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Apprentice Program Policies

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The NBBQA Apprentice Program offers aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to learn the barbecue business. Apprentices will participate in a two to four day immersion program at a successful barbecue restaurant or other business under the guidance of a recognized pitmaster. While the process for making great barbecue will be covered, the program is designed to be much more than that. Mentors are charged with conveying the full operator experience to the apprentice. From dishwashing to bookkeeping, every aspect of running the business will be covered.
The apprenticeship fee is $1,000 for the first day and $750 per day for subsequent days. The fee is payable to the National Barbecue Association and is split 50/50 between the NBBQA and the mentor. A discounted rate will be considered for apprenticeships lasting more than three days. The program also includes a complimentary one-year NBBQA Operator membership ($175 value).
Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses, which are not covered as part of the apprenticeship fee.
Individuals considering an apprenticeship should contact the NBBQA office (not the mentor) to discuss the program and request a potential mentor. The program is designed to be a two to four day immersion in a barbecue business. NBBQA will work with the individual to determine the exact length of the apprenticeship based on their existing knowledge and desired outcomes, as well as the program’s Recommended Daily Curriculum. This curriculum is designed to be cumulative and is based on the anticipated timeframe necessary to properly convey key learning objectives to the apprentice.   
NBBQA will contact the requested mentor(s) to determine their availability for the apprenticeship. The dates in which the apprenticeship will take place will be mutually agreed to by both the apprentice and the mentor.
Once the details of the apprenticeship have been agreed upon, all three parties (apprentice, mentor and NBBQA) will sign the Apprenticeship Agreement.
The Apprenticeship Agreement and Daily Curriculum are designed specifically for barbecue restaurants. Documents for apprenticeships taking place at a non-restaurant, such as a catering company or barbecue sauce maker, will need to be customized based on the specific nature of the business.
To protect the interests of the mentor, an apprentice may not live within 50 miles of the mentor’s place of business and must pledge not to open a similar business within the same 50 mile radius.

Apprentice candidates can request any mentor from the approved list. However, mentors have the final decision on which and how many apprenticeships to accept. 
Mentors must be NBBQA Operator or Trade Partner members in good standing.
Concurrent apprenticeships (more than one apprentice at the same location at the same time) are acceptable only if approved in advance by all participants.
Additional mentors may be added to the approved list upon request by either a potential mentor or apprentice. However, all mentors must be reviewed and accepted by NBBQA in advance of the apprenticeship.
Mentors from non-restaurants are acceptable. Companies involved in barbecue catering, sauce and rub sales, and equipment manufacturing are examples of other potential apprenticeship locations. NBBQA will work with all parties to develop a customized agreement based on the mentor’s business operations and the apprentice’s learning objectives.