Old Carolina Barbecue Company is one of the most respected barbecue names in Northeast Ohio when it comes to barbecue. Racking up countless awards and prizes over the years, Old Carolina's most recent award came from US Today, where they were named one of the top ten best barbecue chains in America. We were able to sit down with founder of Old Carolina, Brian Bailey, to discuss the history of Old Carolina Barbecue Company and their partnership with DeliverThat.
Brian Bailey always knew he wanted to start his own business. What that company would be though, he had no idea. Brian explained, "I was eating in a barbecue joint in St. Louis, and thinking about how much I loved barbecue in the Carolina's, when it dawned on me that Canton, Ohio didn't have great barbecue." Old Carolina was created in 2003 as a competition barbecue company. Brian and his friends would travel around the country to festivals and events to compete for the best barbecue. After bringing in countless victories and awards, people started asking where his store was. Brian would tell them, "It's right here, right now." Eventually a store was created in 2003. When asked why Old Carolina begin in Canton Ohio, Brian responded, "Old Carolina was created to fill a need. I recognized Canton, Ohio didn't have real, authentic barbecue." After spending time in the Carolina's figuring out how to get the barbecue just right, Brian brought it to Canton and never looked back. People fell in love with the first authentic barbecue company to reach Northeast Ohio. With close to ten stores now, Old Carolina has become a Northeast Ohio favorite.
Old Carolina has become very popular in the catering business. Brian explained, "Early on we learned that barbecue is a perfect match for catering. Barbecue travels well, it holds well, it is just a great fit for a party. It is a very social food in the south. People get together and eat barbecue." Old Carolina began catering to just about any gathering imaginable; weddings, graduation parties, house parties, even bat mitzvah's. Brian went on to say they have catered for just about everything. "We like to say that 'life is a series of events and Old Carolina caters them all.'"
With Old Carolina growing and catering increasing, Brian was forced to hire more employees. With his workers running out for catering orders he would find his kitchen short staffed. Brian explained, "We were always taking people out of the store which caused a man down in the restaurant. Where DeliverThat steps in is our staff can stay in the store and create good barbecue as DeliverThat does what they do best. DeliverThat has done a great job to vet their drivers. They are very professional, clean cut, and wear a required uniform. They are easily recognizable with a blue shirt for the clients to notice. They may not work for us but they work very well with us. I love seeing two, three, or even four blue shirts lined up in the restaurants ready to take orders out." DeliverThat was able to step into the role as Old Carolina’s primary catering service. Not only did this increase productivity for Old Carolina, but it also opened their restaurant to a bigger market of customers. In the past Old Carolina would ask customers to come in and pick up their food for residential parties. Now DeliverThat is able to cater the food to any location without a problem. "What's great about residential parties is the host can clean the house or take care of any last minute things before the party and not have to worry about the food, knowing it will be there on time."
As the first real authentic barbecue restaurant and one of most popular in Northeast Ohio, Old Carolina was still open to ways to improve their business. Partnering with DeliverThat has allowed their workers to stay in the stores and be more productive while their catering is being handled by DeliverThat drivers. DeliverThat is able to cover any number of catering orders Old Carolina has in a week. DeliverThat handles roughly one hundred orders a week from Old Carolina, something that couldn’t be done by just the Old Carolina employees. Brian commented on the fact that Old Carolina peaks in the summer but now their partnership with DeliverThat will, “keep our numbers up throughout the entire year.” Old Carolina and DeliverThat have shared a positive partnership in the past year and look forward to continue growing together in the years to come.