Running the Bases today with Rick Coleman from Jackpot Chicken Food Truck - an award-winning, Greater Cleveland food truck operation. Rick’s food truck has been a “Best of Cleveland” top finisher every year since 2016.
On today’s show, we explore the ins and out’s of operating a food truck - it’s not quite like what you see in the movie “Chef” - but it is exciting, fast-paced, and a lot of work!
Rick takes us on his journey from sports bar owner to food truck operator and why he made the move. We talk about the challenges of operations during a pandemic and what his “pivot” is going to be in 2022!
You won’t want to miss this episode and you certainly don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy some of Rick’s Award-Winning Wings, Flaming Burrito, Jackpot Fix and so much more. It’s called Jackpot - because you feel like you won the lottery with every bit!
Jackpot Chicken, because you know, “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!”
Grab Rick’s book - “So You Want to be a Food Truckr'”
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I'm Randy Rohde and I'm fascinated with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Plus I love baseball. Every show I sit down with a small business owner and we discussed their running the basis of entrepreneurship. We throw the ball around on strategy management, execution and innovation, plus a little fun baseball. Hey, thanks for joining us today. Settle in, grab your cracker jacks and you know what they say? Okay. It's a great day for a ball game. This is Randy Rohde with running the bases with small businesses, and I'm getting a little hungry, just thinking about our conversation with today's guest, our, uh, our guests today. Serial entrepreneur currently finding success with his third business in the restaurant space, born in Columbus, but raised outside of Cleveland. Our guest was influenced by his mother working very hard who had a successful nine to five job, but also was an entrepreneur with her own startup business. So our guest has spent 17 years owning and operating restaurants and catering companies and has just added off. To his resume. We currently can find him working with his family in a very tight space. Please welcome the owner and operator of the mobile food truck, business, Jack pot, chicken food truck, and the author of, so you want to be a food truck? I love that. All right. Welcome to the show, Rick Coleman. Welcome Rick. Thank you. Thank you, Randy. I appreciate you having me on this morning. Yeah, so I'm so excited. Well, it's great to connect with you again for our listeners. You know, I've been interested in food trucks. I dunno for a long time, actually one of my all time, favorite movies is the movie chef with John Fabro. I love that concept of, you know, getting the track and rollout and they did a whole big road trip. But, you know, I find the operations and the whole concept. The lifestyle may be a little interesting. So recently though, I was, uh, at, at an event with my kids and we came upon Rick's truck and, uh, I saw that he had written a book and I thought. This guy might be a little fun to have on the show. And so, you know, we're going to get into great depth on the food truck business. But tell us a little bit first though, about jackpot chicken, food, truck wreck, and I love your slogan. I think it's, um, chicken so good. It will make you feel like you won the lottery. Yeah. So, um, jackpot chicken, uh, this is our fifth year in operation. You know, it started off just as a, an idea that my wife and I kind of had, um, after a transition from a carrier for my restaurant to a carry out brick and mortar location. And we said, you know what? The way things are transitioning in the world. And in order to be successful and to reach as many people as possible, you have to be mobile. So we decided to start jackpot chicken, food truck, and we go buy a winner winner, chicken dinner, you know, that's one of our tags. It's a family movie. Yes, yes, yes, it is. It is. So, uh, and actually stuff is a title of one of the chapters in my book. So a lot of my. Beginning inspiration actually came from that movie is very ironic that you, uh, you mentioned that because that's where it kind of all began for us. You know, like I said, we were transitioning from a carry out, you know, brick and mortar style, uh, of service and. You know, we want it to get it to the food truck industry, but we had no experience. And it just so happened that for a while, you know, people kept mentioning that movie and it was during a time where I had to carry out and I had a sports bar. So I was just extremely busy. I never had opportunity to watch it. And finally I did, and it was kind of like one of those aha moments. This is, this is what I want to do. This is, you know, the next, uh, opportunity for me and my family. And, you know, I just saw that it would create a lot of, uh, freedom and our life. You know, when you have a brick and mortar, you're, you're tied down, you know, usually 12, 13, 14 hours a day, you know, open to close and, and sourcing things beforehand and after. And so I just said, Hey, you know, Th the craze hasn't really hit Northeast Ohio yet, even though food trucks are about 10 years, 10. 