Last week, we shared the story behind Indios Carbonsitos. Here, we move from savory to sweet to share the advice and inspiration that fuels CoffeeCakeKC.
So why a food truck?
While I'd like to say that the truck was my idea...I can't take credit for it. My baking partner at the time had a dream of putting a cupcake truck on the streets of Kansas City and a common Twitter acquaintance of us both thought my coffee would pair well. All we had to do was taste each other’s products to know this was going to be a treat for the people of KC.
How and when did you started?
We became official December 15, 2010 . Although we did a 'soft' opening on Black Friday just to see if the layout and equipment was working as we had hoped. The dead of winter in Kansas isn't exactly the ideal time to start a food trukc, but I'm glad we did. It let us streamline operations before the busy season really hit us.
Describe your culinary niche.
I'm fond of saying "We only do two things, but we do them really well - Coffee and Cupcakes." Our new baking partner, 3 Women and an Oven, makes cakes that are little works of art. (I love seeing how the sun reflects off the fairy dust they spring on the buttercream.) I roast every bean that gets served out of the truck myself, and I've found out that along with roasting, I really enjoy making people coffee. I've been told several times that my espresso-based drinks are the best folks have tried, bringing a smile to my face every time I hear it.
How did you decide on that?
I've been roasting coffee for the better part of the last decade, and went 'pro' in June '09. The truck has been a great way for me to get my brand out in front of thousands of faces.
What was the biggest challenge to getting your business up and, pardon the pun, rolling?
For us, the biggest challenge has been finding places that were excited to host our truck and provide enough business to make it worthwhile. Our Big Orange Truck Thursdays have really shaped up into a fun day, and we're looking to expand that to other days of the week too.
Who helped you the most?
Our Twitter and Facebook followers have been great at evangelizing our truck. Word of mouth and reputation are incredibly important in our business
When did you know that you had something special?
That soft opening I talked about earlier...we knew we were on to something great that very first night. It was so exciting to see our proof of concept working that I don't think any of us actually went to sleep when we got back home at 4am.
What has been your best/craziest/most awesome event so far?
The best event we've had so far was very recent. The opening of the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. The news reported that approximately 50k people showed up for the event, even with the rain. I believe it!! We sold every baked good we had on the truck and I have never made so many coffees in a single day. Had a steady line for several hours - it was a rush!
One other time we served 60 cakes and 60 smoothies in 10 minutes for a company that wanted to surprise their line workers with a treat. They faked a fire drill and shut down the line for everyone to come outside and see our truck and smiling faces waiting outside for them.
What are the plans for the future?
We would like to add more catering days to our schedule, especially out in Johnson County where we live and I roast coffee.
What advice would you give to other food trucks?
Be unique and don't quit your day job just yet.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Success is a marathon, not a sprint.