At E4 Leadership & Business Coaching, Jerry Howard equips business owners, executives, and their teams with the tools to fight for the highest possible good of those they lead.
He drives culture shifts by implementing a language of leadership that bridges the gap between decision-makers and where the rubber meets the road. Client interface, personal development and team health all suffer when there’s a leadership disconnect.
The technology is based on neurolinguistic science, using pictures and videos, digital platforms, and visual metrics to bring quantitative results to qualitative goals.
Jerry began his professional career soon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, by volunteering in the United States Marine Corps. While on active duty, he completed his bachelor’s degree and obtained an MBA from National University in San Diego, CA.
Afterward, he and his family returned to the Richmond, VA area. He has worked as an executive in hospital administration and is also the President and CEO of two boutique construction companies; which provide smart solutions for energy, light, and décor.
Today Jerry is the founder and senior leadership consultant at E4 Leadership & Business Coaching. He is a keynote speaker and is a featured author in multiple veteran’s journals published by the VA War Memorial, and a Christian anthology titled “From Light to Dark” published by EA Books. He volunteers with multiple veteran organizations and helps lead faith-based and nonprofit boards in the Richmond, VA community.
Jerry has been married for 20 years and has four beautiful children. He enjoys active sports such as snowboarding, mountain biking and boxing. To recharge, he finds no greater joy than spending time with family and learning to be a better disciple of Jesus.
Connect with Jerry on Facebook and LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About E4 Leadership & Business Coaching
- Biblical thinking into practice
- 5 key drivers for business
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Woodstock, Georgia. Welcome to women in business where we celebrate influential women making a difference in our community. Now here’s your host.
Lori Kennedy: [00:00:24] Hi, everyone, this is Lori Kennedy, and I’m your host today for women in business, powered by a Business RadioX Stone Payton, our producer is also in the studio with us today. And we’re grateful to have you tuned in with us today. We are interviewing two amazing women we have. Kara Frenkel with a moving target ATL and we have Kristi Choate with Chote Barbecue and we’re going to get to hear about them today and what motivates them and what got how they got started and all that kind of stuff. So Kara, why don’t you say hi to us and tell us a little about when you guys opened and what that look like?
Kara Frenkel : [00:01:07] Absolutely. I’m Kara Frankel. I’m the owner of Moving Target ATL, which is a mobile ax throwing business and company, and we opened our first unit in November of 2020. So dead in the heart of the COVID season, and we’re fortunate enough to have a really great year. And we opened our second unit with partners of ours in October of last year. So that’s we’ve got a good little bit over a year under our belt in the mobile business.
Lori Kennedy: [00:01:35] And so what areas do you serve
Kara Frenkel : [00:01:37] Right now, Georgia,
Lori Kennedy: [00:01:39] Anywhere in drive?
Kara Frenkel : [00:01:40] Well, yeah, we try to stay a little closer to home, but we do right now. We do go off more than we really wished we would. Yeah, that’s why the expansion is coming.
Lori Kennedy: [00:01:51] And so where is the you guys are in Woodstock, where we are? Ok, so where is the other unit going to be?
Kara Frenkel : [00:01:57] Actually, the second unit is also housed here in Woodstock. It wasn’t originally planned that way, but it was. The supply was the demand was needed for here. Ok, so the third unit that we’re looking for, southwest Georgia.
Lori Kennedy: [00:02:10] Ok. Awesome. Awesome. All right. Well, Kristi will tell us a little about you and what what all you do. I know you have your hands in lots of different things and how barbecue got started.
Kristi Choate: [00:02:22] Well, so I’m Kristi Choate. We along with my husband, Brian Owen Cho barbecue. We got started, well, little small beginnings. That’s why we always say don’t despise small beginnings. We started out with a kiosk restaurant in the back of Woodstock market, which is just off of Bells, Ferry and ninety two. So the reason for that is you had to have a commissary to have a food truck. So and that was our ultimate goal is to have a food truck that was back in twenty sixteen twenty seventeen is when we got our start with our food truck and it’s just grown since the last five years. And also during the pandemic, we had the blessed opportunity of opening a restaurant in Ballgown Georgia. So in the end of July of 2021, we opened our restaurant in Bell Ground.
Lori Kennedy: [00:03:18] That’s awesome. And how did like you also do other things, don’t you?
Kristi Choate: [00:03:23] I do. I do a lot.
Lori Kennedy: [00:03:24] Yeah, you, you work, what, a couple of days a week, as well as trying to come up with all the recipes and yes, help everybody get to figure out how to get the food out of the kitchen and that sort of thing. Absolutely.
Kristi Choate: [00:03:38] So in addition to Cho Barbecue, I am an administrator at our church. I’ve done that for the last. It’ll be 10 years in October. So I’ve done that. In addition to Cho Barbecue, in addition to being a mom and wife and all the things you just learn to balance it all. So we actually have a great team that’s in our in our kitchen now who you know, it’s it’s a it’s a baby for you. So you’ve had so much control over your recipes and how things are done and your processes and being able to find those people to come into your into your family. And that’s why we like to say at show barbecue, we’re a family, so they come into our family and then you have to teach them like you teach, you know, you’re just different things to your children when growing up. Not that their children. These are bright individuals who have definitely added to our lives and added to our business. But here you’re handing their your baby that you’ve had for the last five years over to other people. And you know, it takes a lot of trust in those people.