10 to 15 years now into Northeast, Ohio is still hasn't caught on, like it has in, let's say California or Austin, Texas, or Dallas, places like that. So I still think that there's a tremendous amount of opportunity for growth. And so we just try to capitalize on it. I love it. All right. All right. So we are going to get into some depth in the food truck business and what you're doing and, and obviously. Your whole, uh, restaurant team history here, but I want to go back. So you started, um, I'm going to go back. You were born in Columbus, you moved to the suburb of in Cleveland here, your mother worked outside the home, also operated her own business. Now what, what, um, small business did your mother. So, uh, my mother is a topic that the United States census girl. And so she's been there for about 38 years, but she's always had a small business, is she does text services, more individual than, you know, uh, business tax services. But, you know, she, she operated this small business from our whole, when I was a kid, you know, and now she lives in Philadelphia and it's actually. Funny see, or hers. She has about 300, 400 clients and they all still send their stuff to her Philadelphia. They're very loyal to her. She'll actually come sometimes she'll come back into Cleveland, too during tax season just to, you know, service their clients. And so I've always watched my mom, uh, hustle, you know, she, she's definitely a hustler and that's where I get it from. You know, she has a different style or approach to her business. Hers is more so like, Hey, I just, this is something I'd like to do. And at the time when she was a single parent of my sister and I, it was in a second stream of income for hers, you know? And so she saw an opportunity within our community, uh, of Paynesville, where I lived at the time. And, you know, she felt that she could help people. And so she never really charged, you know, what her worth was because she just wanted to kind of help people, but also make a little bit of money on this. So for her clients, you know, instead of going to the large corporations like Jackson Hewitt, or H and R block and paying for three, four, $500, she was able to offer the same services. She still only charges like 90 bucks, you know? And so she, every year she gets her to get recertified and, you know, she stays up to date on the tax codes and everything, and she still offers her services for the same price, you know, and like I said, it's different than what do. 'cause, you know, I have different visions when it comes to entrepreneurship and scaling my business, but, you know, bless her, bless her heart. Um, you know, that's what she loves to do and she still continues to do it, man. Good for her. Well, that's a great price. I might have to add. Yeah, they're out there. So I said, I understand. So both your mom and your grandmother, who you were with as well or close by both loved cooking. Is, is that where kind of the whole restaurant tour began to. I don't know, influence you, have you always loved food and maybe cooking? Yeah. So my and my family and it's actually like my godmother and my mother, and a lot of other people, my family, a lot of my uncles as well. It's just, you know, it's just one of those things, you know, growing up as a kid, a lot of my memories were. Centered around family gatherings and barbecues and waking up on holidays and my mother or my grandparents or godparents and whatnot, we're cooking big breakfast is. And so it just kinda always piqued my interest. And, you know, as a kid got into the kitchen at a young age, and it was something that I really enjoyed when I was in high school, I worked in restaurants. Um, and I I've served a few times. So I've always been in the restaurant. One way or another since I've been about 17 years old. And so for me, as I got older and I was into different business ventures, I always try to find something now is kind of recession proof as much as close to being as recession, proof as possible. And for me is the food industry. People always have to eat. Right. You know, and people always will eat, obviously. So for me, it was always just, Hey, how do I take my. My passion and turn it into profits. Right. Uh, did you always see yourself kind of stepping out on your own, being your own boss? Oh, for sure. You know, I've worked different, you know, nine to five jobs before in management. I've done some corrections work as well. Uh, and to be honest, I'm just. Note to work for anyone is just not who I am. Uh, you know, and I like the freedom and the luxuries that come with being an entrepreneur to some people it's, you know, it's a, it's a scary thought, knowing that you're not guaranteed a paycheck, you know, every, every two weeks. But to me, the scary thought is only getting paid 26 times a year. Uh, and that's something that. Just doesn't sit well with me. And I welcome the opportunity to go out and create a, a, a stream of income for myself, for my family here. I love that. I love that quote, uh, only getting paid 26 times a year is yeah. I'm like, I'm I'm with you. I like getting paid every day. Uh, and even when I'm sleeping is even better. Um, well, let's, let's flash forward here a little bit. So you opened a sports bar. And from what I understand, there's the story. I don't know if it's came out of a book or maybe on some previous speaking that you've done, where you talk about, you know, when you're a kid and a great summer day that you would do with your friends is going to a local restaurant, taking a buck and getting 10 wings and just having a great time. And then that at some point really sparked in like, Hey, Go on this restaurant, adventure with a sports bar in the suburbs of Cleveland. Why a sports bar, I guess where you are, are you a sports enthusiast? He loved baseball, I guess. That's I do like, uh, baseball was my favorite sport growing up. Um, you know, I went to college and I played football. Um, I've coached high school sports. 