The concept of opening a BBQ joint in a gas station is about as genius as calling a BBQ place in Kansas City ….Oklahoma and yet with those two strikes against it Oklahoma Joe’s still hit a homerun with its food. The Z-Man quickly became one of KC’s most raved about BBQ sandwiches not to mention you can substitute pork for brisket to make it even better. “Pork Z-Man Please!” But with years of building a name brand by turning the words “Oklahoma Joe’s” into a household name the KC owners of Oklahoma Joe’s have arranged a split with the name, and with Oklahoma Joe’s namesake, Joe Davidson. On the surface the move looks like a poor marketing decision but when you look at the underlying business reason’s it makes plenty of sense. So here’s a rundown on the reasons behind the name change.
- Jeff & Joy Stehney are the Oklahoma Joe’s owners in Kansas City
- Joe Davidson is the Co-Founder of Oklahoma Joe’s in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Joe’s opened locations in 1996 in both Stillwater, OK and the in the original KCK gas station location
- In the late 1990 Joe Davidson moved from Oklahoma to Texas and closed down the Stillwater location
- At that time the Stehneys became sole owners of the KCK location and later opened new locations in Olathe & Leawood Kansas
- In 2000 Joe Davidson moved back to Oklahoma
- In 2011 Joe opened a location in Broken Arrow, OK and one in Tulsa, OK in 2012
- A few years back the Stehneys & Davidson worked out a deal where the Stehneys would change the name of their KC locations within five years
- Both sets of owners will stay out of the others territories until 2021
- Davidson plans to open another Tulsa Oklahoma Joe’s location in 2015 along with two locations in Washington, D.C. He also plans to sell the Oklahoma Joe’s sauce nationwide from a facility in Tulsa
- While the Stehneys could also go nationwide with Joe’s KC they’ve been quoted as saying they want to stay in KC with any new locations
- The name change to Joe’s KC started to roll out at local locations on Nov 17th, 2014
So when it comes to Oklahoma Joe’s in KC the only thing that has changed is the name; same local owners, same staff, same great food. Now that I know the reasons behind the name change I’ll stop thinking the Stehneys are crazy and order another Pork Z-Man.