Lori Kennedy: [00:04:37] Yeah, I think that’s a really good analogy, too, because it’s also and Carrie, you’re going through the same thing as you guys grow. You know, you also have to just like with children, you do a whole lot more for them when they’re an infant than you do when they’re 15. So or it looks different. So you also have to kind of take your hands off a little bit and let them go and have trust that they’re not going to.
Kara Frenkel : [00:05:02] And that’s hard,
Lori Kennedy: [00:05:03] You know, add salt instead of sugar to your sweet teeth.
Kristi Choate: [00:05:07] When you have a personality like me who you know you like things done right and it’s easier to do it yourself rather than trusting people to do it. It’s hard. It’s harder to to hand that off to people because I mean, there’s always going to be tweaking here and there, you know, to get them back on track with how you want things done right. But they’re doing a great job.
Lori Kennedy: [00:05:28] For sure. Well, Kyra, let me start with you in. I gave you guys a list of questions and I don’t know that we’ll get to all of them, and I kind of just want us to go wherever our conversation takes us. But we will. We have at least a guideline that we know we can start with, but tell me what motivates or inspires you.
Kara Frenkel : [00:05:48] I would say motivation for me has to come from within. It’s easy to say, Oh, my family motivates me or I do it for them, but you really have to be internalize that. I think so. From that, I would say resilience and action, and I know that those two have to go hand in hand and always have in my life. And my dad was a very wise man, and he once taught us at a very early age that you don’t get to pick the cards you’re dealt. So since you don’t get to pick up and play the hell out of the ones that you that you can’t that you have. So with that, you really a lot of when something is challenging that comes your way. It’s truly that ability to say, You know what, I can’t be a victim of circumstance. This is what’s facing me now and how do I get past it? And by doing that, that’s really what motivates me is like, you don’t have a lot of downtime to be able to wallow in the misery. You have to be able to take action and get past it and push yourself past it. And that’s that’s where our business was actually formed. By losing a job to COVID and being able to within four weeks, we already had a business plan in place, and within three months we were fully in business from the ground up. So it’s just truly being able to say, you know what? This was really difficult, but we got to go somewhere else and having a good support system behind you, pushing you like my husband does is is what got us there that fast?
Lori Kennedy: [00:07:02] Yeah. Well, I know you talk about resilience and I do know some of your personal story and you know, only sure what you feel comfortable with. But how does how do some of the things that you’ve had to have resilience with affect? How did those affect you now?
Kara Frenkel : [00:07:22] Obviously, my chronic health issue was the biggest part of the overcoming through the past 15 years or so and knowing that I was living more when I was possibly facing my last days and knowing that I couldn’t get couldn’t get caught up in that. And I had to say, You know what? There’s more for me here, and God had a hand in that and said, Yeah, there is more for you here. And being able to step past that and being able to say, You know what? It’s not fair, but life’s not fair. So it’s time to time to keep going and keep living.
Lori Kennedy: [00:07:51] Yeah, it gives me chills. Thank you for sharing that. I’m Christy. What motivates or inspires you?
Kristi Choate: [00:07:57] That’s a great question. And like what Kara said about internal motivation for me, there’s various things that motivate me, not just internally, but externally. For me, a lot of my motivation comes externally, a lot of stressors, things that just have to be done. So you wouldn’t necessarily think of that as motivation, but you know, you have things that have to get done on a daily basis with the restaurant. Things are it’s predictable. There’s things that have to be done every day. But in terms of inspiration, I find my inspiration from all different types of places people inspire me. Stories inspired me, you know, just a beautiful day sometimes inspires me just seeing what God has has made out in the world, you know, and competition inspires me. So competition is a big thing. I never liked losing. I don’t like losing. So, you know, wanting to win, wanting to to put out there the best product you can and actually negative comments inspire me, whether it makes me irritated in the moment. But I take that. I take that as constructive criticism and move on with it.
Lori Kennedy: [00:09:10] Yeah. Wow, OK. And how does who you are as a person reflect in what you do?
Kristi Choate: [00:09:19] Well, I think a lot of times
Lori Kennedy: [00:09:23] I think the word that comes to my mind is excellence like right off the top of my head. But so as you if you get caught up in that, like if you get caught in, how does that how does that actually, you know, implement itself in my life? I see that in everything you do.
Kristi Choate: [00:09:38] I think being a more for me, I’m more critical on myself than I’m on other people. So one, I don’t a lot of times see what I’m excellent at because I tend to. It’s easier to find the faults than it is the good things sometimes. But it takes people who you have in your life to be able to speak into you. Sometimes that’s what you need. You need people in your life that are speaking those things about you that you might not even see in yourself. So excellence. Like I said before, I’m I’m a recovering perfectionist in that, you know, at some point with a restaurant, you have to hand things off. So and it still creeps in. But again, I don’t think necessarily perfectionism is a bad thing because you always want something to be better.
Lori Kennedy: [00:10:31] Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, I know we’ve talked about Instagram before and I’m a one which is a perfectionist in its title, but really, I think they’ve changed it to an improver as they should have. And I just like to always improve things. And so I see that that trait in you as well, like, you know, and you’ve even talked about it just here right now. You analyze something and then try to figure out how to how to make it better, whether that’s, you know, a recipe or handing something off to someone or that sort of thing.