15 years. I coached, uh, collegiate track and field for two years. So I am definitely a sports enthusiast. All my kids are very, very, very active in sports. Uh, my son is one of the top high school football players in Ohio right now. So, you know, I'm very, uh, involved in the sports community. Uh, but the, the story actually, uh, that you were speaking of is my father, uh, is from Cleveland. And so when I was using. You know, I spent some summers in Cleveland with my father. He would always give, you know, this is like in the eighties, my cousins and I are like a dollar or two. And so, you know, we grew up in east Cleveland off of every road. And so I just remember this. BBQ shack there was called a BNS barbecue. And so at the time in the eighties, you know, a dollar would get you 10 wings. And so I, every day I would just go over there and I would spend my dollar on chicken wings. That was just, I thought they had the best wings in the world. I loved it. Uh, if it wasn't wings, it was a Polish boy, you know? And so growing up as a kid, You know, as BNM is actually in the scaling their business and having multiple locations throughout Cleveland, you know, it was, it was always something that I've sought out. You know, if I was an area and if I was hungry, I wanted some Polish boys ribs or wanes, I will find the BNM, you know? And so as I became an adult and I got into the restaurant business, I wanted to be the go-to place. I wanted people in my area to be like, Hey, at the time, my place was called wings. Um, Paynesville. I want to go to wing spot and get the wings. I need to go to the place I have the best wings around. And so, you know, I just want it to be able to provide an opportunity, uh, to, you know, for people to create those memories, you know, centered around my food. Yeah. I love that. Are they still around even? I think they are. Vietnam's BNM has, has several locations throughout greater Cleveland, as well as they were one of the original food shop, purveyors and Cleveland as, yeah. Yeah. Good. So starting a sports bar, which I can imagine is a daunting challenge just going from scratch successful right away. Or did you have to, I, how did you grow it, I guess. And what kind of a market. I purchased an existing, uh, bar. It was, uh, uh, Irish steam bar and IFC transitioned it into a wing spot, which would be like a, more of a sports bar concept. You know, it, it was definitely one of the most challenging things that I've had to do in my life. One, because I had no experience in the bar industry and two. Every man wants to own a bar. And it's like, that's like every man growing up, she in his twenties, man, I want to have a bar. But with that comes a lot of responsibility. It comes a lot of headaches for me. The bar life is just something. I couldn't see myself retiring doing so I ran the bar. I thought it was ultra successful. Um, especially being one of the only black owned, uh, liquor Savage mints within our city. It was very important for me to provide a. Establishment to where it was, it was diverse and everyone felt comfortable coming there. You can have a good time. We had library entertainment, a wide selection of, uh, alcoholic beverages, but obviously, you know, the food on top, you know, I thought that was important to have somewhere that, you know, provide a great food, uh, in addition to everything else that, you know, uh, barcode. Well, I would imagine as well, having a sports bar in Cleveland that you probably had your fair share of sad Sunday afternoons with the following the Browns. But I would imagine you probably had some fun times as well. And it, did you expand the business and other options or other avenues? I know you've mentioned catering. Did you do catering out of the, uh, the sports bar? So out of those sports bar, we did a lot of fundraising events because where the bar was located, uh, lake Erie college is the, the main college there. And they, you know, they had just became a. Institution that had football and some other sports. And so, um, I did a lot of partnerships with the school and their sports organizations. Um, I did some catering catering really didn't come into light until I actually got into the food truck business. Uh, so a lot of things that I did out of the barber in the house, because that was like my main focus at the time was just building everything I could within those four walls. So. Kinda coming into today's world. Well, uh, you've got the food truck and interest. On the history of food truck. So you mentioned, um, you know, BNM, and maybe one of the first here in Northeast, Ohio with food trucks and kind of the history of that, we found out a little bit of history on food trucks as a whole. I don't know if you are aware of this, but it really. Kind of goes back well into the late 18 hundreds, there was a guy named Walter Scott that, uh, set up a covered wagon in front of a newspaper office in Providence, Rhode Island. And he sold sandwiches and coffee and all different kinds of fun, stuff like that. And then. The first taco truck was born in 1974 in California. So, yeah. Yeah. So there we go. So, and then, you know, kind of, uh, 2015 or 16 or so we got Jackpot . Chicken truck here and Northeast Ohio. So tell us a little bit about your current operation. watching the movie chef and seeing what they do, and it is a fast paced, seems like can be just crazy, you know, just in like a, onset of, um, I