By Crystal Lynn, Gary Crusader
Nationally recognized Gordon “Big Daddy” Biffle didn’t give out his award-winning recipe to a room full of attentive business students, instead he gave them business tips they could sink their teeth into and be full for years to come.
Ivy Tech Gary business students listened to Biffle’s presentation on Monday, March 6th at Ivy Tech.
The humbling beginnings of a business are sometimes overshadowed by fame, money and success. “I had some challenges, I had some trials, I’ve had to jump over hurdles. It hasn’t been easy. People say, “Look at him, he’s doing good, he’s rich now!,” Biffle said. He spoke of the times he had to run the entire operation by himself: being stood up by workers, putting in 15-16 hour days. “When it’s your business, nobody’s going to make it work but you.”
His wife and business partner, Darquia Biffle handles all the business and allows Biffle to do what he loves, to cook. “She reads, she studies, she observes,” said Biffle. “The calm, patient, and level person that she is keeps the business in order and constantly expanding.”
All the ins and outs of a business had to be learned the “hard way” according to Biffle. He encouraged students to learn what he wishes he had learned before starting a business. “I lost a lot of money and time due to trial and error,” Biffle says.
“You have to educate yourself. Have a business plan, and everything will fall into place. By going to school you can get all the knowledge I didn’t. I got tired of saying, I’m learning the hard way; learning the hard way gets really expensive.”
The Ivy Tech business students listened intently as if there was a quiz at the end of the presentation. They stayed engaged because of how transparent Biffle is during his presentation. He developed a love for cooking as a young boy, following his mother around the kitchen. Biffle was the oldest of his siblings, and enjoyed finding creative ways to make a dish exciting. As he became older he continued to develop his skills. He started cooking at home and eventually expanded to a space in the flea market. They placed Biffle directly next to an established BBQ vendor. “I’m never going to get any business,” Biffle exclaimed at first, recalling the long lines that waited for his competitor. “But that was a setup, that was getting me ready for now,” understanding that it made him a better businessman, pushing him to focus on customer service and staying faithful through the trials. “I felt intimidated, but I couldn’t be scared. My personality and my attitude made me stand out.” The customers started to shift to Biffle as they interacted with him and were drawn not only to the food quality, but also to the welcoming service.
The perfect mix to success: Passion (doing what you love), Vision (seeing what’s next), Persistence (pushing past boundaries and obstacles) and Supportive people (couldn’t do it without his wife). Big Daddy’s BBQ is a two-time winner of Steve Harvey’s #1 BBQ Neighborhood Award, American Express and Facebook Big Break Contest, and was named as one of the 30 Faces of Tourism by Indiana South Shore. Big Daddy’s BBQ is open in Gary at 4213 Cleveland Street, and in Hammond. It will soon open a third location in Northwest Indiana.