1 BBQ. 2 Guys. 3 Days Notice.
The Canadian BBQ Boys journey through entrepreneurship and into the Dragon’s Den.
The moment Matthew McCoy and Mike Sutton heard the words $50,000, they instantly experienced relief and excitement. Feelings that reminded them of three years ago when they first began their journey to becoming entrepreneurs!
It was a hot summer day back in June 2016. After aimlessly walking through their neighborhood rehearsing what they wanted to say, Matt and Mike gathered up the courage to do something they had never done before. To knock on the door of a stranger’s house and sell them on a business idea – their business idea.
They can’t remember exactly what their pitch sounded like. They are confident it “wasn’t great”, but to their pleasant surprise they had their first customer!
What they were selling was a BBQ cleaning service. After experiencing firsthand how much their parents would spend on BBQ cleaning, they were determined to undercut the local competition and make a summer job for themselves.
The next four months of their lives were spent cleaning BBQs from 9am until 5pm and then knocking on doors from 6pm to 9pm to line up business for the next day.
“We probably knocked on over 4000 doors that summer and had the door slammed in our face a few hundred times.”
Resilience, grit, determination and hard work are just a few of the words Matt and Mike use to describe that summer.
Following that summer, they participated in the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise’s Hub Incubator program. The Hub program provided them with funding, mentorship and access to advisory services.
“The Hub program helped us to solidify our business idea, and they helped us rebrand our company from M&M BBQ Boys to Canadian BBQ Boys.”
That’s when their business really began to develop traction. Their next few summers were dramatically different than their first. They now had a team of people working for them. They were people’s bosses, with employees depending on them for work. While knocking on doors to find new clients, it was no longer only for their financial security, but for their employees’ too.
“People were counting on us to get business, they were counting on us for pay cheques”.
Matt and Mike are two fourth-year university students who own a business that grossed over $200,000 in revenue last year, and have a team of staff that report to them. You might be wondering how it can get much better than that. Well, last week Matt and Mike got a $50,000 deal, hit 1.7K followers on Instagram, and got 100 new customers – so it really does get better than that.
Matt and Mike starred on CBC’s Dragon’s Den on January 10th, 2019.
If you caught their pitch, you likely thought Matt and Mike had practiced their pitch for days. The intro was compelling, flawless and timely. But in reality, the pitch was a mix of improvisation and a few minutes of prep time.
Matt and Mike got the invitation to be on Dragon’s Den on a Sunday night two days before the audition, and one day before the launch of the summer BBQ season. They had full business days lined up on both Monday and Tuesday, but were determined to make it work. They spent Monday managing their team of staff and launching their business. Tuesday morning was spent cleaning a BBQ (which was their prop for their pitch) and prepping for the show.
They practiced their pitch in the car on their way to Toronto and had only a couple minutes once at the studio to ask questions and learn the ropes. After a quick debrief (which included finding out there would be two new dragons) they were sent to the tunnel to make their way down onto set.
The average person would not have presented such a confident, flawless pitch with such little practice –but for Matt and Mike it was “just another day in the office”. They attributed their smooth pitch to the 4000+ doors they knocked on that first summer, and every door after that. For three years they’ve been pitching their company – and they know what it’s all about! Matt and Mike impressed the dragons so much that they got exactly what they came on the show for. The boys were so excited about Jim’s offer of $50,000 for 10% that they quickly accepted, making some dragons disappointed about not having the chance to make an offer!
Matt and Mike are not just two Canadian kids who grew up in Oakville, Ontario. They are marketing students at the University of Guelph, Leaf’s fans and pizza lovers. They are the Canadian BBQ Boys and they are entrepreneurs!
Check out our website to learn more about the Hub Incubator program and how the John F. Wood Centre can help you bring your idea to life.