Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises

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Bill Miller Bar-B-Q
Type Restaurant
Founded 1953

San Antonio, Texas, United States

industry = Food, restaurant

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q is a San Antonio-headquartered restaurant chain that focuses on barbecue food, accompanying side dishes (such as potato salad and coleslaw), and baked goods.

The restaurant started as a poultry and egg business in 1950 from a $500 loan. Founder Bill Miller later expanded the business into a fried chicken take-out restaurant. The menu eventually incorporated hamburgers, and then shifted into a barbecue restaurant. The second restaurant opened in February 1963.

From the beginning, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q was a family business. Faye Miller served as a cashier and hostess while raising their four children. The children learned how to work and were raised learning the operations of the business. They worked in the restaurant during the summers and on weekends. When Bill Miller planned a vacation to Europe between Balous Miller's junior and senior years of college, Balous ran the restaurant business that summer and then decided to make Bill Miller Bar-B-Q his career rather than pursuing his plans for teaching school. Bill Miller semi-retired upon Balous' graduation in May 1966. As his brothers, John and Douglas received their degrees, they joined him in the restaurant business. The three brothers and their brother-in-law, Louis Vance, have worked together now in excess of thirty years.

69 restaurants cover the San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi markets. All foods served at the restaurants are produced in one facility in Downtown San Antonio, and are then shipped to each location daily.


William T. "Bill" Miller and Ila Faye Miller, spouses, co-founded the company in the 1950s.[1]

In 1992 Bill Miller bought the Fiesta Plaza, a failed mall, and planned to donate it to the University of Texas at San Antonio. The Fiesta Plaza is now the Downtown Campus of UTSA.[2]

Ila Faye died in 2008.[1] In 2009 the company reduced the employee health care costs by 40% after it ended its PPO program and formed partnerships with area health providers. Therefore medical providers receive reimbursement on a cost-plus basis.[3]

Business model[edit]

There were few, if any, food-to-go outlets in those early years, and Bill Miller Bar-B-Q was one of the first to offer quality food-to-go and five minute service, which was unheard of at the time. Bill Miller Bar-B-Q's concept of serving barbecued meats and fresh pies and breads on a daily basis from a central commissary is unique to its industry. Bill Miller Bar-B-Q offers a quality catering service, serving groups as small as 100 to as large as 10,000. All of the barbecue is cooked with 100% hill country live oak wood in a brick pit. Natural gas or electric heat is never used to cook the barbecue. Bill Miller designed the original barbecue pits he used in the 1950s and the large industrial sized ones used today—that will cook up to 2,500 pounds of brisket at one time in 18 to 20 hours.

Basic Operation[edit]

The central office of Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, located in Downtown San Antonio adjacent to the San Antonio Police Department's former headquarters, operates a commissary, sausage kitchen, bakery, laundry service and warehouse. The plant is built according to the U.S. Federal Government's meat-packing guidelines and is inspected routinely by the City of San Antonio and The State of Texas. The ultra modern commissary kitchen specializes in the barbecue of USDA grade beef, cooked over Texas Hill Country Live Oak fires. The bakery specializes in baking bread and pies daily. The restaurants have dining rooms and food-to-go service. Bill Miller Bar-B-Q owns all its own real estate and buildings and operates its own distribution center.


In 2001, they sold 4.5 million pounds of brisket, enough for 4 & 1/2 lbs. for every person living within San Antonio city limits at the time. They also sold 7 million pounds of chicken, 2 million links of sausage, 200 thousand slabs of pork ribs, and 9 million pounds of potatoes. They sold over 453,600 jalapeños, each one hand-sized in the field. Also, they used 1.5 million pounds of tomato paste for barbecue sauce. In 1998, they sold more chicken than beef.

They used 600 thousand tea bags to brew 3 million US gallons (11,000 m3) of tea, enough for 10 million large iced teas. It was sweetened by 2 million pounds of sugar. They sold over 100 thousand Texas Tea Buckets, a quart-size insulated drink mug.


  1. ^ a b Silva, Tricia Lynn. "Bill Miller Bar-B-Q restaurants co-founder passes away." San Antonio Business Journal. Monday August 25, 2008. Retrieved on April 3, 2010.
  2. ^ Lambeth, Laura and Jim Wood. "FIESTA.PLAZA Bill Miller poised to buy Fiesta Plaza Family plans to donate site to UTSA." San Antonio Express-News at New Britain Herald. September 24, 1992. Page 1B. Retrieved on April 3, 2010.
  3. ^ "Bill Miller Bar-B-Q cuts health costs by 40 percent." San Antonio Business Journal. Wednesday May 13, 2009. Retrieved on April 3, 2010.

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