dunno, the, the food rush for a couple of hours or something, is that kind of what it's. Yeah. I mean, obviously there's a lot of, um, cinematic appeal that goes into that movie, you know, just to make things seem a little bit more interesting or whatnot, but it definitely can be like that. Um, for certain, you know, usually, um, for lunch shifts, you're out, you know, like 1130 to one 11, a one 30, and depending on the location that you're at, you know, you're serving. A hundred, 150 people, you know? And so a lot of times, especially if you're going to manufacturing companies, you know, people have 30 minutes for lunch, so you get a large rush of people at one time and, you know, it's, uh, it's very intense, you know? And so I always laugh and I'm not laughing, laugh with my buddies are in the restaurant business, you know, and they're all, you know, ah, it's a food truck. I can run that. I can do this. I'm like, well, the difference between my business and yours. You have 12 to 15 minutes to make a meal and to send it out to a customer. I said in my industry from the time a customer places, their order, um, you have about two minutes, uh, to get the food in their hand, you know? And so it's very, very, very fast paced. You just have to be. Uh, in your operations, uh, your menu design. And so those things and learning those lessons over the course of five years, our whatever allowed us to be successful in this industry. So from the moment that you were watching the movie. And you say you had kind of your aha moment there. That's what I want to do. How long did it take you then to go from that idea of like, I want to do a food truck to wheels up and you are rolling down the road and starting to fry chicken. How long, how long did that. It was about two years, actually. So when I finally had a chance to watch that movie, I was still in the bar business. And so my wife, as we weren't married at the time of my, my wife, she helped me get into, she said, Hey, she's pushing me. She's like, you know, I think you said it just started doing a tent. You know, and so that was kind of like my introduction into kind of like the food check concept, but, you know, sometimes he would start off with a 10 or a trailer. Uh, and so I started doing the festivals here and there for a little while, uh, quickly realized that I hated the 10 set up. Um, I'm not sure how people really do that. It's just not for me. And so after again, like another year or so, I was able to, um, transition to getting into the food truck business and be on the road. I would imagine you kind of alluded to it already. That it's quite a bit different than having a brick and mortar restaurant in the sense, you know, you're taking even just the, the amount of time that you have to be able to turn an order out for a customer. Was that kind of a huge learning curve for you? How did you, I guess I'm wondering, how did you move from, you know, the brick and mortar to the food truck and just. Expediency of, uh, and of both obviously serving the customer, but even from a pure operations standpoint, I mean, you really had to think about, okay, we need to process these orders quickly. So our method of in the kitchen kind of the back of the house has got to change kind of dramatically as well. How did you pick all of that up? I guess, I mean, a lot of it just came from. One watching other trucks in the industry. Uh, so I would go to different locations or events that were being held and I would just observe other trucks. Um, and I would say, okay, this truck, this is there a surf, this is a weakness. And so I just kinda took a lot of things that I, um, have found from other trucks and like, How can I take their service, you know, and kind of corporates to what I do, how can I see what they're doing quarterly? They made sure I, you know, I, that's not one of my weaknesses, but also the second part is just understanding the industry and the game that you're in. You have to move with a sense of urgency, you know, it's just, it's just a totally different environment. And so I just knew that going into it and a lot of. Providing not providing, but, um, creating a menu that would allow us to operate at a fast pace. Uh, you know, and so I had to scale down things that I would normally offer in a restaurant, you know, concept. Uh, so it would fit into a food chart business. So, um, from what I understand, so your, your wife and your son as well work with you in the food truck, how many employees do you have altogether? Uh, so we have a total of about 12 people that work with us. Um, and I like to say with us instead of for us, because this truly to me is truly a family. I have my wife, my son, um, a lot of my buddies are teachers, principals, athletic directors. Some wives are guidance counselors. You know, it's a lot of people that have some resolve. And so we, we all work together. And so for them, you know, It's a break from their normal, you know, nine to five normal firemen that they're used to being in. Um, it's an opportunity for people to make, uh, you know, another stream of income, right. Uh, and it's fun, you know, like at the end of the day I say this all the time, like my job is to cook chicken, listen to music and. Work with my family. Like I have the best, you know what I mean? Like I have the best job in the world, so truly enjoy that is great. Well, you're operating in a, kind of a tight environment in the tracks. I mean, I've seen your charc and it's the typical, you know, if people think about what a food truck looks like, I mean, it's