With Father's Day around the corner, you might be wondering how best to treat the big guy in your family. May we suggest a hearty meal at his favorite restaurant? Here's one that whets our appetite—Q Daddy's Pitmaster BBQ, a family owned, second-generation eatery located in Smithfield, Virginia, in the Hampton Roads area. They're also Lands' End Business customers, outfitting their team with logo'd apparel and recently adding logo'd T-shirts to their menu as a promotional item for customers. We went behind the logo with co-owner Joy Andrus to ask her about her family's BBQ venture and why they chose apparel from Lands' End Business for team outfitting and brand promotion.
How did Q Daddy’s Pitmaster BBQ get started—and why the name?
Q Daddy’s was named after our family patriarch, Norman Witten, the “daddy” to a tight-knit group of seven siblings who all had a hand in helping to make his dream of owning a smokehouse restaurant a reality. Norman has been part of the quick-service restaurant industry for over 40 years and spent decades tinkering with recipes and methods as a backyard smoker hobbyist. He created a catering side-business that grew in popularity amongst friends and neighbors and eventually required the help of family members to operate. Over time, the demand for Norman’s BBQ grew and it was all hands on deck to keep up with sauce production, butt rub production and event planning. Our family knew we needed to expand into a proper restaurant location. Our middle brother, Jesse, came home from the Marine Corps in 2015 to learn everything he could about the family business. Today, Jesse is the head Pitmaster at Q Daddy’s and is well-loved by the customers and crew alike. Since our ribbon cutting on January 9, 2017, he has affectionately earned the nickname of the “Pitmayor of Smithfield.”
Who else in the family is involved and what do they do?
Our dad Norman was the visionary behind Q Daddy’s, although he is the owner/operator of another high-volume quick service restaurant that demands his attention. Our mom, Lynn, is the head boss lady who runs the kitchen and signs the checks. Middle brother Jesse is the general manager and head pitmaster. Sister Grace is a crew leader. I am the catering director and marketing manager. Three other brothers own a construction company (Tidewater Pro Build) and they contributed heavily to the project by completing the entire buildout on our historic building—Q Daddy’s is located in a refurbished Texaco gas station built in 1970—and they are currently working on our expansion projects.
What do you and your team love most about your jobs?
If you read our online reviews (Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc.) you will notice how often people comment on the friendly service and hospitable atmosphere at Q Daddy’s. We serve great food but also put a lot of our time and attention towards hospitality and our customers take note. We love making people feel welcome.
What makes your BBQ unique?
Everything is made from scratch every day at Q Daddy’s. There is no freezer and no microwave in our very busy, working kitchen. All of our meats (pork butts, beef brisket and ribs) are smoked on the premises. We keep our menu short and sweet on purpose to ensure that we are serving a high-quality product all the time. People love our Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket but we are also very well-known for our delicious sides and desserts.
What does “Drop a Flock” mean?
While we are a BBQ joint, we are well known for our hand-breaded chicken tenders. When a customer places an order for chicken, the meat man yells down the line for the kitchen to “drop a flock.” Someone from the kitchen crew hand-breads the chicken to order and drops it into the fryer so its fresh and hot for every customer. By the time the customer gets to the register with their tray full of sides and desserts, their hot fried chicken is usually waiting. This phrase was coined soon after we opened and one of our employees jokingly referred to an order of chicken as a “flock of birds.” The phrase has become part of the culture of our restaurant, and regulars usually place their order by simply saying “Can I get a flock drop?” Also, a chicken tender kid’s meal is called a “kids' flock” at Q Daddy’s.
Why did you choose Lands’ End Business for logo’d T-shirts?
Before we ever ordered our custom logo’d T-shirts from Lands' End Business, we had placed several orders for other apparel which we were very happy with. We work with a local marketing agency who directed us to you since they had had other clients who used Lands' End with great success. The logo’d T-shirts are strictly part of our retail merchandise line, although the first 25 we sold all went to staff.
We chose Lands' End for our T-shirt production because we were so happy with the quality and the customer service from the company with all other orders we had placed before. From the beginning, I have always been impressed with how friendly and knowledgeable every customer-service representative at Lands' End has been. And I have made a lot of phone calls over there! Everyone I’ve ever spoken to has been pleasant and seems to take pride in the company. That’s something that we value in our organization as well and so I felt very good about spending money with the company.
What do your customers make of the T-shirts?
Our customers really love our T-shirts and often submit photos of themselves wearing them on vacation in places far from Smithfield. It’s become a thing to do.
How did you find the service and delivery of your T-shirts?
Outstanding! I needed the shirts within a very quick turn-around time for a big event we were working on and Lands' End got them to us on time, as promised.
What other items have you ordered from Lands’ End Business?
Last fall we ordered logo’d flannel shirts for our employees as their cold-weather uniform. We picked out two patterns that we thought would look nice with our logo and allowed our crew to sign-up for the one they wanted to order. Everyone wanted both so we ended up getting lots of flannel shirts. The logo’d flannels looked great and held up well over the winter months. As a Christmas gift, we also ordered logo’d fleece vests with a front zipper for all of our employees. They were very pleased with them and we sometimes spotted them wearing the vests outside of work. This spring we ordered logo’d workwear shirts in black for our employees uniform. They are crisp and extremely durable which is something we need in a uniform. We’ve also had our logo put onto aprons, golf shirts and tote bags. We love every item we’ve ever purchased from Lands' End Business. The quality and the look are all there.
What’s your favorite item on the menu?
That's impossible to answer. If you tasted our food, you would understand why!
Images courtesy of Q Daddy's Pitmaster BBQ