June 28, 2022

Do One Thing Really Well - Talking Breakfast Tacos with Liz Solomon Dwyer of King David Tacos

Do One Thing Really Well - Talking Breakfast Tacos with Liz Solomon Dwyer of King David Tacos

This week I’m talking breakfast tacos with Liz Solomon Dwyer, founder of King David Tacos. An Austin native, Liz brought her love of the breakfast taco to NYC. What started as a drop-off catering business, then grew from two breakfast taco carts to over 50 locations across NYC. Her tacos can now be found at retail partners like Whole Foods and Stumptown, as well as their brick-and-mortar location. 

We talk about what makes a good breakfast taco, the challenges of hot-holding eggs, and working with retail partners. We discuss building and growing her business, scaling from two carts to over 50 locations in just a handful of years? 

We also talk about sticking to a vision. Liz has really stuck to her guns when it comes to only making breakfast tacos, and also not doing any made-to-order food. She’s firmly dedicated to making the best breakfast taco and sticking with just that.

Sponsor- The United States Personal Chef Association
While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, it provided an avenue for personal chefs to close that dining gap.  Central to all of that is the United States Personal Chef Association. USPCA provides a strategic backbone for those chefs that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification, and more. 

One of the upcoming events for USPCA is their annual conference scheduled for July 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, FL. Featuring speakers and classes, the conference allows chefs to hone their skills and network, and is open to all chefs in the industry.

For those who supply the industry, it’s a chance to reach decision-makers and the buyers of products. Chefs Without Restaurants listeners can use promo code CWR50 to save $50 on registration. Please contact Angela at aprather@uspca.com for information on becoming a member, attending the conferences, or exhibiting. 

Sponsor- Vosteed Knives

Are you looking for top quality kitchen knives? With over two decades of experience, Vosteed knives are durable, well-balanced and comfortable to use. You’ll find that these knives have a razor sharp edge, robust and strong full-tang construction, and perfectly engineered ergonomics. These high carbon steel blades will definitely get the job done in the kitchen.  

Right now, you can use discount code VOSTEED15 to get 15% off your order. Go to the Vosteed store on Amazon to order yours now. Check out the Vosteed website, Instagram page and Facebook group.

LIZ SOLOMON DWYER
 King David Tacos Instagram
King David Tacos Website

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Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites

Transcript

Chris Spear:

Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. Their caterers, research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmer's cottage bakers and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. Hey, everyone, it's Chris. I hope you're having a fantastic day, wherever you are, and whenever you're listening to this. So this week, I'm talking breakfast tacos with Liz Solomon Dwyer. She's the founder of King David Tacos. She's an Austin Texas native, I guess breakfast tacos or something big down there. Unfortunately, I was in Austin back in April but didn't have any breakfast tacos seems like a big mess on my part. But we had COVID and we weren't really going out much. But I digress. So Liz moved from Austin to New York City where she wanted to start her own breakfast taco business. What started as a drop off catering business grew to two food carts, bringing breakfast tacos to the people of New York City. But then she was able to grow it to what's over now 50 locations. Her tacos can be found at retail partners like Whole Foods and Stumptown as well as their relatively new brick and mortar location. Now if you know me, you know that I love tacos. So I want to talk about obviously tacos. What makes a good breakfast taco, we discuss corn versus flour tortillas. We're talking about the challenges of hot holding eggs and working with retail partners. But I also wanted to talk about building and growing her business. How do you scale from two cards to over 50 locations in just a handful of years? Was it something that was intentional, he planned it out. And we talked about something that I'm a really big believer in which is sticking to a vision. I think it's really easy to get caught up in doing a little of everything. Obviously, if something's not working out, you probably need to change or pivot. But Liz has been doing a great job with the breakfast tacos. And she's really stuck to her guns when it comes to only making breakfast tacos. She's not going down the road of doing you know more traditional lunch and dinner tacos, which she probably could do. She's firmly dedicated to making the best practice tacos and sticking with that. She also doesn't do made to order even if you go to her brick and mortar, everything's made and ready to go. So I hope you enjoy this episode. And if you love the show, please go to chefs without restaurants.org where you can find more info, you can link up to our Instagram, which I would love it if you followed us. By us. I mean me, as well as links to our private Facebook group where we're there to help food entrepreneurs build and grow their food businesses. And you can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter. All of that is at chefs without restaurants.org. And I'd love it if you also supported our sponsors. One is the United States personal chef Association, and the other is hosting nice so the show will be coming up right after a word from this week's sponsors. Over the past 27 years, the world of the personal chef has grown in importance to fulfill the dining needs of consumers. While the pandemic certainly upended the restaurant experience, it provided an avenue for personal chefs to close that dining gap. Central to all of that is the United States personal chef Association, representing nearly 1000 chefs around the US and Canada and even Italy. USPCA provides a strategic backbone for those chefs that includes liability insurance, training, communications, certification and more. It's a reassurance to consumers that the chef coming into their home is prepared to offer them an experience along with their meal. One of the big upcoming events for the USPCA is their annual conference scheduled for July 7 through 10th at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Florida. Featuring a host of speakers and classes. The conference allows chefs to hone their skills and network with like minded business people and is open to all shifts in the industry. For those who supply the industry, it's a chance to reach decision makers and the actual buyers of products. This will be the first time back following the COVID lockdowns and the chef's are anxious to connect. And right now Chefs Without Restaurants listeners can use promo code CWR50 to save $50 on registration, please contact Angela at aprather@uspca.com For information on becoming a member attending the conference or exhibiting and as always, all this info will be in the show notes. Are you looking for top quality kitchen knives? Well look no further than Vosteed. with over two decades of experience. VO steed knives are durable, well balanced and comfortable to use. You'll find that these knives have a razor sharp edge, robust and strong full tang construction and perfectly engineered ergonomics. These high carbon steel blades will definitely get the job done in the kitchen. And right now you can use discount code vosteed15 to get 15% off your order. And as always, the links are in the show notes. And now on with the show. Hey, Liz, how's it going? Thanks so much for coming on the podcast today.

