Now that you know what a social entrepreneur is, it’s time to talk business. Not just any business, the grilled cheese business.
The first step to creating this model of social entrepreneurship was to come up with a business and a business plan. We had visited Austin numerous times and I’ve always been enthralled with the food scene there, especially the 3000 food trucks blanketing the city. Coming from a family of foodies, I felt a food truck would be the perfect business venture. After completing an industry and customer analysis, I knew that a food truck business in Austin would work.
My Dad helped me put together a profit and loss statement, get a business loan from the bank, and complete the business plan, but it soon became obvious that we needed help specifically with a food truck start up. We did some research and found a consultant, Eric Silverstein who started The Peached Tortilla in Austin from a food truck. Hiring Eric to help us through this process has honestly been one of the smartest business moves we have made thus far.
Creating a concept and brand was much more difficult than I expected. I spent many hours trying to come up with intricate concepts ranging from crepes a la carte to rustic Italian. I finally decided to keep it simple- grilled cheese. It’s a food that takes us back to our past, creates a sense of nostalgia, and there are so many different things you can do with a grilled cheese, hence the name “Melted”. My family helped research and develop a menu of variations of grilled cheese, which I willingly participated in the test kitchen!
After the fun and yummy part was finished, it was time to focus on the nuts and bolts of the business. We purchased a used FedEx truck and shipped it to Houston where it was built out to have a beautiful kitchen inside. Once we had a concept, a menu, and a truck in the works, it was time to start the search for a staff, beginning with a manager.
We advertised for the job opening; our first choice candidate was actually living in Beaver Creek Colorado and working at a resort there. Because we felt he was a very good fit for this key role, my parents and I took a quick weekend trip to meet with him in person (which wasn’t exactly terrible, I mean have you seen Beaver Creek??). The meeting went very well and he moved to Austin and joined team Melted. We feel very fortunate to have Aaron for his culinary expertise and knowledge of running a kitchen. He has perfected the menu and come up with some amazing recipes of his own (the King Cheese is my favorite).
As you can see by the work-in-progress whiteboard I had in my room, starting Melted was no easy task. I’m happy to say that we had a very successful “soft launch” last weekend, and will now be counting down to the Grand Opening June 11. Stay tuned and check out our website (www.meltedtruck.com) to see where we will be vending in Austin and upcoming events!