Better Than My Franchise!

bbq business franchise

“My Franchise journey is now secondary. I reckon I will do a turnover of up to £250k on my Trailblazer next year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work but with numbers like that, how could I not make it my priority.”

It’s no secret that Trailblazer BBQ Founder and Managing Director, Lester Manley loves the challenge of new product innovations and bespoke Trailblazer builds. When Russell approached us asking for the possibility of a Bar-BBQ module for his growing catering business, we just knew this would be something that would get Lester’s creative juices flowing at an immense rate of knots.

Upon meeting to talk through possibilities and ideas, Lester took the opportunity to grab a quick chat with Russell to see how his new outdoor catering business is fairing in comparison to his already established coffee franchise business.

Russel’s background is far from in the catering industry. An entrepreneur in the construction trade, Russel stumbled across catering unintentionally when he took over the reins of a Coffee Franchise in February 2020. Russell added an outdoor catering division by introducing a Trailblazer BBQ and after an immensely successful launch now predicts earnings of up to £250k on the Trailblazer next year.

How did you get into the franchise business?

“I own a large development company across the water. I bought a Cafe2U franchise for someone else back in 2019 however that didn’t work out, so I had to take the reins. I have been active in it since February 2020, the coffee side of the business won Cafe2U franchise of the year on a national scale.

I soon realised that as the pandemic changed the way we socialised and lived, there was a huge opportunity in the outdoor side of catering. That’s when I started researching what was on the market and found Trailblazer BBQ.”

What was it that convinced you that Trailblazer was the right move?

“I didn’t know if it was going to be the right move or not but for £7,000 it was worth backing the horse. Legal fees are more than that in a franchise so in my mind, it was a no-brainer because the risk was so small but with huge potential.

I figured, worst-case scenario, I try my hand at it, if it failed, I would sell the trailer on, and loss would be minimal if anything.”

What was your earliest stage of being convinced that it was the right move?

“We got the Trailblazer BBQ in May. We said if we turned over £20,000 by the end of September, we would be happy. I can confidently say that by September we will have pushed through three times that on the Trailblazer alone.

If you look in my BBQ diary, I haven’t had a day off from the start of July until the end of August, apart from one week that I took off as a holiday in July. I already have quite a few jobs booked in for October which is very promising considering I haven’t spent a dime in marketing or advertising.”

How would you compare your Trailblazer Journey to your Franchise Journey?

“My Franchise journey is now secondary. At this moment of time, the mobile catering business with my Trailblazer is priority. Even though I’m not even a chef.

I reckon next year, with my Trailblazer BBQ Smoker, I will do a turnover of up to £250k. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely hard work but with numbers like that, how could I not make it my priority.

I would love to open my own open-air restaurant at some stage. I am going to look at some exciting plans over the next couple of years.”

Do you feel the 600 Streetmaster was the right choice for you?


We have done quite a lot with an outreach programme, we have had lots of corporate events, weddings, birthdays. Any type of gathering and we have done it already with the 600 Streetmaster.

I would imagine that before I knew any different, I would have been chuffed to the bit with a 600S Grillmaster (storage compartment with no smoker) However now after having the 600 Streetmaster I wouldn’t look at a BBQ without a smoker module. No way. It’s an absolute game changer, and I had never smoked meat before in my life.

I would go as far as saying that now, I couldn’t do a wedding without it. I smoke my chicken thighs etc for two hours before the event, however I know that they will be safe in there for up to 4 hours. I know that if I keep the temperature down and the water tray topped up, those thighs are coming out juicy and succulent.

This is ideal for weddings. If they say they want to gear up to eat at 4PM, 9 times out of 10 the photographer always holds them up and delays service. I know I still have 2 hours of safe time in the smoker. It’s a life saver.

Not even that, but the menu diversity opportunity the Streetmaster offers is immense. I marinade salmon in teriyaki brine and stick it in the smoker for two hours along with the likes of minted lamb chops, cajun chicken, chicken thighs and wings. I offer sausages, mango burgers etc on the grill and compliment it all with a salad bar. The guests love it!

I have recently started using the fire tunnel at the evening service where I’m able to offer pizza, wings and kebabs as an evening munch box offering. All of which are being cooked on the Trailblazer!

Honestly Lester, I am delighted with my Trailblazer. I am coming back for more!”

Trailblazer are here to supply our customers with top of the range kit that will make them more money, allow them to work less, and have more fun in doing so.

If you are interested in starting your own successful catering business, then please get in touch. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge through working with entrepreneurs and caterers throughout all stages of their careers.



Are you keen to start your own catering business?

Call Trailblazer BBQ today on +44 28 9057 9000 or email [email protected] and find out how Trailblazer BBQ could make your dreams turn to reality!

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    Trailblazer BBQ Ltd,
    6 Ballyoran Lane,
    BT16 1XJ
    Northern Ireland

    Phone: +44 28 9057 9000
    Email: [email protected]