Liz Solomon:

Good. I'm great. Excited to be here.

Chris Spear:

Let's jump right into it. Why tacos and specifically breakfast tacos. You have a breakfast taco business? How did that start? I mean, there's a lot of layers to that answer. But why tacos? Why breakfast tacos?

Liz Solomon:

I mean, tacos are one of the best foods in the world. And I think I mean, weto go way back when I was first like toying with this idea, but it really was coming out in the form of me making breakfast tacos for my ad agency. We started a whole thing like every culture has its form of a taco and or you know, or every talk every culture has its form of a dumpling and a taco is technically a dumpling and like all these things but I think that you know it's such a versatile food that you know it brings I think it sparks a lot of passion for people that for me why breakfast tacos I mean it I think it's very much about my experience in New York and my experience pre New York coming together the confluence of being here and seeing the need for breakfast tacos not just because like as a genre of food Tex Mex is missing but because as a function of form of function, the breakfast taco was missing.

Unknown:

I just needed to see what I could make happen. I think it's the perfect breakfast food satisfies so many needs. You can have all kinds of tacos, you can have tacos that like you know are drunk food that make you want to like you know, then go go to sleep. But you can have tacos that are very much fuel and the breakfast taco and epitomize that I think you see a wide spectrum of breakfast tacos. And they're all legitimate, like they all have a place. So yeah, I mean, you know, that's why breakfast tacos, they're just generally the best, the best food but then for me being in New York, and seeing the opportunity to do something better than what New Yorkers were currently eating for breakfast is how I ended up here. What I like about is like, I'm a egg sandwich kind of guy in the morning, but I feel like it's lighter on the carbs not like that. I'm trying to watch my way but just like you have a bagel egg and cheese sandwich and it's like so heavy. It's like a lot of food. And I think that the tortilla is like the perfect vehicle to get all that stuff in you right? But you're from Austin, Texas, which is how this kind of started right because that's a thing down there, isn't it? Yes. Yeah. So I was born and raised in Austin and and went to UT and Birkenstock was a very much a thing they are leaving. I mean, tacos Tex Mex are the thing and I guess barbecue, but it's very hard to find a salad not so hard anymore. And it's not like London where you absolutely cannot find fresh greens. No offense, London but yeah, it's it's a thing down there. So it was just in the fabric of my upbringing. Whether we were making tacos at home or just eating them out. Every birthday dinner was it somewhere Tex Mex. So it's so part of your daily life that like you know, you when I moved to New York, and people tell you there's no textbook people say they say these things and you don't really believe it because it's like, how could you just not have something that everybody eats every morning? Almost in Texas? You know, it doesn't make sense. Well, what makes a perfect breakfast taco these are, are they always flour tortillas? It's like a date. It's like a setup of a question. I mean, no, they are not always flour. I would. I mean when you talk about Tex Mex, I feel like you have to understand that flour I think is the core tortilla. This is not Mexican food. This is Tex Mex soy flour is your baseline corn is always a modifier. Like if you want your tacos on corn. That's like a How would you describe it? It's like usually I thought it'd be something analogous to like pizza or something. But you know you eat if you order a taco, you're getting flour in Tex Mex. And if you want an encore you have to ask kind of thing. It's like the opposite with like regular tacos up here, because that's like American style, right? Like you go down a taqueria and they give you on a corn tortilla. And if you if you want it with like shredded lettuce and tomato and ground beef on a flower, they call it like Americano, almost like a day like, Okay, you're having real Mexican food. And that's the thing. It's so weird that it's a dig. It's like, well, what if I wasn't making Mexican food? Like I'm not making Mexican food and making Tex Mex, which, like the name literally is a blend of Texas and Mexican and Texas. Is America. And you know, there you go. So breakfast tacos. Should I think start on flour tortillas? Are there delicious ones on corn? Yes, but what makes a perfect breakfast taco I think depends on what you're doing that day. Like it depends on if you're going to work it depends on if you're in a garden. And this is like my husband is such a Liz answer because I'm not going to give you these. So I'm just going to tell you a bunch of different why reasons why everything is different and good. You know, but I think that that's that's the thing is like yeah, perfect breakfast taco satisfies your need right and then and that's why there's a space for all different kinds. There's a space for Veracruz, there's a space for Taco Deli. There's a space for us. There's a space for Tor cheese. They're all so different from each other. I can tell