Comfort food, loyal customers keep Ole South Barbeque successful

September 1, 2019 | 3:10 am

Updated August 31, 2019 | 8:53 pm

Greg Floyd bought Ole South Barbeque almost seven years ago. He now employs 40 and has expanded his catering business. | Photo by AP Imagery

When Greg Floyd bought Ole South Barbeque almost seven years ago, he saw it as the perfect opportunity to serve great food to Owensboro. After closing the business for eight weeks of cleaning, restructuring and reorganizing, the restaurant reopened its doors. Restaurant regulars and new faces flooded in, pleased with home cooked food and atmosphere.

“I couldn’t pass the opportunity up,” Floyd said. “It’s a great location on Highway 54. Traffic was there. Providing southern comfort food — good green beans, good corn, good corn bread keeps customers coming back.”

According to Floyd, much of the food is made in-house. The salad is fresh, they make their own bacon bits, even the croutons are created from scratch. Prior to the reopening, the breakfast buffet was geared to weekend days, and a partial buffet was served twice a week. The full breakfast bar is now offered seven days a week and makes up a significant portion of the business.

Ole South once operated with just eight employees but has grown in recent years to 40. With catering available as well, the restaurant has been staying busy. Floyd attributes much of the success of Ole South to community support.

“When we re-opened, I realized that this is a word of mouth town — that’s what I was counting on,” he said. “Offering great food at a great price and a location that is not out of people’s way, brought lots of customers in.”

Ole South Barbeque was originally established in 1995 in the same location. Nearly 25 years later, some of the customers are the same ones who visited for barbecue when the doors first opened. According to Floyd, several regulars are there seven days a week. Several servers have many years in as well, many of them have been serving for at least 15 years.

“All the people, the customers especially make it special. There are servers who will surprise you with their memory,” Floyd said. “They will remember you and what your drink order is as soon as you walk in.”

Floyd’s goal is for his restaurant to get just a little better everyday. Rather than looking for monumental progress in a certain area, he tells his employees that it’s about continuous improvement.

“Keeping a friendly staff and a place that my employees look forward to coming to is important to me. I want them to enjoy coming to work and not dread it,”Floyd said.

Another aspect of growth for Ole South has been an increase in catering over the past few years. Floyd says Ole South provides catering services for several weddings a month and recently completed an order for over 1,200 people. Although he does not have a history of working in the food industry, Floyd says the finance side of his job, which is more his expertise, and hiring good people has helped him keep up with the growth.

“I love Owensboro. Our people appreciate good food and good service. They are loyal; word of mouth is my main advertising. People in our community talk, which is a good thing,” Floyd said.

September 1, 2019 | 3:10 am

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