Kansas City is firing up the grills for its favorite season.
And no, it isn’t springtime or summertime. It’s barbecue time.
This barbecue season, Kansas City food tech startup Tappecue has cooked up a new online platform to complement its existing meat thermometer. The platform — launched last week — is called SessionBook, which allows grill- and smoke-masters to digitally perfect their barbecue recipes.
With the platform, users can review their cook session data to test and fine-tune recipes to create award-winning foods, said Jacob Bourret, marketing vice president of Innovating Solutions, owner of the Tappecue brand.
The Tappecue thermometer sends real-time temperature data to its phone app, enabling cooks to keep an eye on dinner while away from their grill, smoker or slow-cooker. With the addition of SessionBook, users can upload play-by-play Tappecue thermometer data, along with images, notes, recipes and more to track and perfect their barbecue processes.
Bourret sees Kansas City, with its barbecue-centric culture, as the optimal place to test and launch Tappecue products.
“We couldn’t ask for a better city to launch Tappecue,” said Bourret. “When we first launched, we were bootstrapping so we didn’t have an excess of cash flowing in to market and advertise (the product) — which means we had to get creative. Fortunately, KC has many barbecue competitions yearly.”
The company gained permission from the Kansas City Barbecue Society to hand out flyers and talk to competition participants at the society’s events. Grassroots marketing efforts like these were, and continue to be, the root of the company’s success, according to Bourret.
“People (at the competitions) got to meet the inventors and see our passion and enthusiasm for the product,” he said. “Now, our customers share that same enthusiasm and spread the word for us – from the heart of KC to the rest of the world.”
Since its July 2013 launch, Tappecue has doubled in revenue every year, with a total of 2,000 units sold to 1,700 customers. The company expects to again double those numbers by the end of 2016, according to Bourret.