How a Pitmaster Manages Sustainability While Running a Barbecue Business

  • Rodney Scott, Pitmaster wants to make sure that there is no food wasted in his restaurants. 
  • His team uses profit and losses records to forecast how much he will cook for each day of the calendar year.
  • Scott prefers to source local ingredients whenever possible.

Rodney Scott is a James Beard Award winning pitmaster and the founder Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog barbecue. Scott’s first restaurant was opened in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2017, it grew into an empire that now has three locations throughout Alabama and Georgia. 

With lines You are known to be out of the doorRodney Scott’s team must ensure that they are preparing enough food and not over-preparing.

The United States is home to the US Department of AgricultureEstimates range between 30% to 40% of our food supply ending up as food waste. Recycle Track Systems(RTS) The restaurant industry is responsible for $162 billion in wasted food costs each year. 

In an interview with Insider, Scott says his teams are meticulous when it comes to projections thanks to their weekly and daily profit and loss (P&L) analyses. 

Everyone in charge of prepping quantities receives a relevant P&L sheet every Monday, Scott told Insider.

“We look at it and we try to see where we’re short, where we’re over, what’s selling, and what’s not,”He said.

“How much we’re cooking versus selling — all those things are on the P&L,”He went on. “That’s just one way that we keep up with how not to cook too much food. Also how not to sell ourselves short on a busy day.”

The team will use data from last year, a week before, and even the beginning of the current day to predict and adjust how much food they cook. 

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Rodney Scott’s BBQ Charleston offers ribs

Rachel Askinasi/Insider


The team will repurpose any leftovers they find.

“Right now it’s cold, so when we have leftover brisket we put a brisket chili on the menu,”Insider was told by Paul Yeck, executive chef at Pihakis Restaurant Group which also owns Rodney Scott’s. “That’s a really good option for colder months.”

The leftover pulled pork and ribs can be broken down and used in greens, baked beans and other dishes. Yeck stated that leftover chicken can be transformed into chicken salad the following day.

“In our Birmingham market, we’re really connected with the city and the mayor’s team,”Yeck. “We work with them to provide meals when we can. We’re serving quality stuff, it’s just not something we want to pass on to our guests and charge them for.”

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Baked beans also contain pork.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider


Scott also makes sure to support the local communities where he has restaurants

“We’re here to complement, not complicate,”Insider spoke with the winner of the award. “If we’re going to ship all of our products in, we’re not complementing your neighborhood at all, we’re just another place you could possibly eat at. But to come in and deal with your local farmers — for us, we think it’s a plus. We like to do it. We work with as many locals as we can, while still at the same time maintaining the quality of our food.”

He said that he prefers hiring local people before considering other options. Scott said that his goal is to be positive in his local communities and so hiring locally is preferable to outsourcing.

His Charleston staff may not be as dense with locals, but he still says that he’s willing to give interviews to anyone looking for work. 

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