Enterprise versus personal goodwill explained through local barbeque joints

Posted Thursday, March 10th, 2022 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Equitable Distribution/Property Division, Of Interest to Family Court Litigants, Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys, South Carolina Specific

The distinction between enterprise goodwill and personal goodwill confuses a number of family law attorneys. But any Charleston area attorney who loves barbeque will probably understand it by comparing two NoMo (North Morrison) barbeque joints, Rodney Scott’s BBQ (which I will call “Rodney’s” to distinguish it from its namesake, Rodney Scott) and Home Team BBQ.

The NoMo area is renowned for having three great barbeque joints within blocks of each other. Lewis Barbecue, the third, physically abuts Home Team; Rodney’s is 0.6 miles away. All three opened within a few years of the other. All have a slightly different emphasis and areas of expertise.

Most foodies prefer Rodney’s over Home Team but they each have their uses. Rodney Scott’s pork smoking skills were so noteworthy that the New York Times wrote about him while he was still smoking pigs for his family’s convenience store in Hemingway, South Carolina. He’s a James Beard Best Chef and Restuarant Southeast award winner–the first barbeque chef and restaurant to win such an award. When I want the best smoked pork, I go to Rodney’s. When I have foodie friends visit Charleston, Rodney Scott’s BBQ is an essential stop.

Home Team’s smoked pork simply isn’t as good. However, Home Team has a greater variety of food, has a nicer outdoor setting, can function as a sports bar (especially when the weather is pleasant), has late night options, and a strong cocktail game (Rodney’s only serves beer and wine). Home Team clearly has its uses.

If placing a business value on either Home Team or Rodney’s, a forensic accountant would find substantial goodwill. Both restaurants generate business (hence revenue/profits) due to their names and reputations. Their value is much greater that the value of their accounts receivables minus accounts payable plus hard assets. Both businesses have opened other locations (Home Team’s downtown Charleston location wasn’t its first) and these new locations are immediately busy due to their reputation. This is literally goodwill.

However Rodney’s goodwill is mainly personal and Home Team’s is mainly enterprise. Rodney’s personal goodwill doesn’t require Rodney Scott to be manning the barbeque pits–an impossibility given the multiple locations. However, many folks (this blogger included) go to Rodney’s to taste Rodney Scott’s singular vision of barbeque. This personal goodwill exists even if Mr. Scott is a minority shareholder in the business. Rodney Scott won the James Beard award being a chef as well as for his restaurant. If Rodney Scott sold his restaurants and the company name to someone else and opened a barbeque pit under a different name, foodies would go to his new restaurant rather then to the “Rodney Scott’s BBQ” under a new owner and pitmaster. It is Rodney Scott’s reputation that drives business; thus the goodwill is personal.

In contrast, I couldn’t tell you who the owners of Home Team BBQ are. I couldn’t tell you who the head pitmasters are at each Home Team BBQ location–or even if Home Team has one head pitmaster overseeing all their locations. I go to Home Team because I want late night barbeque or to enjoy the laid back/sports bar/outdoor vibe. If Home Team changes pitmasters I wouldn’t know it and I’ll likely keep going so long as the food remains good and I enjoy the vibe. Folks go to Home Team BBQ because they like Home Team BBQ restaurants; that restaurant has enterprise goodwill.

To summarize: if you like the chef, that’s personal goodwill; if you like the restaurant that’s enterprise goodwill.

5 thoughts on Enterprise versus personal goodwill explained through local barbeque joints

  1. David L. DeVane says:

    As a lifetime BBQ fan I could not agree more. I have adopted the mantra of the old bumper sticker: “I brake for BBQ”.

  2. Joe Mendelsohn says:

    A lot of expertise on pork BBQ , by a nice “Jewish boy “. What would your grand momma say.
    Enjoyed your article.
    Stay well.
    JoeMendelsohn

    1. Neither grandmother kept kosher or was particularly religious.

  3. Ed Kronsberg says:

    For your brain file cabinet – In 2006, with little in his pocket, much support from friends and family, and a “white tablecloth” culinary background, Aaron Siegel turned Bunch’s mid 1900’s gas station into a fun neighborhood barbecue joint in Charleston, SC – the first Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ.

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