Before I give you the 3 reasons to keep it simple like Peebles Barbecue, let me help you understand my connection.

I grew up two miles from the iconic and legendary Peebles Barbecue Restaurant. We moved to Auburndale, FL when I was eight years old and I lived “down the road” from Peebles during my coming-up years.

As a child and early teenager, I did not understand how this restaurant drew people from across the state of Florida to enjoy their ribs, pork, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, and two slices of bread all served on paper plates and eaten with plasticware. I guess I took this legendary restaurant for granted.

Many famous folk; singers, athletes, and politicians have graced the heavily lacquered wooden tables and chairs to enjoy smoked meat smothered in Peebles’ signature barbecue sauce.

I have since come to understand the nostalgic flavor and down-home atmosphere has a strong pull on those who enjoy simpler times. For over 75 years, Peebles has been keeping it simple and serving the same comfort food generation, after generation.3 reasons to keep it simple

On my last visit, I decided to ask the ever-present Dale Strickland why Peebles has kept it simple for all these years. Dale and his wife Marsha Peebles Strickland are the current owners of Peebles Barbeque. Dale told me he was an outlaw (in-law) I related to his whimsical interpretation as I worked in a family business for most of my career and often referred to myself as an outlaw.

Here are 3 Reasons to Keep It Simple:

1. Simple is Easy to Pass On

Elle Peebles started selling barbeque in 1947 from his carport adjacent to where the current restaurant was built a few years later. Peebles is one of the oldest restaurants in Polk County. Elle Peebles started small and grew into a sustainable business that has now spanned generations.

Dale has been smoking meat for 43 of the 75 years Peebles has been in business. When I asked him if he was considered a pitmaster, he shrugged his shoulders in authentic humility and said, “I don’t guess I am ever a master. I am always learning.” He continued “My daughter does most of the cooking these days”.

2. Simple is Easy to Teach

As a customer of Peebles, you can sit in awe of the busy bees piling up the barbeque and all the fixin’s from behind the painted plywood counters. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, there is a system that has worked for years. A place for everything and everything in its place. The servers dance around each other by memory because everything is where it has always been.

No new initiatives or complex computer software to manage at this restaurant. Need to change the pricing due to the current increase in supply costs? Simply remove the poster boards from the wall and replace them with new menus and updated pricing.

3. Simple Works Best

As I write this blog article it seems simple or almost intuitive, however, simple ain’t easy. Too often we overcomplicate things in an effort to make them better. Have you ever thought or said, “It can’t be that easy” Well, the fact is, many times it can? And, when, appropriate we should make things simpler.

I am not making the argument that there isn’t a place or need for complex things, but when we can simplify something… simple will work best. Barbecue is not rocket science and many of the things you do in your profession aren’t rocket science either.

Simple Leadership Lesson…

Removing unnecessary steps or restrictions will allow people to better understand what is required of them. Giving them the freedom to perform with less complexity and hurdles. No one likes to do something for the sake of doing it or because they were told so. We all want to know that our efforts are effective and result in positive outcomes.

Check out Peebles simple website: Home (

Want to remove hurdles and decrease complexities for your team? Contact Brian Brogen