a typical kind of. Paneled, uh, truck, uh, that you've converted. You got a great kitchen in there, but it's a tight space. How many people can you put in? I mean, what's a typical, you go someplace, you know, it's going to be busy. How many people are in there with. So my, my truck is a, uh, smaller, uh, my people are familiar with the DHL box shots. And so that's what I have. And that's what was converted into a food truck. I mean, you're right. I mean, it's definitely tight constraints, you know, small, uh, tight work environment. And so the way I set my operation up is I have one order taker. I have a fry person, I have someone that's on the grill and have an expo. And so usually there there's four of us, for some reason, if there's an extremely large event, uh, we'll add a fifth person. Uh, and that person's sole responsibility is to sit in one space and all they do is pass out food and do nothing else. So everyone knows what their, their job is. And you, you know, because it is a tight area. Just do that. Right. You know? And so it, in a sense it's like the, um, you know, the, the factory approach where it's like, Hey, this is, you know, this is what you do. You know, you do this piece, you do produce that part. You know? So if you're the fry person, Hey, you fried chicken, you fry the wings and you pass it all to, you know, to the, to the expo person. One does. So I have a question for you. Uh, I'm sure. In restaurant and stuff that I've read and have, I guess seen or witnessed is that, you know, there's a lot of food prep that happens well before a customer walks up and places in order. Do you, do you do the prep inside the truck or is that all done even before you go kit hit the gas and land at a certain. No. So for us, uh, here in Northeast Ohio, we actually do not have to have a commissary attached to our business if you're self-contained and meaning that you have your electric and water sources or whatnot. So for me, uh, one of the things that I do is, you know, I get up early and I get to my truck. Yeah. You know, fire up the propane. And I started actually cooking the chicken, um, our slow cook chicken at like four or five in the morning, every day. And then from there we would arrive on. Uh, usually about two hours prior to when we begin serving and we do all the rest of our prep. And so that allow us to, again, produce a customer's mill in under two minutes, uh, because we're so thorough and efficient in how we prep. Okay. All right. So you kind of do it all in the truck and early morning, which is great. So what does that, you, you kind of alluded to. And what a day looks like. What's the typical week look like for food, truck opera. I mean, I, I guess it depends to answer that question. It depends on what type of hustler that person is for me. You know, our food truck business runs April through first week in November. Uh, and we try to go out to time two to three, two times a day, for sure. Seven days a week. Sometimes, you know, you might run a triple. And so for us having a large crew allow. You know, people allows our truck to operate, you know, that often, but also it still allows people to opportunity to have days off, you know, and things like that. Um, because you know, if, if let's say I take the truck out in the morning, I'll bring it back, clean it up. My wife will take it out in the evening. And so, you know, we do different things like that, but we, we try to go seven days a week, uh, during the season because I mean, in Ohio, So many opportunities. Um, so outside of, outside of catering, you know, people aren't standing outside in zero degree weather to buy food off of a truck. Well, that is interesting. Cause I actually was something I was going to ask you about if there was a seasonality to your business. So, and that just adds a whole nother kind of, uh, complexity to it. Right. Because you gotta be sure you're out and to use your word, you know, you've gotta be out hustling, man. You got to make sure that you've got. Kind of the cashflow going to carry you through the off season and do, do, do, do some catering though. And some of the off season, like, do you do some, like, I would imagine if you, if you're available to do catering that you'd probably would do some good stuff during the holiday periods and, uh, some parties and what have you. So, what we try to do is during the winter, we try to keep our truck, um, as stationary as possible. Uh, and so we D we still offer catering services. And so if there are, if they are dead set on having a truck out, if, uh, the dollar mountain makes sense, we'll definitely bring the truck out in the winter. Um, but if. We do drop off caterings. Uh, we specialize like second symphony, third shoe box lunch opportunities. And that's something that we've really gotten into because of COVID, you know, just even my experience over the weekend, you know, it's you go to a Halloween party and 11 o'clock at night, you can't get food anywhere. Right. And so, and that's one of the issues that a lot of human resource managers are having. Um, again, during COVID is. They liked to make sure employee morale is up. There's a lot of times they provide no food catering opportunities for their staff and outside of pizza. Nowadays, there isn't much that they can do for second and third shift employees. And so that's one of our niches that we have is that we'll go out second and third shift and provide food for staff. And then another thing that we're doing is we actually just ventured into the cloud kitchen space. That's a concept