Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tortillaville: Seeking Partners

Well, the grill has barely cooled over at Tortillaville, Hudson. It was a scorching Summer season, both literally and business wise. To cap it off, we sold the food truck operation at the last possible date we could have. While we wish those folks only the best for success, and will do everything in our power to assist them, we are already thinking of our immediate future. Due in large part to the fact that we retained the Tortillaville name, brand, domain and recipes, we are thinking of starting anew, but on the other side of the river. We are looking into purchasing real estate where we can operate the brick and mortar Tortillaville. We may also have a small food cart for parties and events as well. We are currently exploring the concept of working partners. In doing so, Allison and I would like to hear from you - two partners, individuals or couples, who are willing to invest $50K each to own 25% of the business (only) not the real estate. This arrangement would allow the business to stay open more days per week, and to have the dollars earned go to the principals, rather than several employees. We would still have employees perhaps, but not as many with partners. The idea is that the partners get a salary while they work, and don't work, but that their full investment should easily be recouped within five years time. If you like the idea of living and working in a lovely community, and at a busy business - but one where the emphasis is to enjoy life, and part time work, knowing that you have other interests, this might be the perfect opportunity for you. If all goes well, we might even open in the Summer of 2014.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tortillaville Lives:

We had a good run. 5 years, 40K burritos, 25K tacos, over 20K drinks, and a book, So, we have everything to be happy about. And, we are. Truth be told, five years of food truck life is enough. It is one of the hardest jobs that I have ever experienced. But, I would have changed little. On the most part, I am very pleased with our business. I made some mistakes along the way, but such is life; live and learn. I was telling a Yelp sales person who called me just today that with food trucks, customers do not just get good, affordable, food - they are invited into the kitchen - literally. This is not as much a good thing as it is a fact. Can you imagine a typical restaurant kitchen that is slammed with business, lunch time, weekend, "in the weeds" and all, have a customer come into said kitchen for a causal conversation with the chef? How long have you been doing this? Where are you from? Did you go to school for cooking? And, on and on. I mean, it is enjoyable to a point - until the breaking point that is, but that is what working in a successful and busy food truck can be like. It is only disappointing when you are overwhelmed, and said customer walks away thinking, Boy, is that guy uptight and rude. It can be a no win situation at times. Fortunately, that is only a small percentage of the time. The rest of the time is a pretty good experience. I just never expected to be so totally consumed by it all; order food, pick up food, distribute food, store food, prep food, cook food, cut food, freeze food, (all this on your days off). Then, buy ice, buy propane, ferry food, heat up food, cook food, and open for business. Of course, there is; gather garbage, rid garbage, recycle bottles (300 per week), recycle cardboard, and the all important - rest. Because, it's all going to start again after your two day break. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The season is only 5 months and 90 days long. But, if you count the prep days, and you have to, it is really a 120 day season - straight. Then, you get 6 glorious months of unemployment to; enjoy, get in debt, and start your season all over again. If you start mid May like we do, you are not "in the black" until July. But, for whatever reason, it worked out for us. We worked for it, but it worked enough for us where we were able to; keep out of debt, pay insurance and taxes, purchase a mobile home and boat, a couple of kayaks, and live off the business for 5 incredible years. Then, one day, those magic words came flowing in through the back door. In the book, those magic words were, "that was the best burrito I've ever had, thank you." but in this case, after 5 complete seasons, and 7 if you count the two we spent in the FL Keys, the magic words were this; "I think that I would like to buy your food truck." Actually, it was more like, "Are you the owner?" And I'm like, "Maybe, who's asking?" He continues, "My wife has been following your posts, and I think that we would like to buy your food truck." And, I'm like - "please if there is a god up there... ... don't be cruel to me at this point of the season, or life." And, it seems that there is, because they did, (buy the food truck), and we are now unemployed - in a whole new way. For just several thousand dollars more, they could have opted to own the name, brand, business as well. But, they chose not to. They chose to go with a different name, and just keep the cuisine - Mexican. So, this is not the good bye post that I thought I might be writing after all. It is even better. We are still Tortillaville. We still own the name, brand, business, domain, recipes and screen door. We still have wholesale and franchise options. Our book still follows a week-in-the-life of Tortillaville. We have another opportunity to rise again - either as food truck or brick and mortar. And, we get another chance to sell the business (and name) if we want to. Tortillaville lives! We still have a Plan B to fall back on. And, (coming up to Thanksgiving) that is something to be very thankful for. And now, we have five glorious months in the fabulous Florida Keys to enjoy. Thank you customers - sincerely. BTW, just in case you need a gift idea, may I recommend Food Truck 411 (Amazon). Or, perhaps 4 nights for two in the FL Keys (private trailer, private bath, AC, wifi, laundry, bicycles and kayaks), just $400 total is something to treat yourselves to, A day of fishing and snorkeling is just another $150.00. Just putting it out there. As we ourselves learned on a recent late Fall day - one never knows. Call 518-291-6048 for reservations.