We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Friday and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, what do you attribute your success to?
By far the most important factor in our success is sustainability which admittedly has become a bit of a buzzword these days. However, its benefits are undeniable, especially for startups like ourselves. While most companies are referring only to environmental sustainability, we believe environmental sustainability when combined with sustainable business practices are the most pivotal factors in short and long-term success that any business can adopt.
What do I mean by that? We believe that when something is sustainable in business, it means that your requirements for existence continue to be at a level which you can meet over time. Too often, businesses fail within the first five years because they grow too fast, hire too many people, or take on too much debt. Their requirements for existence get too large, they can’t handle it, and they cease to exist. That’s why from the start, my business partner, Sam and I put every decision, every tiny purchase under the metaphorical microscope. We talk about whether or not X will add long-term value to our company and if not, we ask ourselves if we really need to pursue it and if there are any alternatives. Doing this initially takes more time, more effort, and more sacrifice, but hitting the easy button often comes with grave consequences as a vulnerable startup. Being sustainable for us has meant playing the long game, having patience, and doing things the hard, but right way.
By talking about all of our decisions, considering alternatives to the status quo, and quite frankly learning how to do a lot of tasks outside of our wheelhouse ourselves, we’ve not only acquired a more diverse skillset, but we’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars and have grown to be in over 100 retailers in over 13 states and counting during a global pandemic. However, all this comes on the back of our belief in environmental sustainability.
When a company such as ours claims to be environmentally sustainable, it means that we’re interacting with the environment in a way that avoids the depletion or degradation of natural resources which allows for long-term environmental health. As a company which takes food from the earth and creates granola bars, it is in our best long-term interest as a business to make sure that our environment is healthy so that we don’t have to worry about not having the ingredients we need to produce our products. That’s at least partially why we do things such as consciously sourcing all of our ingredients from organic farms, sealing our products in plant-based compostable packaging, donating one percent of all our revenue to environmental non-profits, and using recycled paper boxes free of any plastic tape. The other part is that we really love playing outdoors and want to preserve it for future generations to play in as well.
Every single company in the world takes resources from the natural world and uses them to operate their business in. some way. I would argue that because of our undeniable link between business and the natural world, it’s our duty as businesses to be conscious of our impact on the planet and do our very best to become even just a little more sustainable if we want to thrive and be here for the long run.
What should our readers know about your business?
BAR-U-EAT is all about having fun, making bad jokes, and enjoying the outdoors while being fervently committed to making delicious, healthy, and sustainable snacks.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Visiting Steamboat Springs, you’ll want to start every day by heading over to the Drunken Onion to pickup a breakfast burrito and some BAR-U-EAT bars to-go.
In the winter, you can enjoy skiing on Steamboat Resort or pop over to Bluebird Backcountry followed by Apres at T-Bar or Truffle Pig. Then in the evening, head on over to Strawberry Hot Springs to soak those sore muscles back to health.
In the Spring, Summer, and Fall, checkout North Routt’s Mount Zirkel Wilderness for one of the most epic hikes that the area has to offer. On lazier days, make the short hike over to Fish Creek Falls or rent a standup paddle board from Hala Gear Space and float down the Yampa River which goes right through town. Also, checkout Steamboat Flyfisher to rent some gear, book a trip, and catch some fish!
Steamboat in normal years has a fairly active nightlife and lots of live music. Walk up and down Lincoln Ave and drop in to one of the many bars and restaurants that downtown has to offer.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m so lucky to have an amazing group of friends and family that are always so supportive of my crazy ideas, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give the majority of credit to my parents. They’re always there for me to bounce ideas off of and willing to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever they can. I appreciate you all!