you what I like most about like my favorites. But do you like most about your favorite? If you just had a really delicious tortilla? well cooked eggs and not not by Well, I don't mean well done. I mean like perfectly, you know, nicely cooked eggs. And a wonderful salsa. That's enough. Like I'm getting hungry thinking about doing that at home. Like no cheese, just the eggs and a tortilla and salsa from Taco shack and Austin, it would be so good. It's kind of like a basic hotdog. Like, you can put a whole lot of stuff on it. And they're delicious. But also like sometimes a bun, the meat and just like a little mustard on it is all you need. Right? Right. Like if you have a great bun on a hotdog or a hamburger, it could be awesome. So yeah, I think I didn't mention that the tortilla doesn't need to be good. Obviously, there's so you know, there's a lot of flour tortillas, I would stay away from the ones with a lot of preservatives. I won't name any names. You just got to be careful. Like you're Yeah, that has a big impact on it. And I think that's why, you know, when I think of good tacos, I default to corn and it wasn't until I tried making my own flour tortilla that I was like, wow, this is a flour tortilla, you know, because the ones you know, the mass marketed ones you buy in every grocery store aren't fantastic. And it was Enrique Olvera as second cookbook, he had a recipe for flour tortillas, and I tried making them and I and I said to a number of people like I made these tortillas. And I think they might even be better than some of the best corn tortillas I ever had. And that was the first time I ever felt like, wow, this is actually a contender because I make all my own tortillas at home, whether it be corn and now flour, and I had never had a flour tortilla that good before. So let's talk about this business you started. How did you start this business? Like it's tough to start any business? And I think food businesses are notoriously challenging. So why start a breakfast taco business? I don't know. I mean, how did I started, I just took one step at a time. Really. I really I mean if I you know, I don't know how deep you want me to go back but it's just I took all of the kind of what I would call corporate steps to starting a business first I set up all my permits, I set up my entity, all that kind of stuff, which is what I knew to do. So I did that. And then just realized I didn't know how to do anything in a commercial kitchen. So I took a small internship with a very nice group of people who taught me a lot about how to operate in the kitchen. And I just literally kept putting one foot in front of the other I tested my recipes I made my recipes at home and then I tested them after I found a commercial kitchen I think about I showed up to the commercial kitchen to like see it and like you know see if I could work there like I was wearing a pencil skirt. And saying the first one was like Who who are you but anyway when I ended up signing a contract with them and then started I tested out my recipes on like the tilt skillets and use vertical cutter mixers and like learn how to use all of that and then I just put the product to work. I knew that there was an opportunity within advertising and marketing and kind of corporate New York that they needed better catering, so I started selling them tacos and it was a word of mouth game and And that's how I kind of entered entered the food world. I can obviously go into much more of it. So you started with catering were you just like doing corporate drop offs, like making them and bringing them to sites and leaving them? Yeah, I was making people were 100 tacos at a time, which I felt like was not too much. It wasn't, you know, it was in some cases, but it just made sure that, you know, I wasn't paying to bring people tacos. But yeah, it was just making the tacos the morning up and delivering them to wherever they were going. And it started with me and truly like my sister, and actually use just the date, we got a, you know, a notification today from Facebook, that it's been six years. Since these photos and it's me, my sister and my husband, like just sweating it out over like our biggest order ever, which was, I think, like, I think it was 300 Tacos, which was a lot for us to take on. But it was the hardest thing I've ever done. Yeah, we were just making them every morning, I was delivering them and then coming back and washing the dishes. And it was very difficult. But that wasn't the like long term plan that was just a way for me to really get my bearings in, in, in working in food. Honestly, I had to do everything to understand how it worked. And I knew as soon as okay, this has some traction, we needed to have some kind of customer experience. But I knew that the breakfast business model is different than anyone else. And what I was able to do literally like financially was different than being able to just like take out a lease on, you know, even even if I had found the perfect piece of real estate that was cheap enough, but well located enough to make the business model work. I don't I don't know what would have been the right thing, but went for the mobile direction where we were able to basically take out leases on Parks Department land and have these little cards that popped up for four hours at a time sold you