that. That's really fairly new here in the United States, but it's actually taken off very well and it will allow us to stay busy throughout the winter. And hopefully I can just continue that throughout the summer as well. What is that kinds of? What did you say crowds? Cloud kitchen. Yes. Cloud kitchens. So you, uh, there are some entertainers that have ventured into this space guy. Fury is one, a couple hip hop artists, uh, like Wiz Khalifa and a few other guys. And so essentially what a cloud kitchen is, is a person is able to create a restaurant concept and strictly run it from. Either. If they have a truck, they could run it from their truck, but if not, they would use someone else's kitchen. And so the way a customer would get the food is through a third-party delivery service. So if you had Randy Rhodes, And instead of you having to take on all the costs as a new restaurant owner, you would find a location that will let you suddenly their kitchen. And so you would just offer your food to people through DoorDash, Uber eats Postmates and things like that. And so for us, It was a, an op it was an opportunity to further grow our brand. You know, we live in lake county, Ohio, but a lot of times our truck is on the west side of Cleveland or the east side. And so people that are from our area don't really have the opportunity to, to purchase, you know, our food. Starting in a couple of weeks, we will be operating our cloud kitchen. And so now again, we have well expand our, our, our target audience because now people that are in lake county can order our food seven days a week and they don't have to come to a food truck. Uh, just the way for, for us to expand our business and to create another revenue source off of jackpot chicken food truck, you talk about kind of expanding the brand and that, which leads me to a question in regards to marketing it's. So. There are several different kinds of apps that are out there that people can pull down and, and, uh, subscribe to, or, or look, but that would say, Hey, where is there a food truck in my area or something like that? Or, um, do you participate in any of that kind of stuff? What do you do for marketing? I guess with jackpot chick? The marketing is, is what I do myself. And that's through the use of social media. And, you know, the, to me, that's the most powerful tool on the planet right now is like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. But also we do utilize some of those apps and the main one is street food finder.com. That allows people, the opportunity to find out what street food is available to them, uh, in any city throughout the country. Uh, and so, you know, that's the main one that we do use, uh, we do use a booking agency out of California, um, that is national. And so a lot of times when people are looking for catering opportunities from trucks, they would reach us through that booking agent. We're we're kind of leading into the seventh inning stretch here, but I wanted to, and coming into this is actually as a good segue. How, w what is the most amount of people or orders that you've put through in an hour in your food truck? You haven't. Yeah. So the most we've done in an hour, it'd be close to like 200 people. Um, and you know, that was, uh, an event where it was a very limited menu. It was a catering event. So, you know, usually when you have those type of catering opportunities, again, you scale down to menu, um, cause people are, uh, constrained by time if they're on their lunch hour or whatnot. And so, you know, on the average though, you're looking at about 75. 90 people an hour on average, you know, that's what a full menu. Uh, so you're, you're definitely humping a little bit, man. It's uh, you're moving at an extremely fast paced. No kidding. I can't even imagine that the frenzy going on in the back of the truck trying to push out 200 orders in an hour, that is crazy. Very, very, very fast paced. Wow. You know, but we, we. Um, the cows parade when they won the championship. And so that was a whole nother boss there, so, well, that's good. Well, it's fun that you, uh, had the track for something like that. All right. Well, here we come. coming into the 17th and I know you sit in your love baseball. So this is good. Um, we're getting talk about. As I mentioned, uh, the speed, I guess, of how quickly you can serve up something. And, uh, I want to ask you a question as it relates to food and, and consumption. I guess it's a little interesting factoid that there there's really is a correlation. To a degree, a story came out and the AP news that kind of talked about that they did an analysis that said, Hey, the average number of MLB teams wins compared to the number of hot dogs and sausages sold at their stadium. And they looked at and they said, Hey, you know, the Dodgers, the Cubs, Yankees, red Sox, and the Cardinals. Of Coombe average, more than a million hotdog and sausages sold per year are also five of the seven teams with the most wins over that same five-year period. So it was a little interesting fact, I guess, but here here's your question. Yes, sir. All right. Here's the pitch? What do you think is the record for hot dogs sold at progressive field here in Cleveland. And it's one, one event I should say. So one night, what do you think the record number of hot dogs in one night is say 4,500. Uh, dogs. And one night, this is going to blow you away. In 2013 season, they had a sugar Dale, $1 dog night. I love, I love those right. 66. 