Kristi Choate: [00:11:03] I think also what Carrie was saying is you take those trials that you have in your life and they can either make you bitter or better. So and we can always wallow in bitterness for a while, but it’s not a healthy place to stay. So I mean, we all have we all have stories. And whether we frame those stories as something for our good or something, that’s always going to be a struggle for us. We just need to reframe those in our mind.
Lori Kennedy: [00:11:32] So, yeah, for sure. So what makes your life significant, Kara? And how does that affect and feed into your work?
Kara Frenkel : [00:11:43] Significance for me, I think is more is just simply connection, connection and relationship, and it’s everything that we do. It’s what empowers me as from from families or friends or anything else can be very situational situationally. Oh, that was hard, situationally connective. But it’s really finding the value in those bonds of people that make you be better or want to show up and be the best that you can be. And what we do, everything that we do is truly a connection from the moment that a customer calls us. The cool thing we get to do is we usually come into their personal lives or whatever, wherever that might be. Be it work, be it church, be it their home or celebration, and they become our family. So it’s taking that transactional status out of of of a business model and being able to make it much more relational and much more personal. And that’s that’s what we pride ourselves in. We don’t want you to feel like you hired us. We want to feel like you like us.
Lori Kennedy: [00:12:41] Well, and you think of all the details like, I remember I went to an event and you had crocs in every size. So why do you have Crocs in every
Kara Frenkel : [00:12:51] Size insurance guidelines, close toed shoes in Georgia, you’re going to have people that wear flip flops twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year. So we have to be prepared. And I think that’s the big thing that we’ve come across is we want to over exceed your expectations, but we also want to be able to provide the things that you don’t expect. And if there’s anything that I’ve ever wanted, if if I was the customer, we want to add that, be it a purse hook. Simple as that sounds, that’s a big deal. A coat hook, a drink holder. Some of the things that you add just because it’s something that you would want or that would be an irritation if it wasn’t there. So it’s just adding the extra special touches and the attention to detail.
Lori Kennedy: [00:13:29] When you do an event like what are the what is the normal time limit if somebody hires you for something, what does that typically look like?
Kara Frenkel : [00:13:37] There’s not really a typical our base rate. Our base time is two hours, so that’s going to be the shortest event that we do. But it’s based a lot out of what your what your event looks like if you have other entertainment or if we are the focus of that entertainment, if people are coming all at once or if they’re going to be straggling in or if you have 100 people or if you have one hundred and fifty people, or if you have 30 people. So it kind of faces off of what you’ve got going on and what your what’s your headcount looks like?
Lori Kennedy: [00:14:04] Ok, got it. All right, Christy, let’s ask you that question. What makes your life significant and how does that feed into or affect your work?
Kristi Choate: [00:14:15] Well, it makes my life significant. Would be. I find my significance from my relationship with God. I know that not everybody is religious or has those views, but that’s where I get most of my significance from. I’m not here as an accident. I’m here with a purpose. I was designed for a purpose. I’m here for this exact time and this exact reason. So a lot of my significance comes from my relationship with with my mouth, my god. So, you know, and I think every life has significance, obviously. But I I haven’t found that most profoundly until I had a special needs daughter like you really don’t have unless it comes into your life and you have a personal relationship with it. Whether it be an issue, a health issue like cancer or whatever, or you have a child with a special need or you have an elderly parents, at some point we’re all going to have elderly parents that were caring for it really doesn’t have significance for you. So it’s just those different things that come into your life, whether you’re going to see it as significant and help you grow and be better, or whether you’re going to use it as something to point to as a crutch and, you know, just wallow in it. So I found through my daughter that I have found a lot of joy, like she doesn’t have the nickname Hannah Joy for no reason.
Lori Kennedy: [00:15:46] But yeah, so yes, she’s always smiling and always has lots of hugs available
Kristi Choate: [00:15:52] That she does.
Lori Kennedy: [00:15:54] Well, one of the things that Brian, your husband said to me recently was that you guys are considering your business and ministry and that the people who work for you, you know you want to make positive impacts in their life. What are some ways that you’re that you see that played out?
Kristi Choate: [00:16:13] Well, we’re interested in their stories. They’re not just somebody who comes to work who, you know, they just come in, get the job done. We don’t care about them, necessarily, and they just go home. A lot of times it’s easy to see yourself as a number or machinery, as my pastor calls it. But they’re not just machinery. They are people who have stories and who have hurts, who have, you know, different things in their life that are struggles for them. So I want to know what they’re going through and who they are as people. And my husband says that he was brought into this restaurant business for Grace. You know, he grace is something that we extend, but we also receive. So we also want to extend that grace to people that we work with. And like I said before that, everybody that comes into our business, we’re accepting them into our family. So we want to see them as family and with family comes struggles sometimes, and you just have to work through that.
Lori Kennedy: [00:17:16] Yeah, yeah, for sure. How do you use your influence in the community, Christi?
Kristi Choate: [00:17:25] Whether we think we have influence or not, we do so a lot of times I don’t think I have influence because I’m an introvert, so I like to sit back, observe. I don’t like to be in the spotlight. That’s why my husband is the extrovert and he can talk to anybody. But whether we like it or not, we have influence how I’m using that in the community. I mean, I to be honest, I don’t know.
