Building a Bone-In Business

Food service has been John Sayklay’s business for the past three decades plus. Since 2015, his company, JR & Sons Food Distribution, has been known around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for supplying restaurants with high-quality ingredients like beef, chicken and seafood. Before that, Sayklay performed similar work in his hometown of El Paso. 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mr. Sayklay, a Frisco resident, contemplated offering something different. So, just this past April, he launched the Bone-In Butcher Shop, a business where customers receive artisanal prime cuts delivered straight to their doorsteps. 

Bone-In Butcher Shop offers various cuts and grades of beef, chicken, lamb and pork via its website. All beef is wet aged for 28 days and most orders have a two to seven-day lead time because everything is freshly cut per demand.

Over the past several months, Sayklay’s new venture, which he operates with his oldest son Jake, a recent graduate and former golfer at Dallas Baptist University, has already developed a solid and constantly growing customer base. “Well, the response has been great. We thought this would be a great idea for the retail consumer because we, as consumers, are frustrated when you walk into the grocery store or your local butcher shop and cannot find what you want,” Sayklay said. “The only way you can get those cuts is to go into a restaurant. I like to think of us as a niche boutique butcher shop that delivers quality cuts to your door. It’s like fine dining but in the privacy, comfort and safety of your home.”

Among his beef best sellers are his five cuts, Wagyu beef, including the top sirloin baseball cut and brisket/chuck hamburger patties. Bone-In Butcher Shop also offers several varieties of ribs (baby backs, spareribs, St. Louis style) and a pork tomahawk rib chop, which averages between 14 and 16 ounces. 

Bone-In Butcher Shop’s successful formula is resonating with DFW residents like David Hockemeyer of Coppell. “I like the ‘direct to the consumer from the butcher’ model. Often, it’s hard to find fresh quality brisket and ribs in your local supermarket,” Hockemeyer said. “With the Bone-In Butcher Shop, you know it’s fresh and delivered right to your door. What a concept!”

Sayklay credits Bone-In Butcher Shop’s early success to following the same principles which have governed his food service career. “We take great pride in our fill rates,” Mr. Sayklay said. “We take fulfillment rates very seriously because we’ve been programmed that way. You only get one chance to make a first impression, especially in this day and age. We’re very aware and we’re not going to let the opportunity slip by.”

Truly a Family Business

Food has been in Mr. Sayklay’s blood for much of his life but only recently did that passion transfer into his eldest son, Jake, who absolutely enjoys working alongside his father. “Oh, it’s awesome. I love it!” Jake said. “He has a very high reputation in the food industry. He’s made a pretty big footprint over the last 35 years. I didn’t really have many interests besides golf, so when we moved from El Paso to Frisco in 2015, we were exposed heavily to the high-end restaurants and places to eat in the Dallas area. I got really hooked into the food world. We work great together and it’s awesome to bounce ideas off each other. I think we’re flourishing in a great way, doing things that no one else is and providing people with safe, reliable ways to eat high-quality food.”

It’s clear from talking to Mr. Sayklay that the strong respect between father and son is mutual. “Well, he’s a sponge. He’s picked this up rather quickly,” John said. “I’m really old school but he is refreshing in that he relates to most of the chefs at the restaurants that we work with. In fact, he’s on such a quick pace that pretty soon he’s going to be running the butcher shop all by himself. I am happy with sitting in the back, sourcing product, taking care of the operation. But he is the face of the Bone-In Butcher Shop. His passion for food and the way he communicates in wanting to tell the world about our business is great to see.” Mr. Sayklay is equally proud of his youngest son, Nicholas (21 years of age), who he sees entering the family business in the future.

 

Not Resting on Their Laurels

Bone-In Butcher Shop has already been featured in D Magazine, Forbes.com and received a nice write-up from Texas Monthly’s Dallas-based BBQ editor, Daniel Vaughn. However, despite their early successes, the Sayklay’s are not content. Instead, they continue looking forward and seeing how they can continue growing their newest venture. One way which Bone-In Butcher Shop will accomplish this goal is by adding seafood to its product portfolio in September, a move which Mr. Sayklay views as the company’s logical next step. “It was always part of the plan. It’s just taken a little bit of strategy,” Mr. Sayklay said. “We’re going to offer wild-caught and sustainably harvested cuts of seafood, but all frozen and portion-controlled. If we lived on the East or West Coast or down on the Gulf, then maybe fresh fish would be an option. But I think this is a safer way to go and a safer method to handle. The seafood will always be frozen, but we’ll have some really nice things to offer.”

In addition to seafood, Bone-In Butcher Shop will also begin offering other products like caviar, compound butter and hollandaise sauce. Just in time for fall and the holidays, the Bone-In Butcher Shop will also provide hams, rib roasts and turkeys. “We’re gearing up for what we hope to be a busy fall and holiday season. We’re a first-class company,” John said. “We want to act like a professional organization.” After several months of renting refrigerated vans to deliver product, Bone-In Butcher Shop recently purchased its first white panel delivery van, which will eventually bear the company name, website and phone number for all to see as it traverses the Metroplex serving its ever-expanding clientele. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery, whether it’s takeout from your favorite restaurant, groceries or the like, has become increasingly popular due to its convenience and safety. Even before the coronavirus took center stage in all our lives, Mr. Sayklay had thought about starting a business delivering high-quality cuts of meat right to one’s doorstep, and despite beginning operations in April, the Bone-In Butcher Shop has already built a strong customer base and reputation for delivering quality meat without a trip to the butcher or grocery store. With the purchase of their new van and offering new products, the Bone-In Butcher Shop is off to an impressive start, but its future appears even brighter.

For more information visit BoneInButcherShop.com