We don’t just design for food, we live for food.

We recently won the opportunity to collaborate with PB&J Restaurants and Crown Center on a barbecue-centric restaurant, located just south of downtown Kansas City. We will collaborate on the design and construction of Burnt Ends BBQ which is slated to open in December 2019. While we are confident our experience and passion for creative space making is the reason we were selected, we think our history with food also played a part in the decision.

BRR’s roots are seeded in the grocery sector and we have worked on dozens of restaurants throughout our tenure. One could say we’ve designed with food and foodservice in mind for more than five decades. What many don’t know is that we have a serious passion for food, and especially BBQ. It’s become a way for our team to connect with one another and build better relationships.

Why barbecue you ask? Well, we are headquartered in the Kansas City Metro area where barbecue isn’t just a type of food, it’s an institution. Kansas City-style barbecue has been around for 100 years and the city is lovingly referred to as the BBQ Capital of the World. Surrounded by all that barbecue, it’s no surprise our leadership team eventually would incorporate it into our firm’s culture.

In 2012, our CEO at the time, Chris Rhea, took it one step further. Rhea had attended the American Royal’s World Series of Barbecue and thought it would be an opportunity for our team to combine our passion for ‘cue with another aspect of our culture – friendly competition. In our inaugural year competing, BRR took home an 18th place ribbon, out of 450, in brisket. And every year since then our team has been avid competitors at the American Royal, and they are branching out to other events as well.

Just this year there are several events planned for the BRRBQ team. BRR participated in the Design-Build Institute of America Mid-America Region (DBIA-MAR) Summer Social & BBQ Competition in Kansas City. The team placed 2nd overall and won a 1st place trophy for their popular brisket.

Down at our Austin office, the team typically holds a BBQ-centric cook every six weeks (featuring a custom-built meat smoker affectionately named Tootsie) and plans to invite local BRR clients to a BBQ this fall. The BRR Atlanta office is planning an open house BBQ event in conjunction with the NACS Show this October to cater to our clients in the convenience store industry. Our team in Bentonville plans to hold a barbecue-centric gathering this fall for the other tenants in our building, and also plans to invite students from the local universities to support ongoing recruitment efforts. Finally, our award-winning Kansas City BBQ team will also be back at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue on September 12-15.

The Kansas City office’s BRRBQ team gets plenty of practice throughout the year as they cater many of our company social events. And they are expanding the team if other employees show an interest. Their unofficial “Pitmaster in Training” program allows individuals to learn from each team member and follow the different processes of preparation, cooking, serving, etc. so they get a good understanding of what it takes. We take pride in the inclusive culture we’ve created at BRR and that we provide every employee with the opportunities that interest them – barbecue included.

At BRR, we understand the time and effort that goes into honing a pulled pork recipe or discovering the right amount of time to smoke a brisket. We know the amount of work and preparation that goes into perfecting the craft of barbecue and we love that many across our company get involved in the planning and anticipation of our events each year. This experience and passion for barbecue parallels the dedication and knowledge we bring to our client teams, as we work together to design the built environments people use every day.

About the authors:

Rich Majors, Chief Operating Office, AIA, has touched more than 100 million square feet of global retail space for BRR’s clients over the course of his 25 years. He uses his business acumen to work with various studios as they develop designs that deliver a positive ROI and elevate our clients’ building programs. Rich’s dedication to continual improvement is steady and essential for enhancing our project delivery methods. Email him.

Scott Brown, Associate, AIA, LEED AP, graduated from Lawrence Technological University with a Master of Architecture degree. Scott has over 13 years of experience in the industry and has been with BRR for nine years. He helps lead a studio of more than 25 team members working on retail remodel projects throughout the country. In addition to being a leader on his team, Scott has been a key voice in enhancing the programs and support BRR offers to professional staff pursuing licensure. He serves as an Architect Licensing Advisor on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Email him.