Half-smokes as the epitome of DC street food? $.23 piece of “meat product”…not food Street carts are great storefronts with exceptionally low rents! $600/year license!! One or 2 DEPOTS that run the Half-smoke market
On the fly- ecovending. Started by the zip-car guy. He won 8 locations in the vendor lottery Puputella- legit neopolitan pizza (where’s the pizza dc?) Pedro & Vinny’s- vegetarian spot with a consistent line, and a self-proclaimed 200 person/day service (in summer) You can see that there is a market for street food, if it is good and unique! What do they have in common? Not using the depot. Working from home, or renting a commercial space
Rosslyn is not flat enough- after all, gotta take in the considerations of logistics of a food cart Ballston- 6mm sq ft of office space, almost 7k housing units Customers: daytime are office workers (Deloitte, CG, national science fndtn, Towers Watson, etc). Large residential community, proximity to mall and metro means lots of foot traffic Competition: Hot dog cart, falafel cart (a step up), Puputella TH-FR, mall, other chains (cosi, quiznos, chipotle down the street)
Very densely packed area around a central park, located between the mall and the metro, among office and residential buildings. In sight: quiznos, starbucks, cosi, mall, and chipotle is down the street (a welcome competitor, as they are $1-3 more per meal!)
Licenses: food manager license, approved depot, DOH cart inspection, then vendor’s license, then business license (backwards?) Depot- sketchy business, only one in DC is very extortionist! Found Ali in Crystal City- he needs me, I need him, good guy, great spot, but expensive At depot, you have (*almost *) all the required tools: dry and cold storage, freezer, ice, stove, pots, pans, fresh water, etc. Cart- Need to start fresh and clean
Now that the market has been established and research has shown that it will support such a venture… The burrito box will be the antithesis of established street food. Take inspiration from In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan- It’s food, not food products. Have natural ingredients. Local/organic is too expensive, however. Food: met with PersonalChefDC, a service offering private cooking lessons. Consulted on concept, food, ingredients etc…but it was going to be $50/hour, plus $750 for unique recipe development <--too expensive, just look at chipotle! Basic ingredients, turns into many menu options Tortilla soup- also veggie 100% recycled burrito box container,
Why Burritos? Why tex-mex? Not a cook. Easy to create. It’s food people are familiar with and love (hello chipotle!), cheap ingredients, relatively. Burrito Box- alliteration is fun and helps, easy and apparent name, very likeable. Others: Texican Embassy, Yourritos, Dos Gringos, etc Logo- hugely important because it’s the symbol of the brand. Needs to be simple, clean and modern, since that’s what the food cart represents! CROWDSPRING- awesome online marketplace for graphic design. Good feedback, competitive nature, transparent creative process Because the company name, cart and the product are all such simple ideas, the logo should be fairly basic and minimal as well. Given the name, it seems appropriate for the script to be fairly block-ish. Color schemes should be minimal, 2-3 colors at most, avoiding the stereotypical tex-mex red/green/white combo if possible.
Not necessarily just a food cart- it’s a storefront. Potential for other things- TASTE! An art gallery at the Burrito Box. Feature local artists, friends, anything really to catch peoples attention and create a stir of people in front of the BB. Cup-o-cake- cash in on the cupcake craze with this solo venture-friendly dessert idea
Is this even feasible? In line with the simple, convenient philosophy, use round numbers that make sense. Gotta price it to where it’s not overly expensive, but also to where it’s not implying the food is terrible. Don’t just add up costs and make a certain margin Expected sales (lunch and dinner) 11am-2pm, and 5pm-8pm. One burrito sold every 4 minutes= 90; every 6= 60; every 10=36. More realistic- lunch will be every 4 min, dinner every 10 (=45+18-->60ish) Daily Breakeven analysis: where revenues= costs. Fixed costs are cart, car, licenses, cart storage, insurance, supplies, etc, paid down over a 2yr period. =$87/day. Revenue assumes $5.50 sale of a burrito. Variable costs average to be $2.50/burrito (look at per ingredient cost plus packaging).