Lori Kennedy: [00:17:53] Well, you teach a Bible study well or you facilitate a Bible study and you’re very consistent with that and you are very purposeful and driven with that.
Kristi Choate: [00:18:05] Yes. So that goes into my consistency and my perfectionism. I do have a Bible study. I do go to to my part time job. I’m consistent in that. I do go to my restaurant and I’m consistent in that, and I think people can see consistency as an influence.
Lori Kennedy: [00:18:27] It’s definitely something that you can depend on, right? Like, yeah, I would much rather have friends that I know how they’re going to react to something as opposed to somebody who’s going to blow up if I’m one minute late or whatever, you know, because I’ve never been late.
Kristi Choate: [00:18:45] Right?
Lori Kennedy: [00:18:46] Never, never, never, never. Well, Kara, how do you use your influence in the community?
Kara Frenkel : [00:18:52] We’ve actually started a of not a foundation. We’ve started a format of fundraising that we call acts of service, and that allows us to being mobile. We can give back to quite a few different communities, not just the local community that we’re plugged into. And that’s been really great because it allows us to add a level of unique entertainment while people are giving back for either an organization, a cause or a nonprofit. And that’s something that we partner with a lot. We like to do that monthly, if not bi monthly, and sometimes it’s notified that, you know, notice that we are a big sponsor of something like that, and sometimes the best giving is when people don’t know that you’re involved.
Lori Kennedy: [00:19:30] Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. You also have this ministry at your house that’s like the hot tub ministry.
Kara Frenkel : [00:19:36] We do.
Lori Kennedy: [00:19:37] We do for girls only. I like that one,
Kara Frenkel : [00:19:42] Our networking moment that we have there once a month.
Lori Kennedy: [00:19:46] Well, Chrissy, I actually thought about something as we were having this conversation. You know what? I’m going to say, Tony.
Kristi Choate: [00:19:53] Maybe I’m not sure.
Lori Kennedy: [00:19:55] Go ahead. Banana pudding? Yes. Tell us about your banana.
Kristi Choate: [00:19:59] So special needs. My daughter has been involved in Special Olympics since she was in fifth grade. That’s how old you have to be or what grade you have to be in to get involved with Special Olympics. So she has done bowling, she’s done swimming, she’s done horseback riding and her greatest love is horses. So but she actually had an accident about a year ago where she fell off a horse and broke her arm. But that’s a side story. A joy. It’s and she’s always had the nickname Hannah Banana. And at a barbecue restaurant, you do have banana pudding. So we renamed the pudding to hand a banana pudding and every for every hand and banana pudding that sold a dollar gets donated to a Special Olympics Georgia and to beets, which is Bethany’s equine and aquatic therapy they’re out of. I believe the address is Woodstock, but it’s pretty, pretty far up there in between Milton and Canton area. Ok, but that’s the barns that she’s written at since fifth grade.
Lori Kennedy: [00:21:05] Yeah, that’s awesome. So how do you handle mistakes in your business and give me an example? I know it feels like an interview, doesn’t it? That’s an interview question.
Kristi Choate: [00:21:16] I mean, food’s pretty predictable. A mistake in in a restaurant would be something not cooked right. Something’s overdone. Something’s not put together correctly. They don’t like it. It’s always trying to please the customer. You’re going to do things wrong. I mean, that’s just that’s just how it’s going to be. There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like something. Some things are personal preference, but you know, we always want to make it right for the customer. We always said, we’ll give them a refund. We’ll give them a free meal, give them a coupon and come back later. It’s the only issue with handling mistakes. Is not handling them. Yeah, ignoring them. Then your customer isn’t feeling valued and ignored, and that’s never a good thing.
Lori Kennedy: [00:22:00] I guess we have the we just we went on vacation together, y’all, so we just spent a whole week together. And you know, things happen with your business when you’re not there. And so I saw that, you know, your husband dealt with a customer that was not happy. And he didn’t even ask, Was he right or wrong? He didn’t care. He just said. I don’t make him happy. It doesn’t really matter what happened, right, you know,
Kristi Choate: [00:22:29] Because in the end, you always want a customer who’s satisfied or not just satisfied who has had a great experience.
Lori Kennedy: [00:22:36] Yeah. And in the same token, he did ask because he wanted to know if there were things that he needed to do different going forward. But he was like, Make them happy. I don’t care what happened, and then let’s figure out what happened and see if we need to make changes, you know? Absolutely. Yeah. What about you care? How do you handle mistakes in your business and give me an example?
Kara Frenkel : [00:22:56] Well, obviously when you are a one or a two man show, you wear a lot of hats and you have a lot of plates spinning in the air and it’s just, we’re human. It’s going to happen where one of those drop. Unfortunately, like you said, I’m my worst critic, so I can’t get past it very easily. So the biggest thing I think is just swiftly handling the situation and being very humble and using 100 percent candor and just being flat out honest. It was exactly what happened, why it happened and then how you can rectify it. I think also it’s I like to come to the customer with these are some options that I think we can, how we can handle the situation, but also ask for input. What do they what will they be satisfied with if this mistake happened? And then it’s just learning through that and knowing that you put the proper things in place, so it doesn’t happen again. The example that I probably, as I say, you have to give yourself a little bit of grace. I don’t usually do it, and I’m still probably worried about this one. But early on, I gave a lot of credit to Google Calendar and being able to do all my scheduling through that. And the mistake happened when I realized that I double booked when we had one unit. I double booked a event on the same day at the exact same time in different cities.