1,726. That is a lot, man. I know when we go to those dog nights, I mean, I think we, my family of four, I think we can pack away like eight or 10 just in between us. So yeah, no kidding. 66,000. And that is a huge number, but that's not bad. Right? So you are, you are. All right. Well, we'll give it to you. All right. Well, let's get back into it. So you're an author as well as a food truck, man. So you've got a book out there. So you want to be a food tracker, the truth of operating a food truck business by an actual food truck, air, family, finance, failure, and fun. What was that like? Were you pulling the own life experiences and putting that book? Yeah. So writing a book is actually something I've always wanted to do since high school, but, you know, I kinda never knew what direction they go into, how to get started. Never really had the time. And so. Less MARCE if I don't. Well, when we were set down for the quarantine, uh, doing a COVID, I said, you know what? This is a perfect opportunity for me to write this book. Uh, you know, life had slowed down for everyone. I had hours upon hours of free time. And so I just started writing away, uh, and putting a lot of my, my thoughts and experiences down on paper. Uh, and so I started writing them March. And it was actually self-published and on Amazon, by July. Uh, so I, I spent a lot of time, a lot of hours every day pouring into that book. What kind of, uh, do you get to a nugget you always like to share coming in regards to the food truck industry? For me, the one. The one nugget that I would give anyone from the book, is that everything that glitters isn't gold, you know, they're there, the food industry is extremely intriguing and glamorous on the outside, looking in, you know, but there's a lot of downsides. You know, as well. And so that's where the family fund financing failure comes into play is because I actually give life experiences. Uh, and so if a person is willing to persevere through some of those tough times, it really can be a rewarding, uh, business to, to own and operate. But again, there's going to be some struggles for sure. Um, I pat I've had, so you mentioned, you say that you've always wanted to write a book and I'm curious about that. What was that, what was that motivation or that itch, I guess, having any idea of why you always wanted to write a book? Well, English was my favorite subject in school. And so, you know, Reading all the time. And then, you know, when I was in college, I enjoyed the log papers. You know, I, I would rather write a 50 page paper over taking a 20 question test, uh, any day of the weekend. So, you know, for me, it was just always just being able to express myself through writing. It was always something that I enjoyed it. So I just wanted to be able to finally write a book. That's great. So people can find your book, uh, out on Amazon. Correct? Yes. Amazon boxes and noble are the place that you can find it online. Okay. All right. You talk about COVID and I am curious. Operating a business during a pandemic. Uh, some of our, one of our past guests kind of throughout this whole concept about pivot and pivoting your business and knowing when to pivot. Right. So I'm curious on as a food truck driver operator, what, and how did you pivot and in your operation during COVID during the panel. Yeah. So I guess that's the. I can give you multiple answers to that question. The first one is when the pandemic pandemic first started, everything was shut down. And so, you know, there was no one at work. And so I had to pivot my operation from being mobile to actually being stationary is, which is the complete opposite of what you want to do when you have a food truck. I just found an app, uh, online that I was able to create a menu and send out messages, uh, through social media, text messages, alerts to people that, Hey, I would be in this area and this is our menu and this, you know, and so it gave people an opportunity where we were. Uh, during the initial stages of the pandemic to have alternatives to, you know, to, uh, the meals that they would be eating on a normal basis. Uh, you know, there was a lot of shortages on different things in the grocery stores. And so, you know, people loved it. They came out, uh, we did a lot of neighborhood events during the initial stages of COVID because people were at home, you know, and they felt safe. Just coming to a truck and ordering versus, you know, going into a restaurant and whatnot. And then also, you know, um, we pivoted our model from being a, a type of truck that would just go to different businesses or whatnot, and just kind of. We're here. We hope people come out and purchase food to pay. Now we're, uh, primarily a catering truck and that's probably 90% of our business right now. And a lot of that was because of how we had to pivot during COVID. A lot of companies set down their dining hall services within their businesses, and they wanted people to go outside and. Well, the timing of the pandemic, it was going into the spring and the summer. It was a perfect opportunity for us because these corporations wanted people outside, you know, they were paying for their staff to eat. Uh, and so it was just a wonderful combination for us. Was this summer a little bit different than 2020 obviously was in the heat of the pandemic. But 2021, you know, life started kind of coming back a little bit. And I don't know if you, you know, do you go around, so like if there was an Indians game in town, do you go and hang out down there? I don't know what the process or policies are around that, but can you go and do that at the