Throughout the year, Rutz’s BBQ & Catering is known for providing catered meals for weddings, corporate events and other special events. Now that COVID-19 continues to keep much of the country shut down, Rutz’s is relying on its reputation for BBQ and homemade sides.
It’s all about adapting, owner Shawn Rutz said.
“You’ve got to learn to adapt,” he reiterated. “A lot of your businesses, you’ve got to be willing to be creative and figure out different ways to make money and stay afloat in a situation like this.”
That’s been part of Rutz’s history throughout, though. After starting the businesses in 2001 “by fixing BBQ chicken for the first time for a family member’s birthday,” according to the company’s website, things began to take off. That led to starting the catering side of the business and the food trailer came not long after.
Each step has come with finding new ways to make the business successful.
Adapting now for Rutz’s is pushing focus away from the catering jobs that bring in much of the money made in any given season and instead focusing on selling food out of their concession trailer, their Edinburg location and even at the cafeteria at the Winchester Livestock Exchange.
In the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, Rutz said he began to get event cancellations for their catering services. Then the calls just didn't stop coming in.
“Everything that we had scheduled in April, May and June was pretty much canceled,” he said. “Now we’re starting to see an effect later down the road. I’ve had people cancel events that they had scheduled in October.”
That’s when Rutz and his wife Amanda switched gears.
The concession trailer is typically out and about each Friday, recently making stops at the Woodstock Tractor Supply.
From the trailer, Rutz said customers can buy BBQ brisket or BBQ pork to go with sides like macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans and baked apples. Drinks are also available.
Amanda, he said, has been making some desserts like cakes, pies and peanut butter and Oreo balls.
Rutz said the community support he’s seen not just for his business but shops all around has been wonderful to see.
“It’s been overwhelming,” he said. “They’re out there trying to support local people and small businesses to try and keep them afloat. The support has definitely been there from the community.”
Rutz said they’re still doing public dinners at 107 N. Main St. in Edinburg, but orders are for curbside pick-up and delivery. The next meal, he said, is scheduled for the end of the May and another is slated for Father’s Day. Rutz said he hopes by Father’s Day patrons will be able to eat inside the building.
For more information on dates and times of Rutz’s BBQ’s concession trailer, visit RUTZ Catering on Facebook.