left—not at this authentic gem of a restaurant. The 80 year-old family business was started by Grandfather Swadley, who sold his own smoked meats in his general store. Since that time, every new generation has remained loyal to his traditional preparation process.
According to Scott Schauer, Catering Director, ribs are the key to their business. â€˜What makes Swadley’s ribs a signature item is the fact that we use the highest quality rib. We buy only full-size spare ribs that are always fresh, not frozen. And we don’t cut corners during prepâ€”our ribs are always fully cooked in the smoker, so it’s a slower process, no steps skipped, no steaming or other prep outside of the smoker.â€™
Like many restaurants, Swadley’s saw some slow moments early in 2009, but Schauer is happy to say that at this point he feels as if â€˜the worst part is over.â€™ Schauer attributes their survival to consumers’ enduring attraction to comfort foods such as barbeque in stressful times. â€˜Barbecue has always offered good value for the priceâ€™, he says.
Takeout and drive-through account for about 40% of store salesâ€”so packaging is important.
All five restaurant locations are open for lunch and dinner, and each has a super popular drive-through window. With that kind of carryout volume, the packaging is critical to Swadley’s and a big contributor to its success.
â€˜Probably the big thing we look for is functionality in our packaging,â€™ Schauer says. â€˜With the way we package takeout items and with the number of different things we sell, we need packaging and paper goods that meet the demands of our special menu. For example, we use a sandwich package foil to help keep to-go sandwiches warm because customers want the quality of their takeout food to be as close as possible to what they get in the restaurant. It is so important to keep hot food hot and cold food coldâ€”we are constantly looking for better solutions. If we found something that performed better, we’d switch. U.S. FoodserviceÂ® is priced right for our business and the MonogramÂ® products are all very functional, on par with anything you can get anywhere on the market.â€™
To help weather the economic storm, Swadley’s focused on customer service, a few menu tweaks and family value packs.
Besides making sure customers receive first-class service, Swadley’s has added a couple of items to their menu to extend their reach. They introduced some very tasty burgers and wholesome, freshly breaded chicken items. This brought some valuable diversity to their barbeque-centric menu and many new customers.
One of the most popular takeout and drive-through items they feature is Swadley’s family pack dinner for four. It includes ribs, brisket, sides, barbeque sauce and Texas toast all for $39.99. It also comes with all the flatware, napkins and wipes one could possibly need. Schauer reports, â€˜It’s a really popular take out item. People like to grab it, take it home and say, Ã¢â‚¬ËœI cooked dinner’.â€™ It’s the perfect comfort-food-to-go meal solution.
It’s a comfort to know you can weather the economic storm.
In Swadley’s case that means sticking to a comfort food tradition while expanding your menu. It also means making sure you serve the customer, with what they want and in packaging that preserves the experience all the way home.