Indians games? Did you start that back up during the 2020 or 21 summer? And some of those things, I don't know if you do like other festivals or things. Yeah. So like I mentioned, we, we are primarily a catering truck now at this stage of the game for us, and I'll take guaranteed revenue over, you know, going to the game any day of the week. There are some of those opportunities. Cleveland is a little bit different because there aren't a lot of places for you to just park in street men. But you know, there are places we can, you know, you can, uh, purchase a, a parking space and, you know, set up. And so, uh, but for me, You know, just being where I'm at and the food shop business. Now we always go with the guaranteed money. And so for us, things have opened up, this was our most successful season ever, but it's because we transitioned our business model to primarily being a catering, uh, Yeah, well, that makes a lot of sense. I, I, I agree. I always liked kind of guaranteed revenue, uh, versus the guests. Yeah, that's good. Well, I'm glad that you were at the event that I was attending. So I got a chance to sample some of your food and see the operation at hand. What do you see coming around the corner for a jackpot? So w we're actually very sighted. We we've operated the one truck for this next season of our six year. Um, again, like I said, in a couple of weeks, we'll be operating a cloud kitchen. Uh, but my wife and I are actually going to be purchasing, uh, our second truck here, uh, shortly. And so that is just huge for. It's a great opportunity for us to scale our business. I'll operate one shrunk shoe, operate the other, uh, and it just, you know, amaze the world to us is because, you know, we've persevered through a lot, uh, within our business, you know, and it just shows that small business is still alive, is thriving. You can grow, but you know, sometimes you just have to grow at a slower pace, but you know, also you can still obtain all your. Oh, that is awesome. Well, good for you. I'm glad to see it, man. I'll see the, uh, the Jack pack truck out more frequently than with a second truck on the road. I love it. All right. So here we come. We're down to the bottom of the ninth, Rick, and this is where I get to ask all of our guests. What advice do you have for rookies in the game? You know, those folks starting out in business, um, or thinking about starting their own business. I mean, you're a. Grizzled veteran of, uh, the business world of successful businesses, entrepreneurship. What kind of advice do you have for those folks though? The one thing I alluded to earlier is you have to be past. About whatever business that you, you choose to get into, because if you're not passionate about it, ultimately it's going to fail. And so that's why I said, turn your passion into profits. How can you do that? And the second thing I would say would just be to do you, you know, do you, and, and everyone else will adjust accordingly. And I say that. There are so many times, and I I've experienced this personally. And I see it, , with young entrepreneurs. If someone says, Hey, I just got this great job. I'm going to work 50, 60 hours a week. And they're going to pay me $50,000. Everyone in the world is going to apply. Hmm, I just, you've just got this wonderful job. You're on a path to retirement, but if you tell someone, Hey, I have this vision, I have this idea. I want to start this company. There's going to be more naysayers than it will be people patting on your back and saying, Hey, how can I help you? And so for me, that's how I just say, do you, what is it that you're passionate about? Have tunnel vision set some goals and realistic goals for yourself and just go to work, figure out a way to, you know, achieve all your goals and just understand that everyone's not going to support you. And that's just, that's just what it is. You know? Uh, sometimes people they're not like. Entrepreneurs think a little bit differently. And so w w what we see as opportunities, you know, other people see as, as risk. So the hardest thing is, is to get started. The hardest thing is having $0 in your bank account, have a zero followers. How do you go from, from zero, you know, in step one to step two. And once you figure that out, the ball just kind of gets rolling. You. There is nothing but great opportunities to come from there. Yeah. Outstanding words. Do you, that is, that is the best quote right there. All right. Well, uh, listen, Rick, thanks so much, man, for being on the show. I really appreciate it. And it's been great to learn more about your business and food track of business and, and really just learning about, you know, how you grew it and what keeps it going. So I, I appreciate you being on the show with us. Thank you. I really appreciate you having me. It's a great opportunity. All right. All right. So for those folks, you can check out a jackpot chicken, food truck. They're all over social media. You can figure out, uh, what their schedules are, go and get connected with him. Line them up for some catering, the holiday parties, that kind of stuff. And also check out Rick's book on Amazon or. Barnes and noble and we'll have links to, uh, his book and, and, uh, various social platforms in the show notes. So be sure to check that out would be great. And as we say, that's the ball game. So thanks for joining us today. And if you like our show, Hey, please tell your friends, subscribe and review, and we'll see you around the ballpark. 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