Kara Frenkel : [00:24:11] So that wasn’t going to be an easy one to rectify. But I had to just put that aside and say, OK, let me go to these people on a very personal note. Let them know I made a mistake and take full responsibility for it. I think that’s the other part is how would I want this handled if it was me? Unfortunately, both events couldn’t be rescheduled or changed from the date. But being able to work through it and letting them know I made a mistake and being able to right that wrong in the customer’s behalf. So if it was doing their event at a slightly earlier time, just to be able to make both happen, even if it came down to, I reached out to a competitor to be able to say, Would you be available on this? I messed up. Would you be available? And if that was the right route I needed to go, we would be happy to do that to make sure that the customer was satisfied. On the other end, but it was just being able to also say, Well, you know what we could do, we could do it at this time. And I say, if you would do that for us, we’ll we’re going to comp your event and they’re more than happy just to know that they can still feel really good about the outcome, and they were able to help us out in a really sticky situation.
Lori Kennedy: [00:25:14] Yeah, for sure. Well, so I know we’ve talked a couple of times before and I’ve heard you say things about like what makes what you do different than your competitors.
Kara Frenkel : [00:25:28] Anybody that’s making people have a great time is doing a great thing. So I’ll start with that. Yeah, a little bit about what we do differently is the attention to detail and being able to start with a really good quality product at the point where I lost my job and we were going to start a business. It seemed like, OK, how are we going to do this? Where where are these funds coming from? And to do it, I could understand how somebody would want to go into it as inexpensively as possible just to be able to start the business and then grow with it as you do. We took the absolute opposite approach and said, if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right and it’s going to be recognized that there is a difference. And we hear a lot. Even when I talked to our insurance company, they say usually every Monday morning we get somebody that wants to quit their job and put this on wheels and start mobile ax throwing. And they say we can’t even insure them because they don’t even know how they’re going to build it, let alone have a drawing or any type of a business plan. And that’s one thing having the industry knowledge behind me and going into my fifth year of being in the industry and in the sport, we already knew what that looked like. We knew what, how we needed to make it right and make it different, make it safe. And that was our biggest thing is putting the safety first. Making decisions that weren’t all about the money, but it was about the safety and the experience. And by doing that, we keep everything on the unit versus extra targets off of the unit or roaming axes where it’s not going to be safe. So it’s just a quality product, a quality experience and having that wow factor when we pull up all the way to the very end and the follow up.
Lori Kennedy: [00:26:57] Ok, awesome. Same question for you, Christy. What makes barbecue, not just your everyday barbecue? What is special about y’all
Kristi Choate: [00:27:07] In contrast to care? We did start out small. We started out with a little offset smoker in our driveway, which you know, would draw the neighbors. What are you cooking? And he, my husband, Brian, he. I’d like to say invested in a lot of meat before he got it right. So he does a lot of things wrong before he got it right. But we’ve always gone into it is our motto is sauce optional, simply great barbecue. So we want our product to have flavor outside of the sauces, which we already make. We make as well. Before you put it on the product, but it’s always that attention to if it’s right, if it’s cooked right, if it’s if it’s how it should be, if it’s it moist, is it dried out? Is it too dark? Is it too light? So it’s always been doing it right the first time? I mean, you’re going to get like I said, you’re going to ruin it. Ruin a lot. Spend a lot of money. Before you get it right,
Lori Kennedy: [00:28:13] Yeah, one of my first memories of Brian was when he entered barbecue into a church cook off and one for the very it was his very first time doing something like that. And I remember how scared he was and he was like, But I won. I won. Yes, that was fun.
Kristi Choate: [00:28:28] So he he figured it out quickly that he would rather sell barbecue at a barbecue competition than to pay somebody to tell him that his barbecue is good.
Lori Kennedy: [00:28:36] So he makes sense appropriate.
Kristi Choate: [00:28:39] He’s always done the meat side of the business, the the brisket, the ribs, chicken, and I’ve always done the sides. I’ve always had a affinity for cooking that probably comes from my aunt, you know, going to visit her. She was a great cook, but yeah, so we’re complementary in that. But yeah,
Lori Kennedy: [00:28:58] What are the other parts of the business that you do versus him? I’m always curious, and I’m going to ask you the same question here because I’m always curious how husband and wife figure out who’s supposed to do what without, you know, killing each other.
Kristi Choate: [00:29:13] Yes, that’s a very great question. So him being the extrovert and me being the introvert, he’s greater. He’s better with people than I am. I would much rather get my get my head to the grind and do work versus having to manage people. And I’ve told him that I will do whatever, but I’m not managing people. That is not my strength. That’s not what I like to do. I like to do work. So I mean, I’ve been on the food truck, I’ve made sides, I’ve been up late, I’m going up. I’ve been up early, I’ve done it all. But also, I also have an administrative background, so I like numbers. I like putting my hands to whatever is the back end of the restaurant to make it run because there’s a lot, a lot in the back end that goes into it.
Lori Kennedy: [00:30:03] Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked about things like, what company do you use for payroll and what, you know, how did you get a PPP loan and all these kind of things? So I know you do a lot of the admin paperwork accounting that kind of stuff.