tacos and then disappeared. And that was that was kind of step two, we had two locations, one in Prospect Park in Brooklyn and one in the financial district in Manhattan. How long after doing the catering? Did that start? One year and like a couple of months? And how many cards do you have now, we have three technical tour operating still because one, the Financial District has been on pause since COVID. But we have the three part locations, we opened one in Madison Square Park a couple years after the first two. And then in between there, we started our retail partner program, which is where we deliver our tacos to coffee shops and cafes every day that they sell. We're in over 80 locations, regional partner locations now. And then we have our own little brick and mortar here in Brooklyn. That's at the front of our production facility. That's a pretty big jump to go from two carts to now at places selling your tacos. How do you scale that? And I think that's one of the biggest challenges is starting a business is really tough, right? But so many people don't know how and when to scale? And did you have that as kind of like a vision all along? Did you have this? Like I want to be in all these locations? Or was it kind of incremental? I did have the vision did I really like know exactly how it was going to play out and have this perfect game plan and like, step by step here is going to happen in a year. And then this is going to happen. And then I'm going to target this multi unit group like no, that's not the way it was, it was definitely a little bit more organic. But the plan was always to have those three items going on, or three channels going on. We had catering, we had our own retail, and then we had other people's retail, and within other people's retail, aka wholesale, you know, there's opportunity for packages and things like that. So that's still on the horizon. But it's like, I mean, the way that we scaled it was it was always a business model that I built for scale, I always kept it very lean and the product very focused, like why not do one tacos and dinner tacos and all the other tacos. And it's like, because I needed to keep it pretty modular. And I needed to keep it like, focus on the morning. And we can do the morning better than anyone else. Let's just keep it there. And that way when we are adding five patients a week, it's like it's not reinventing the wheel every time. It's just like, here's my four tacos. Here's your menu, here's how we deliver it. Here's your pants. This is you know, it's like did so it was built to be scalable from the beginning. But if I if I said I had, you know, exactly a roadmap, like that's so intimidating, I think for entrepreneurs when I was a where's your business plan? Um, like, you mean like my slides that says like, the like ideas? And yeah, there's obviously financial projections. And yeah, they've been like pretty, you know, mostly somewhat accurate, but I don't know, I think it all was based around this one singular strategy and a focused product. And that's how it will became scalable. Do any other places do like cooking on site? How does that work? Like you're in a retail location? Like a Whole Foods? Like, are you bringing product ready to go for them? Are they? Or do people they're doing it? What's that look like? You can do it both ways. But for most of our partners, we bring product ready to go. So it gets dropped into their holding units at temperature. So, you know, a huge part of our business and a core piece of our business is temperature control. And back to the eggs. I mean, it's like also quality, its safety, its quality, its everything. Temperature is everything, time and temperature, my favorite two things. And, yeah, but you can also do it where you know, we would deliver cold products that would get heated on site, it just depends. It depends on the customer and the partner and what their capabilities and what their desire is honestly, like how motivated they are to do it. Yeah, egg holding is really tough. I mean, I've worked in big corporate dining programs where you know, yeah, you know, where you're putting eggs on a steam table or something like anytime you're trying to hold eggs. Not a good scenario. I mean, but it's, you know, it's the core of what you do. I'm sure it took a little tinkering to figure out how to do it really well, just a little Yeah. I still have nightmares about a few, like, early catering deliveries that I'm like, I know those eggs were green. And it is painful to remember those times. But that's how I feel like I know, egg rolling better than anyone can like feel a taco and just know if it's if it's right or not. Yeah, Golding is is is its own animal. And I think that that's what's surprising to people, and also the hurdle we have to overcome, because a lot of people have had such bad experience with hot health food, that they see something in a warmer that like it's gonna be nasty. And it's like, no, it can be done correctly. It's hard. It's definitely that's one of the challenges we have, too, with having so many retail partners. It's like you're entrusting your product to so many other people. So that's definitely a challenge. But it's doable. Like I said, it has to be, they have to be motivated to be selling a good product. But I think that kind of speaks to the success