Finding a focus:  The Concept

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We would create a Fast Casual dining experience that acts as a blueprint for many stores, possibly even as a franchise.  This would be similar in size/scope to a place like Punch Pizza in Minneapolis: a simple kitchen area with a counter for queueing/ordering, a medium-small dining room for quick turnover. 

CURRENT EXPERIENCE:

We are currently running a small pop-up operation at local Artisan Markets as well as at the Braeswood Farmer's Market in Bellaire every Saturday and some Sundays.  We do the prep on Friday night, then setup, operation, break down happens day-of.  We have many repeat customers - regulars that come every week for a waffle!

BENEFITS:

We make a quick cook/serve product with very high margins.  There exists an opportunity with decent volume to capitalize on these margins and generate healthy profits. 

CONS:

We currently own much of the kitchen equipment needed to start the initial location, but a buildout would be quite expensive none the less.  Finding a restaurant that is closing would help to defray startup costs.  This model would require 7 days a week and would be nearly impossible to run while holding other employment.

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We currently offer 4 different products: 

  • Maple Balsamic Waffle & Pancake syrup

  • Original Overnight Waffle & pancake Mix

  • Gluten Free Overnight Waffle Mix

  • Maple Mustard

We would focus on the production and distribution of these products into wholesale markets.  Sales are currently only done DTC through our website and at the local markets.

CURRENT EXPERIENCE:

We have been manufacturing and selling these products for the past year online.  We currently do not have the manufacturing capacity for large wholesale accounts and would need to scale substantially to fill such orders.  Also production for wholesale would require commercial production space.

BENEFITS:

With proper distribution, there is a clear path to move the product into other US markets.  The current packaging is strong and the products themselves are high quality and could be sold for more than the current lower quality alternatives.

CONS:

The cost of rapid scaling would likely require outside investment.  Product demos would be more challenging to organize as distribution spreads.

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This service includes the leasing of all equipment associated with making waffles including commercial waffle iron, condiment chiller, batter fridge, and hand tools.  Additionally we can include a commercial fryer if the client wants to be able to make Chicken and Waffles.  We provide the waffle batter on demand with 24 hour prior notice via our online order form.  Accounts are Net 30 and billed monthly.

CURRENT EXPERIENCE:

We are currently starting to test this idea to see if it is viable.  We have verbal agreements with a local coffee shop and a local brewery here in Houston.  We plan to target coffee shops & breweries first, and any other place that has limited menu service.  We then will reach out to existing restaurants to see if they can use our service to add to their existing menus.

BENEFITS:

The start-up costs are not high in the proof-of-concept phase.  If the model turns out to work, it would be more simple to manage than would a large food service or products model.  If it works in one US market, there is no reason why it wouldn't work in all others so there is a solid opportunity for scaling.

CONS:

As we generate more customer accounts, we will need to have access to substantial capital in order to fund the initial equipment purchases.  We are not certain that this is a viable model for a business.