Kristi Choate: [00:30:16] Yeah, a lot of inquiries from catering. Yeah, I just do it. Do it all on on the administrative side of things. So yes. But Brian is the day to day operations of the restaurant. He worked for a Fortune 500 company for 23 years, and in June, he quit his long time job during a pandemic and went full time into restaurant,
Lori Kennedy: [00:30:44] Took the plunge,
Kristi Choate: [00:30:45] Took the plunge. At some point in your business, you’re going to have to do that, whether you’re forced to or you doing it willingly, it was the next step to where we wanted to be with our business.
Lori Kennedy: [00:30:57] Yeah, it’s very courageous. It’s a very courageous step. It’s a very scary place to be. But yes, you’re right, in order to take that business to that next level, you have to be willing to put your all into it. Yeah, for sure. What about you care? How do you and your husband divide your your business?
Kara Frenkel : [00:31:15] Well, my husband hasn’t taken the plunge, so he still has a normal job or what he calls a real job, which you know, now we laugh at that because now he has two real jobs. But if you asked him, he’d say, I’m the brains. He’s the brawn. I would say way more than that. We both are extroverts. We both have no problem talking to customers and it kind of works for what we do. I get the customers from the time that they’re trying to get a quote all the way through the process. All of the back end again, those a lot of spinning plates, for sure. And he gets our unit safely to wherever we go and does one hundred percent of the maintenance he’s he did ninety nine percent of the build out of both units himself other than the welding, and he’s the MacGyver that can make any. He can prepare ahead for what he can think could possibly go wrong. But he is in the moment the person that can go. No matter what happens, I can fix it. And we’ve actually seen that happen when our winch broke right at the beginning of an event in my head. It’s like, Oh, this one’s canceled, he said. No way, you know, he went to Home Depot, he fixed it. They never even knew anything was wrong. But he also has the personality to be able to be the lead expert and be up on the trailer and having people have a great time with him. So he’s kind of the anomaly that is hard to be able to get, which is why being able to find the the right people to be our operators are very difficult because you usually don’t have the person that has that skill and that those traits as well as the personality and you kind of have to have both.
Lori Kennedy: [00:32:43] Yeah, yeah. What is the greatest challenge that you’re facing right now as a business or industry?
Kara Frenkel : [00:32:49] Oh, goodness, I would have to say I’m going to go from the mobile aspect because ax throwing is it’s not going anywhere. It’s a worldwide sport. It’s an ESPN sport. But the mobile side is newer, so that’s only been around for a couple of years. And so a lot of trial and error to be able to make sure that regulations are are are completed and correct. But the biggest thing would be. Somebody getting into the business. So new without doing the proper research in the industry knowledge and knowing what those regulations are and how to be able to be safe at what you’re doing and what you’re building, not just jumping straight in because we’re trying to keep the integrity of mobile apps growing at a level that we we operate at and that we want to be able to sustain. And if you get somebody that’s not going to do it very safely and you get one bad rap, then it’s going to hurt the whole industry. So it’s just trying to make sure that we can mentor and help people along the way to be able to make the decisions and be knowledgeable before they actually jump in.
Lori Kennedy: [00:33:49] Who knew about ax throwing before you did this and how did you bring that knowledge to the. Do you know, how did you do it before?
Kara Frenkel : [00:33:58] Yes, I was actually. I was in brick and mortar entertainment for four years or almost four years before COVID, so I ran brick and mortar different entertainments, but ax throwing was one of those across the country.
Lori Kennedy: [00:34:11] Ok, yeah, I think you’ve probably told me that. But you know, I had not remembered that. I think that ax throwing combining that at an event with alcohol would be an interesting endeavor to make sure everybody stays safe all the time, for sure. Which way do I throw this thing again?
Kara Frenkel : [00:34:28] We’ve been very fortunate again. We that’s our number one thing is the safety, so we’ve been very fortunate to make good decisions that keep people safe.
Lori Kennedy: [00:34:36] Yeah, that’s awesome. Christy, what are the greatest challenges that barbecue is now facing as a business or industry?
Kristi Choate: [00:34:44] Can we say pandemic? So all across the board, whether it’s labor commodity cost, it’s all a challenge. Yeah, something was. So let’s just take fryer oil, for example. What it was 13 dollars, 14 dollars a couple of years ago is now $40. Meat is a couple of dollars more dollars per pound. So business cost is a huge thing and labor costs have not gone up. You know, you just want to take better care of your employees and to get that great talent, you have to pay them more. So and a lot of times customers, they don’t want to pay higher prices, but you kind of have don’t really they want they want the same amount at the same cost. So but we’re in that unique situation that, you know, we have great customers few and far between that they’ll come in and be like, Well, this is expensive, but it’s not McDonald’s or it’s not Chick-Fil-A. It’s a process that takes a lot longer time to produce then than that. And but yeah, the pandemic, I think, is the biggest challenge, and I know it’s not forever. Costs are going to come back down. Hopefully, hopefully it won’t be much inflation, but you know, it’s just something we’re dealing with for the next. I don’t know how long.
Lori Kennedy: [00:36:09] Yeah, we thought we had several conversations about labor and how difficult it is to get get people working these days. So I know that’s got to be even more difficult in restaurants than it is in automotive, but it’s we’re struggling as well.
