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‘I’ve got to do something’: Supply chain problems push Boise restaurant to revamp menu, name

Brad Taylor has been smoking meats and serving them up to Boiseans since 2013 with BBQ4LIFE. Behind their restaurant in Boise’s Vista Village, you’ll find Brad Taylor and his crew prepping meats in a huge smoker all throughout the year.

But the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic started to cause problems. Beyond closures and staffing obstacles typical for the restaurant sector, Taylor said the supply chain started to wreak havoc on the business.

“For the last probably month, we’ve been out of our normal ribs and have been buying a subpar rib at a much more expensive price,” he said. “It’s hurting our business. We are barely profitable as is because we do quality food. You add all this in, and it starts to pile up.”

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Taylor said all the challenges lead to issues customers can see – without knowing that many of the visible changes are beyond their control.

“It’s reflected in our reviews. Do I want to be in a position where a customer comes in for the third time and half the menu is not available or half is really expensive?”

A switch to sandwiches

So for now, BBQ4LIFE is closed – but Sandwiches by BBQ4LIFE is open in its place.

“We built out a menu that is super efficient, that is still offering some smoked stuff and still some vegan stuff but doesn’t pigeonhole us into specific options,” Taylor said. “We’re still smoking stuff. It’s some of the best sandwiches we’ve ever had.”

The plates of smoked meats are gone for now, but an expanded sandwich menu runs in its place. A pulled pork sandwich, pepper jack bratwurst, Philly and even a vegan spiced smoked spaghetti squash sandwich sit alongside several salads and deserts.

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“It helps us to remain open and even flourish if we have trouble getting product,” Taylor said. “I’m trying to do what I think is best for the longevity of BBQ4Life.”

He said he hopes this will help keep the business open, employees working, and customers happy.

“We are still BBQ 4 Life, there’s just not as many things on the menu. But it’s the same people working in the kitchen, and we are still making everything in-house.”

Disclosure: The author’s family owns Vista Village. He has no role or ownership in the shopping center.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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