The Secret Sauce Project

The Players

The Players

The Players

Frank Alfonso
Frank AlfonsoThis co-founder of Big Papa's BBQ restaurants is "Big Papa" in every sense of the word. He's big. He's a papa (with a son and a daughter). And he knows his barbecue. Alfonso's first job in the business--slinging ribs, of course--was while he was an undergrad at the University of Florida about 30 years ago. Since then, Alfonso has perfected his sauces and managed nearly a dozen restaurants.

Bill Cossoff
Bill CossoffThe quieter, more cerebral half of the Big Papa's founding duo focuses on the business side of restaurant operations. In addition to a career in commercial real estate (and a few years as a ballet dancer), Cossoff has spent two decades as an entrepreneur--most recently helping to launch the Newton Running Co. brand.

John Gilbert
John GilbertGilbert, digital creative director at LeeReedy/Xylem Digital, is the brains behind the print and digital artwork in Big Papa's social media campaign. If some of the images look hand-drawn, it's because they are. Gilbert embraces technology, but he's a huge fan of creating art in traditional ways.

Jamie Reedy
Jamie ReedyConsider Reedy the voice of the social networking challenge. As strategist and copywriter for LeeReedy/Xylem Digital, he pens the almost-daily blog, as well as all marketing materials. Reedy also masterminded some of the pop-up events (the rib-away at the University of Denver hockey game was his idea).

Scott Snyder
Scott SnyderAs a principal and chief strategy officer for LeeReedy/Xylem Digital, Snyder was the first to suggest Big Papa's as the subject for our social media makeover. Since then, he's worked with Cossoff and Alfonso every step of the way, setting expectations and keeping them engaged.

Nick Williams
Nick WilliamsFor the first half of the challenge, every tweet and status update from Big Papa's was written by Williams, a producer and social strategist on the LeeReedy/Xylem Digital team. He's also a barbecue junkie; Alfonso and Cossoff have considered naming their next sauce after him.

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Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor in Healdsburg, Calif. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and has covered startups and entrepreneurship for The New York Times, TIME and CIO. He also covers a variety of other topics, including travel, parenting, education and -- seriously -- gambling. He can be found on his personal website,

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This article was originally published in the February 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Secret Sauce Project.

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