of those locations overall, like not just the success of ATT at their location. Well, what did COVID look like for you? I mean, did it impact your business? I can't imagine it didn't it seem to impact everyone, but what's the past couple years been like? It was rough for different reasons, like every three months, right, like the first three months of COVID, we actually did great because we pivoted to do these taco drops that are called packages at breakfast tacos that people eat at home, because there was still a need. And I think that there's still no matter what, like people, even if you are eating breakfast at home, and you're not getting it out, like you're not going to make a whole like egg breakfast every single morning. So you need to have an element of convenience, but you do want something especially at home, like satisfying and you know, warming and wholesome and so our tacos fit that need and they help people feel a little bit like their old life. But at home, we could be getting our tacos somewhere else. So based on them at their office, they would have them at home. And they I hear from people all the time now that like we're like, they'll just randomly I'll be training someone at a new, you know, regional partner location. And they, they'll say, you know, I ordered a truck was during the pandemic, I'm like, it's still the end of it, but no, at the beginning of the pandemic. And it just made me feel normal. So you know, thank you. And that's like, when I look back over the last two years, those kinds of comments make it very much worth it. And so that was the first three months, you know, we were in people's homes. It was great. And then it was like, you know, people started getting out. And I think everyone saw like the slump of the summer of 2020. Was, was tough. Things changed. It's like there were no people were nowhere. Like I think they weren't at home, but they also weren't out. Everyone was still scared. It was like a little bit weird. And then the taco trucks are still going but like, you know, our wholesale partners started reopening but everybody was slow. Catering was completely not a thing because there were no offices or no group gatherings. It was pretty vaccines. So I would say the winter of 2020 to like 20, early 2021 was the darkest period right before the vaccine and then we've, you know, been on the upswing since May 2021. I vividly remember the week the CDC said you don't have to wear masks all the time anymore. Ever since then it was like wild town. I would say since besides like the business downturn, the hardest thing is definitely employees and health of your staff and even just managing like emotions. COVID is the hardest part. How many people do have on your staff? 40? Yeah. 40 between operations team, production team, retail attendants and drivers. Yeah. And that's not counting our contractors really? Yeah. So it's all over actually. It's a good chunk of people that have I know everyone right now is talking about like staffing issues. It's, it's tough out there. That was also the terrible thing about 20 or summer 2021 Was it was all of a sudden we had business back but no one was around there was like, an April 2021. I said out loud and mint it as like as Craigslist broken right now like is because Why is no one responding to our job postings? Because usually you get like a flood, right. And there was nothing. So I right now we're in a much better place. I feel like the market is kind of leveled out. We, you know, have figured out what to pay people, you know, how what's going to be motivating in this market? Which isn't too different from what we were doing pre COVID. But definitely had to, like, consider new things, whether it's PTO, or, you know, more flexible schedules, things like that. But, yeah, I think we're in okay, I don't I'm not gonna knock on wood. It's been a lot better. Here. I feel like I still do see like signs when I go to other cities. They're like, you know, be patient. We're short staffed today. That hasn't luckily been dish and issue for us since like fall 2021. When you have one brick and mortar location now, right? Yes. I mean, that seems like a whole different thing. What was the motivating factor behind opening a brick and mortar when, you know, it seems like it would maybe be easier to just work out of your commercial kitchen? And not deal with that? Yeah, would have been a lot easier. No, it's like, I always did want to have some kind of brand presence, I just always, you know, be true to like, the minimum viable product situation, it's like, I wanted to do it when it made sense, like, not just for vanity sake. Right. So we had, we knew we were going to have to build our own production facility. And ideally, it would have been a place that we could have our own retail, because if you could sell tacos, like you know, we don't need a place that has a bunch of seating because it's all grab and go, we don't need to, you know, be a place that has a ton of traffic, because we're also making your tacos out of here. So it's, you know, it's not like that's only the only revenue coming in. So I always was like, when we build our own production facility, we'll just carve out a small chunk, like we only need a small chunk with a little warmer and a think. And then we can do what we do everywhere else. So that was