Let Abe buy lunch Mall food courts are so 90’s Let customers linger! Have stuff for them to read! Daily newspaper taped up, box scores, etc! Idea of Taste art gallery If one at a time, take longer so you have someone there. Empty lines feed themselves, as do long ones Easy, fun, not aggressive. Talk to customers and listen GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT- jalapenos? Check. Whole wheat tortillas? Check. Side condiments, etc? yessir.
From ﾊ a November 2009 Yelp review : ﾒ I'll try it again another time, but my first visit wasn't too awesome. The preparation of the burrito is kinda cool. He puts everything into a pitcher and shakes it all together before applying it to the Tortilla. The cool thing is there are a variety of hot sauces you can add to your burrito.. Sadly, it appears that all the shaking and tossing of ingredients voided the spiciness. The reason I'm giving this place 2 stars instead of 3 is because the Rice in the burrito was not cooked correctly. It wasn't cooked with enough water, so while the outer part of the rice was kind of soft, the inside was still hard. Kind of gross Business was launched as a very lean version of itself; did not have the capital to execute the business as planned, including attached ﾒ art gallery ﾓ . IT WAS STARTED WITH THE DREAM OF BECOMING A FRANCHISE, BUT NOT PLANNED AS ONE <--lesson highlighted by E-Myth ( 114 average percipitation days in dc per year!Only 1 employee! Can ﾕ t be good- too much to do
Starting a New Business, Developing a Product, and Entering an Established Market
DC Street Food <ul><li>Moratorium on new permits from 1998-2006 </li></ul><ul><li>2006 DCRA survey lists variety and quality as 1 & 2 concerns, respectively </li></ul><ul><li>82% of respondents demanded more variety </li></ul><ul><li>84% of respondents demanded more ethnic cuisine </li></ul><ul><li>56% of respondents demanded more healthy choices </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
Not All Carts Are Mobile 7-Elevens! <ul><li>On The Fly franchise emerges in 2007- </li></ul><ul><li>Puputella Pizza cart </li></ul><ul><li>Pedro & Vinny’s </li></ul><ul><li>Market rewards innovation, taste </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
“ No new vendor permits”- DC Red Tape <ul><li>What about Arlington, VA? </li></ul><ul><li>High density commercial and residential space </li></ul><ul><li>Same tastes and preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Transparent process for entrepreneurs </li></ul><ul><li>Ballston and Rosslyn are near stand-ins for DC </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
“ First Come, First Served”, Arlington, VA <ul><li>Ballston submarket, in particular, looks promising </li></ul><ul><li>Very few street vendors </li></ul><ul><li>Expensive commercial real estate </li></ul><ul><li>Few, if any, unique dining establishments </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
Logistics <ul><li>Licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Depot </li></ul><ul><li>Cart </li></ul><ul><li>Kitchen equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Product </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
How Will the Business be Defined? <ul><li>“ Rethink street meat” </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Local/organic (realistic?) </li></ul><ul><li>Unique </li></ul><ul><li>Appeals to all-including Vegetarian options </li></ul><ul><li>Environmentally friendly (100% recycled packaging) </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
Developing the Concept and the Brand <ul><li>Tex-Mex- Easy, familiar, success of Pedro & Vinny’s, fitting (client is a Texan, after all) </li></ul><ul><li>Burrito Box- Call it what it is! </li></ul><ul><li>Use CrowdSpring to find a fitting logo </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
Finances & Pricing Strategies <ul><li>Given fixed and variable costs, what are breakeven sales? </li></ul><ul><li>What are expected sales? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the business expand? </li></ul><ul><li>Market-driven, instead of Cost-driven pricing? </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
Attracting Customers <ul><li>How to capture high volume foot-traffic? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Let Abe Buy Lunch” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mall Food Courts are so ‘90s” </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on customer service, given size </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11
Takeaways <ul><li>Focus was on business model, not food </li></ul><ul><li>No reserve capital </li></ul><ul><li>Seasonality </li></ul><ul><li>Too few cooks in the kitchen! </li></ul>Burrito Box: A Case Study 03/23/11