Kristi Choate: [00:36:23] Absolutely. Now for the food truck, during the pandemic, we had our best sales year period. Being a mobile business, you know, with all the restaurants shut down, people were inviting us into their neighborhoods. And yeah, so we did a lot of neighborhoods. We did more, more more events like that. So it was a great year for the food trip. But, you know, still the costs went up.
Lori Kennedy: [00:36:51] Well, what are some misconceptions about your industry misconceptions?
Kristi Choate: [00:36:56] Well, I think I hit on one of them is that people want the same amount for the same price in in this environment. It’s just not going to happen. I was actually reading an article today about a company in Atlanta, a restaurant group that actually is putting a surcharge on their tickets. I mean, it’s right on there for you to read, so it’s not hidden. But they have. I believe it’s a five percent surcharge to provide paid time off and health benefits for their employees. So every ticket, they’re adding five percent to it. Now you can opt out of that, but that’s not something we’re doing.
Lori Kennedy: [00:37:33] But I I think it’s a very creative idea.
Kristi Choate: [00:37:36] Absolutely. And I think anything that you want to do with your business, as long as people know up front where you’re doing, then you’re better off more information than less information.
Lori Kennedy: [00:37:48] Yeah. And I think a lot of people, at least a lot of people that I know when they go out to eat now, they tip more percentage wise than they did before the pandemic because they know that it’s hard to keep employees working. And I think everybody knows it’s hard to give them benefits. It’s costly to give them benefits. So I think I would be all for, you know, if I can afford to go out to eat, then I can afford to pay an extra five percent to make sure somebody’s taking care of. Right? I mean, I think that’s I think that’s very creative.
Kristi Choate: [00:38:19] It is creative. Absolutely.
Lori Kennedy: [00:38:20] Yeah. What are some misconceptions about your industry here?
Kara Frenkel : [00:38:24] That’s pretty easy. Ax throwing is dangerous.
Lori Kennedy: [00:38:27] So especially when you combine it with alcohol.
Kara Frenkel : [00:38:31] We just talked about this. Absolutely. Yeah. So I think the biggest thing is, again, it’s been around for a long time now. So it’s not something that’s just thrown together like, Hey, this would be fun if we started throwing axes for a sport, it’s it’s here to stay. So I think the biggest part is especially when you throw it on to a trailer and your mobile people think it’s a free for all. The people are just walking around with axes and doing their thing. They’ll. And always, hey, I saw a video once like, we know where it’s going, hey, I saw this video once and it looked really dangerous or it could have gone really bad. But there’s a lot of things that you that checks and balances that you put into place to make sure that you can show them clearly that that’s not the norm. And again, some of those regulations are our trailer is regulation distance for throwing, regulation width for throwing. It also always has somebody on the trailer. The axes are the properly selected axes and the size and the weight that they should be to make the risk a lot less than it would be if it was improper.
Kara Frenkel : [00:39:32] Making sure that people are going through a litmus test of getting up the stairs easily before they’re going to start throwing axes. And then again, making sure that the throwing is only happening on the trailer and that we have full management and full responsibility of where those axes are and that they never leave the trailer. So there’s a lot of checks and balances to make it a lot safer. Plus, we’re totally covered with our insurance that there’s no additional risk to any property owner or anywhere that we’re sitting. So that gives them some type of a peace of mind as well. But once they see what we do versus what some other people do, or they’ll actually build a target on the ground, and then, yes, there’s axes roaming around, you never can really control somebody. But what we do is it’s one hundred percent. You’re always with somebody that knows what they’re doing, that’s managing it on the trailer and you never take them with you.
Lori Kennedy: [00:40:17] Yeah. Contained.
Kara Frenkel : [00:40:18] Very contained. Yes.
Lori Kennedy: [00:40:19] Well, yes. And our industry and automotive, whenever somebody says, Yeah, I saw something on YouTube, right? Oh no.
Kara Frenkel : [00:40:27] The funny thing is the one, the one that most people are talking about. We can go ahead and debunk that one right off the bat so we know what they’re talking about before they even get to that. You’ve seen it? Yeah, we know. We know.
Lori Kennedy: [00:40:38] Well, are you being mentored and are you mentoring others? And like, what does that look like for you on a regular basis?
Kara Frenkel : [00:40:44] We do mentor others in two different capacities. One is when we jumped in, we were we were quickly recognized as a very quality brand. And by doing that, we had a lot of people through Facebook groups and other people that are looking to get into the into the industry, reach out to us and ask for a lot of guidance, which this is where my husband and I differ. He’s like, No, we did all of that. They can do like, no, it benefits and behooves all of us to let people fall in love with the sport and to do it the right way. So there’s no reason to put anything in their way of being successful because it would only hurt us as well. So it’s from San Diego to two people in Florida and currently somebody in Tennessee, in North Carolina that we’re starting to kind of help through the process and mentor along the way. I have no problem answering questions and trying to at least open their eyes to things that they don’t know or even going to come their way before they make the mistakes that could possibly cost them their business before it even gets off the ground. And then our second way is through our established partnerships that we have. So our second unit is more of a, you know, closer to my heart. It’s son and daughter in law, have bought into it and have their own unit as well. And they’re doing it on a part time basis because of his job. But being able to mentor them and actually teach them a little bit more about business in general, not just about the business that they have. They have actually started themselves. And then obviously the new entrepreneurs that are coming up with us as well for the next units.
