What's Barbecue Got to Do With Disaster Cleanup?
Todd David has merged his hobby (cooking) and his business (Restorx) to create a new kind of networking.
FROM CLEANING TO ’CUE: Restorx founder Todd David has turned his hobby into a new company called Cattleack Barbeque Co.photography by James Bland
Each month at barbecue lunch mixers hosted by Restorx of Texas, as many as 400 commercial property managers and engineers wander the floor of the company’s warehouse with plates piled high with smoked meats and heaping mounds of beans. They mutter to themselves about the brown globs of heaven and pester Restorx founder—and barbecue meister—Todd David for the recipe.
Since the company began hosting the monthly mixers in early 2007, attendance has grown beyond expectations. “We get more people than BOMA [Building Owners and Managers Association International] does at their trade shows,” David says.
The luncheons have proven to be a powerful marketing tool for Dallas-based Restorx, a disaster cleanup concern. For a company that provides services only in times of crisis, there are few opportunities for the kind of face-to-face contact with clients that maintains and builds business.
“What changed is our customers got to come to us, instead of us having to go out and visit building by building by building,” David says of the monthly events.
The unique marketing scheme began as a way for David to incorporate one of his favorite hobbies—competitive barbecuing—into his day job. On long cleanup details for Restorx, he would often have to order food for his crews. Instead, David began bringing in an industrial-sized smoker and doing the cooking himself. That led to the client luncheons.
“I’ve always tried to combine personal and business because it has always been combined for me,” David says. “For the last 30 years, I’ve worked 60 to 80 hours a week.”
David talks about the businesses with passion and enthusiasm few could muster for flood damage and stained rugs. His energy helped him build his first company, Park Cities Carpet Cleaning, into the vendor that handled rugs, upholstery, and drapery for the White House, from the Ronald Reagan to the George W. Bush administrations. He landed the prestigious gig via a twisting trail of personal referrals.
When he became a Restorx franchisee, he sold the carpet-cleaning business. The barbecue luncheons at Rextorx, where property engineers from virtually every management company in Dallas rub elbows against a backdrop of industrial-sized vacuums and dehumidifiers, have been a big part of the company’s success.
They also provided an exit strategy for David, who recently sold Restorx of Texas to his former general manager. “[My wife and I] wondered what we would do, because I would never retire,” he says. “So for the next 30 years, we decided we’d have fun playing with this barbecue.”
David calls his new Cattleack Barbeque Co. a hobby, even though word of mouth has already landed it catering contracts with Plano Independent School District, Emmitt Smith’s charity golf tournament, and countless tenant appreciation lunches at local commercial properties.
“There are no charts on the wall saying where profits have to be,” David says of his latest entrepreneurial venture.
There is, however, a calendar. And every fourth Wednesday is booked: lunch at Restorx.