‘BBQ Tent’ offers better service for customers


Debit cards are now being accepted at the place Florida A&M students refer to as “The BBQ Tent.”


The aroma of barbecue fills the air on FAMU’s campus each weekday. Students flock toward the hickory-flavored fragrance to find themselves inside the corridor of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

“My mouth starts to water whenever I smell Mr. Jones’ truck,” said Faneisha Barnes, a senior elementary education student from Panama City Beach. “That food is so good it’ll make you want to slap somebody.”

Ernest Jones, owner and operator of The BBQ Tent, said the tent will accept debit cards on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when he is in charge. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the Rev. Larry Hunt is running the business, only cash will be accepted.

“Business is a lot faster,” Jones said. “It has really picked up. More and more people are coming through now that we accept debit cards.”

Using an attachment to a cellphone called the Square Credit Card Reader, the barbecue tent is able to accept debit and credit cards as a form of payment.

“We use a Square,” Jones said, referring to the electronic payment service provided by Square Inc., “and with that, we’re able to email and/or text receipts to customers immediately. All cards are accepted – Visa, MasterCard, you name it – we take everything.” 

The Square app can be used with an iPhone, iPad or Android. Users can fill out a quick form, download the app and await the arrival of the attachment in the mail. The credit card reader plugs into the headphone jack of the phone, making it a mobile credit card terminal. 

“I like the fact that I don’t have to go get cash or travel all the way to the cafe to eat between classes,” said Lloyd McKens, a junior architecture student from Orlando. “I love being able to receive text messages after I make my purchase. It’s so awesome and official. I love it.”

This type of device is beneficial for small business owners like Hunt and Jones and its convenience can make a significant increase in sales.

Meals from The BBQ Tent range from $6 to $8. Ribs, chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs are cooked on the grill and are served with two sides.