In 1998, Brent Swadley sold barbecue in Walmart parking lots before graduating to a burgeoning catering operation. One of those catering events ended up setting up Swadley for years of success and nature disaster relief work. After a bad ice storm knocked out the power in Oklahoma City and its surrounding areas, Swadley received a phone call in the middle of the night asking if he could cater breakfast for 700 linesmen who had arrived to help get the power back on. The man on the phone was a client who had Swadley cater his daughter’s wedding, and he clearly left an impression on him.
Twenty-three years later, Swadley’s Bar-B-Q has grown to seven locations in OKC and the surrounding areas, two additional concepts named Jim’s Famous Chicken and Foggy Bottom Kitchen, a 6,000 sq. ft. catering operation and Swadley’s Emergency Response Team (SERT).
“We are contracted with the utility companies when there’s a natural disaster to provide logistical support and foodservice to the mutual assistance providers who have come in from out of state to get the power back on,” said Curt Breuklander, Executive VP of Operations at Swadley’s.
SERT has served more than one million meals to workers since its inception in 1999.
“We got connected with people through that industry. We’re country-wide, from coast to coast. We work hurricanes down in the Gulf, Florida, we’ve worked in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, all up and down the coast.”
For years, SERT utilized Cambro’s heavy-duty insulated transport products, but when they saw the Cam GoBox® Front Loaders at the National Restaurant Show a few years ago, they immediately placed an order so they could give them a try.
“We absolutely fell in love with them. All we use is those Cambro GoBoxes now so, they’re just amazing. I think their lightweight and durability is probably the best aspect to them,” said Breuklander.
Armed with more than 50 GoBoxes, Swadley’s is able to handle any catering event or SERT assignment they encounter.
PROTIP: “We’ll pour a little hot water in them before we get ready to load them just to create some steam in there and create a little heat, the foam is such a great insulator that when we do that it just sets it off. It’s a great product,” said Breuklander.
In addition to Cambro’s insulated transport units, Swadley’s uses a wide range of storage products.
“Well, you know, Cambro is just like an international word for food storage box. We use everything from the 4qt to the 8qt to the 22qt food containers,” said Breuklander. “It’s just such a good brand name. I’ve been in the food industry for 30 years and Cambro is always it, to the point that I spec it,” said Breuklander. Our GoBoxes are available in multiple sizes with both front and top loader design options. Not sure which GoBox is best for your operation? Use our To-Go Container Solution for a personalized recommendation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.