The Empire Strikes Back: Mongolian BBQ

No matter how you pronounce it, Genghis with a soft J or Genghis with a hard G, the founder of the Mongol Empire had it goin’ on. We personally...

No matter how you pronounce it, Genghis with a soft J or Genghis with a hard G, the founder of the Mongol Empire had it goin’ on. We personally think the hard G is most likely, since he was a badass with a sword.


After he died, the Great Khan’s conquerings became the largest contiguous empire in history. That little factoid is something for you to chew on mentally whilst you’re physically feasting on some of Khan’s legacy, Mongolian BBQ.

A study shows that we’re foregoing some so-called casual dining options in favor of limited-service, aka fast food. We admit we snarf an In-N-Out from time-2-time, but when it comes to feasting on Mongolian BBQ, we’re gonna go, as it were, whole hog on casual dining… IF, as this piece explains, the BBQ joint adheres to one or more of the five rules of conduct for eateries. We’re saying this with tongue in cheek, but go to and read for yourself.


So, OK, we tend to agree that limited-service/fast food has started offering some very innovative menu options, and service is generally quicker, thus more convenient, and it’s generally hooked up with some awesome tech stuff. Plus most of FF drive-throughers don’t tip. There’s that. And the article says we get “increased transparency regarding sustainability and food sourcing.” Hmmmm. Really?


Well, back to the five cardinal rules, which casual-dining brands “wanting to reclaim their authority in the restaurant space” should follow, according to the piece:


  1. Create affordable flavor adventures. Qdoba Mexican Grill is lauded for its Mango Mojo sauce.
  2. Introduce alcohol drink innovation that’s shareable in the social space. HERE’S where we get our Genghis on. BD’s Mongolian Grill “recently launched a summer drink menu that features common drinks but with an Asian twist… instead of a Moscow Mule, the brand is serving the Mongo Mule, made with Prairie Cucumber Vodka, Finest Call Lime Sour and ginger syrup. Plus there’s the ‘Cue.



  1. Build peer affirmation that connects your physical restaurant and the social space. Seriously? Well, in 2013 “Dairy Queen ran a three-month social media campaign that invited fans to post pictures of themselves eating food or ice cream at Dairy Queen in order to win coupons.”


  1. Give your secret recipes away on Pinterest. Chipotle “pins recipes it doesn’t serve in the restaurant but thinks its customers will like,” such as chilled avocado and mint soup, grilled capon with salsa verde, and flank steak fajitas.



  1. Integrate technology into the customer journey. Starbucks has its mobile app that “entices the customer to pay via the mobile app with freebies, it also gives them free songs and games and shows them where their nearest stores are located.”


All well and good, but let’s get back to the Empire, shall we? Tap on over to, where you’ll find that Mongolian BBQ is praised for the unlikely reason that we “enjoy having control over the contents of their plates.” Well, yeah. We enjoy having a LOT of meat and sauce, if that’s what you mean.


But there’s more. “Mongolian BBQ can also be fun, as diners typically watch the cook at work, and it can be exciting to think about the best pairings of vegetables and meats.” In a word, “Yum!”


If you’re a vegan, this might not be the best venue for you. “There are some cautions to be considered with Mongolian BBQ. Strict vegetarians, for example, should be aware that meats are cooked on the griddle, and if they are concerned about eating meat, they may want to visit a restaurant which offers a vegetarian option.” There are also religious reasons to consider. B.D.’s Mongolian Grill, as one delicious example, uses pork and seafood in its fabulous items. You also have your gluten and your nuts. Just so you know.

This link,, lists some very good Mongolian BBQ restaurants.


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