Bryan Weinstein – Founder and CEO of Bar-B-Clean

You can’t grow a business without finding the right people.

Bryan Weinstein is the founder and CEO of Bar-B-Clean and an experienced leader in the grilling industry. An experienced leader in the grilling industry, he has a distinct background in business ownership and franchising.

Weinstein created Bar-B-Clean, a franchised barbeque cleaning service when he noticed how dirty his barbeque was. After searching for a good cleaner, and not finding one, he decided to start his own company.

Bar-B-Clean offers residential and commercial customers a convenient, low-cost grill-cleaning solution to help maximize the life of grills by using biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products to remove the carcinogenic chemicals that are left behind and that transfer to your food when cooked. There are 20 Bar-B-Clean locations spread across seven states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

He is also the owner-operator of Soccer Shots in, South Orange County, a business that introduces and teaches soccer to preschool aged children. Weinstein manages the finances of the company and supervises the program. Soccer Shots is consistently recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise in the U.S.

Bryan has a bachelor of science degree in business with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Southern California.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Bar-B-Clean was born one evening in 2011 when I went out to my patio to fire up my grill for the first time that year. When I opened the lid, I saw crusted-on food, spots of mold and others manner of filth that would not be tolerated on any other cooking equipment. As I spent the next few hours scraping, scrubbing and degreasing, I decided there needed to be a simpler, more effective way to clean my barbeque.

I Googled it and saw that there was only one grill-cleaning company in Orange County. I thought this would be a great opportunity in a niche market with little or no competition.

If you haven’t had your barbecue cleaned in a some time, there’s a good chance that rats, mice, or other critters have lived, snacked, or left droppings inside. Additionally, that crusted mess and grease dripping on the grates and underneath is both a fire danger and a health hazard and makes your food just taste nasty.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The majority of my daily grind is supporting the existing franchisees and another side is recruiting. I made a conscious decision a while back that as more and more franchisees come on board (we currently have 10), I need to focus on them and their success. So I spend most of my days supporting the people that trusted in me when they joined Bar-B-Clean.

A typical day also involves me talking directly to distributors, traveling to speak with new franchise prospects, trying to develop different streams of revenue and creating different marketing strategies. Recently, I worked hard to develop our own stainless steel polish.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I believe there are two completely different personalities in people. The salary people who show up every day for a paycheck and entrepreneurial people who really need a carrot. They need the big prize to motivate them. That’s always been me. Motivation isn’t just about money, it’s a responsibility. Since Bar-B-Clean is a franchise system, I have a responsibility to my franchisees who invested and trusted in me. The community is something that has always been very important to me, and a way in which I continue to tap into creative ideas. The community is really what I’ve tried to create at Bar-B-Clean, a safe and trusted space where people are willing to share in successes and failures.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I try not to get too caught up and let the latest trends and technology distract me. In a world that is ever changing—and changing quickly—I do need to know what trends might affect my business and the implications that may have. However, I try and stay grounded and focused on my business. “What’s going to move the needle forward for business impact?” We have a simple business model, and I just do my best to stay focused on driving awareness so people realize our service exists.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m not a very habitual person and so I tend to be day-to-day and very in the moment. That may be a benefit to me because I don’t let things that happened yesterday bother me. I go with the flow and am not so rigid in my personal life or in the business.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I appreciated every one of my jobs. Early onIy worked at a sports store, trophy store, Nike, college recreation center, etc. My first job out of college was processing loans. I felt I needed to learn the business and become successful in it.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

When I started Bar-B-Clean, the first person I hired was a consultant. I paid for the experience, which is no substitute for getting it; doing it and learning it yourself. This was a mistake— a $35,000 mistake— that I wouldn’t do again.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Promote the community within our franchise system. Relationships are so important, especially in the service business. I like to open the lines of communication amongst franchisees so they feel safe sharing best practices, experiences, challenges, etc. I’m also very into networking with other service professionals as a way to drive cross referrals and new business.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

You can’t grow a business without finding the right people. That message trickles down in everything I do. That’s the single most important, yet difficult, thing about running a business. Especially when it comes to franchising. Franchisees have to find the right employees. As a franchisor, I have to find franchise owners that bode well with our culture, community and business model. Relationships with franchisees, customers and employees are vital.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Early on in franchising, I was eager to get some franchisees on board and grow the network. But I could have done a better job up front in making sure they were absolutely the right people for the business and for the franchise community. I also could have doubled down on asking the right questions to make sure Bar-B-Clean was also what they were looking for.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If a great business idea is there and you are passion about it, take advantage of it and do it yourself. That’s what I’m doing with Bar-B-Clean.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I’m very much a family person. The best $100 I recently spent was going away for a night with the wife and kids. To me, this keeps things in perspective and helps me realize that business and customers are not the ends of the world.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

At Bar-B-Clean, we made our own proprietary CRM for the franchisees. It helps make us more efficient in the business. It allows us to track and schedule customer jobs, seamlessly send email reminders and appointment confirmations and allows us to track success metrics.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Heads-Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time. This book provides practical strategies for developing the mental skills that help speed you to your full potential. I read this with my 9-year-old son. It’s a good reminder that you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction to it. I think that’s an important lesson.