Lori Kennedy: [00:42:08] Although I love your answer, my thoughts go toward franchise.
Kara Frenkel : [00:42:13] Yeah, yeah, we’re doing partnerships versus franchise. It’s just a better business model for us. So we’re partnering out versus franchising. Yeah.
Lori Kennedy: [00:42:22] What about you, Christie? What mentoring? Who’s mentoring you? Who are you mentoring? How does that look?
Kristi Choate: [00:42:29] So when we got into the barbecue food truck business specifically, we had several barbecue food trucks that were out there already doing it. Some great guys who who, you know, told my husband and I, If you ever need anything, let us know they let us. They gave us some tips, some tricks of the trade, that sort of thing with having to do with the food truck. These were people who knew, and Kara’s point is that, you know, their success doesn’t equal my failure and my success doesn’t equal their their failure. Every once in a while, you run into some people who aren’t like that where they see it more as a competition, but is if you’re putting a great quality product out there. I mean, it elevates it elevates the whole industry or whole elevates the whole barbecue industry. Now, of course, my husband and I like to go wherever we go. We go to always, always find out, find those barbecue restaurants where we can go. And it makes us, you know, like, Oh, we need to do this different or, you know, it just validates to us that we’re we’re doing something right.
Kristi Choate: [00:43:33] So those were people who early on were mentors to my husband and I in our business. And when we were looking to expand from the food truck to the restaurant, you know, we had different people from some, some local breweries. I mean, Spencer Nix with reformation, he was a great asset to my. Has been and not Kobe Zakhele with. Yes, several local restaurants and can you know, he he you know, Bryant bounced some stuff off of him and actually gave him a great lead for this restaurant where and now? So those were people that you know, were vital, you know, to our business and who has have talked and talked into my husband and I. But also, you know, in terms of other mentors, I mean, there’s lots of people out that you come in contact with that can be challenging or can be mentoring you in some aspect. And in terms of mentoring other people, I don’t feel like I’m mentoring other people, but that’s the key there. You don’t feel like it. So again, you have influence, whether you think you do or you don’t. But yeah,
Lori Kennedy: [00:44:48] For sure you do. Ok. Just a couple more questions. And what advice Christy would you give to someone trying to get into a new business, not specifically your business, but a new business? What advice would you give them?
Kristi Choate: [00:45:04] I think I said it before. It’s don’t don’t despise small beginnings. A lot of people want to go big or don’t do it at all. I think are entry level points into business where you can be successful and build from there. And that’s what we have seen in our business is we started small, we funded it ourselves. We didn’t have any debt going into our business and we built the food truck out ourselves. So there’s different things that you can do in business where you don’t have to invest a lot of money ahead of time, but you do have to invest a lot of talent and sweat equity into it. So that’s what I would, you know, some advice I would give them is don’t don’t worry about starting small. It’s OK.
Lori Kennedy: [00:45:50] Good advice. What about you care
Kara Frenkel : [00:45:54] In business in general
Lori Kennedy: [00:45:55] Or business? Yeah, business in general. I think just because your business is so specific, it is. Yeah, that I’d say here in general, yeah, in
Kara Frenkel : [00:46:03] General, I think it’s just, you know, take a deep breath and believe in yourself. You can do more than you give your give yourself credit for and allow the people that are your your best advocates to be there to pump you up and make you feel like, you know what, you’re doing a good job and listen to them. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the positive. It’s only it’s really easy to hear what people are going to the naysayers of what you’re doing. So take the risk and be able to know that there’s going to be setbacks. And that’s OK. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of your business. So just be ready to to power on pass those and do it. Just do it. But make sure that you’re you’re well informed when you do so that you’re prepared for what can come your way.
Lori Kennedy: [00:46:44] That’s awesome. Ok, last question and that is, how do we get in touch with you? How do we find you? How do we follow you? How do we come see you? Whatever that is, Kara, how do we do that with you?
Kara Frenkel : [00:46:59] With me? You can find us at W W W Dot Moving Target ATL. You can also email us and that would be info at moving target ATL. And then our phone number is seven seven zero seven five six two nine three seven. That spells axis axis, so that’s easy to remember on that.
Lori Kennedy: [00:47:20] My father,
Kara Frenkel : [00:47:21] My husband did that. He gets full credit for that. But then also, if you’ll check us out on social media, we’re on Facebook and Instagram, and you can really get a good feel for what we do and what sets us apart in the industry.
Lori Kennedy: [00:47:31] Awesome. Thank you. How do we find you?
Kristi Choate: [00:47:35] Well, when you can just look for the food truck rolling down the road, but that jokes aside, yeah, no.
Lori Kennedy: [00:47:41] You guys are at. You’re in down from Woodstock. A good bit trucking tab.
Kristi Choate: [00:47:47] Yeah, two times a month. We’re at several local breweries. We do all kinds of events, which is complimentary to ax throwing. But yeah, it’s WW W Dot Tote Variety BBC.com is our website and you can find us on Instagram and Facebook. Our restaurant is actually up in Bagram. It’s one oh one five zero Ballgown Highway in Bagram. It’s right on the main thoroughfare there as you’re going in and through background ground, and we’d love to have you come out and visit us.
Lori Kennedy: [00:48:23] Awesome. Well, thank you for joining us today on women in business powered by Business RadioX until next time, this is Lori Kennedy reminding you to keep learning and growing.