Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises

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Bill Miller Bar-B-Q
IndustryFood, restaurant
United States

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 in 1953 and later shifted into a barbecue restaurant.

76 Bill Miller Bar-B-Q 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, then shipped to each location daily.


William T. "Bill" Miller and Ila Faye Miller co-founded a poultry and egg delivery business in 1950 from a $500 loan.[1] The restaurant was officially founded in 1953 when they expanded the business into a fried chicken take-out restaurant.[2] The menu eventually incorporated hamburgers, and then shifted into a barbecue restaurant. The second restaurant opened in February 1963.[3]

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q was a family business. Faye Miller served as a cashier and hostess while raising their four children. The children were raised learning the operations of the business. They later worked in the restaurant during the summers and on weekends. When 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 going to teaching school. 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 for over thirty years.

In 1992, 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.[4]

In 1994, the street on which the first restaurant -shop- was located was renamed from Offer Street to Bill Miller Lane.[5]

Ila Faye died in 2008.[3] In 2009 the company reduced its 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.[6]

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 in five minutes, which was unheard of at the time. Its concept of serving barbecued meats and fresh pies and breads on a daily basis from a central commissary is unique to its industry.[citation needed] Bill Miller Bar-B-Q offers a catering service, serving groups from 100 to 10,000. Miller designed the original barbecue pits he used in the 1950s and the large industrial sized ones used today, which can cook up to 2,500 pounds of brisket at one time in 18 to 20 hours.

The central office of Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, is located in downtown San Antonio adjacent to the San Antonio Police Department's former headquarters. 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. Bill Miller Bar-B-Q owns all its own real estate and buildings and operates its own distribution center.


In 2001, Bill Miller BBQ 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, 200,000 slabs of pork ribs, and 9 million pounds of potatoes. They sold over 453,600 jalapeños. They used 1.5 million pounds of tomato paste for barbecue sauce. That year they also used 600,000 tea bags to brew 3 million gallons (11.3 million liters) of tea, enough for 10 million large iced teas. This was sweetened by 2 million pounds of sugar. They sold over 100,000 Texas Tea Buckets and "quart-size" insulated drinking mugs.

Interestingly, in 1998 Bill Miller restaurants sold more chicken than beef.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Good deal for Bill Miller Bar-B-Q's Anniversary". Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018. The business namesake, Bill Miller, opened a small poultry and egg business in 1950 and within three years started selling fried chicken-to-go.
  2. ^ "Made in SA: Bill Miller Bar-B-Q". Retrieved 4 March 2018. The history of Bill Miller Bar-B-Q starts back in 1953 with Bill and Ila Faye Miller when the two opened their first restaurant which still operates today.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "12 things to know about San Antonio's Bill Miller Bar-B-Q". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  6. ^ "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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