the reason for it. It's, it's, it's nice that it was lucky. Our space here actually, you know, is bigger than just a little window. We have a nice big patio and things but it just made sense. It was kind of like a why not. And we do try very hard to stick to our guns here. Like, you know, not doing me door to tacos. That was a question. And I think some people honestly come here expecting that we would be doing made to order because it's our headquarters. But we don't because we don't we're not at where grab a good brand. Grab and Go huge on the side of the building. People still are like, Why have you made to order? My wife and I talked about that all the time about, you know, doing one thing and doing it well. And it's really hard to I think maybe not go down the path. You know, I think back to like, one of my first jobs was I worked at Boston Market, you know, Boston Market? Yes. Actually, I always I always think about them when I think about my own business. And I'll tell you why later. Yeah. I grew up in Massachusetts, and they had a strong presence. And I was there when they went from Boston chicken to Boston Market, right. So it's like, we're doing chicken, we're doing it really well. And then it's like, now we have turkey, which kind of makes sense. But then you have meatloaf. And then you have all this stuff. And it was like, they grow they add so much product, so many different things. And then we're just going to expand, expand, expand, expand. And now like what happened to them? I don't know, did they go bankrupt get sold like something happened? Right? Yeah, they don't even have like a market presence anymore. And you know, like, maybe you should have just stuck with chicken and doing what worked. For sure. And that's that's definitely the approach that we've taken. I mean, it's taken a lot of restraint to not try to get into a bunch of my hands and a bunch of different pots. But it's funny you bring up Boston, Margaret, because I think about them a lot. Because I somewhere in college, someone in some business class, they gave an example, that Boston Market was selling their Velo pet a loss, and they couldn't like figure out like something was wrong with their p&l, I don't know. And then they figured out that they were like, you know, paying people for dollars to eat their, their meatloaf. And I'm always like, I don't want to have a Boston Market below. I'm like, wherever, you know, I go into the cost of goods and I'm like, praying that there's not some crazy formula that turns out. No, I'm selling my bacon. Talking about a loss or something. So yeah, I don't know, but for different reasons. Yeah, Boston Market made an impression on me. And yeah, I think a lot of when I started this, especially one of my biggest kind of watch outs was making sure I didn't fall into whatever trap everyone else who had done breakfast tacos before me here and fallen into that didn't work. And I do think that, that some of the trap was just like, if you do breakfast tacos, just do breakfast tacos don't like serve it on the side of your like, you know, regular menu or different concept. And you also have breakfast tacos, it's like, you're just gonna get distracted. And you it's a big enough job to try to get New York to eat in the first place. So you have a background in advertising and marketing, right? That must that must have served you pretty well. I mean, isn't. So I'm sure your tacos are delicious, but isn't so much of any business like marketing, branding, advertising, like, do you feel that helped your business and get the word out? Like, maybe give you an edge up? Or a lot of businesses have no idea where to start with that kind of stuff? Yes, I do think it did. I would say like if I'm critiquing my own path, like we haven't done as well in marketing and advertising as we could have given my experience, I think, because I was so focused on the operation of the business versus marketing. But definitely establishing the brand. Like I said, when I said it took all the steps like the corporate like check your boxes, it was like, you know, logo, color palette, like all these things like that was very easy for me to to knock off a list from the beginning. And it enabled me to quickly like, position ourselves for different things, whether it was menus for our retail partners, and it gave me you know, good customer service experience gave me like good business and like team management experience, and even just how to handle HR stuff like so the background of it operating the business, it gave me a lot of information or on the job experience. What do you wish you knew before you started your business, like if you could go back and talk to yourself now having been in it a few years, anything that like, would save you a lot of time and effort, if you had just done differently from the start. I wish I had more food science information. I really wish I had like, I don't know what course or what I would have where I would have found it. But I that back to the eggs. I wish I knew more about that, instead of just learning it all by trial and error. And some of those things like just principles of temperature. And not to get the impression that like there was any there was ever a food safety issue. It just literally I could have like cut corners, I just couldn't make things easier. I could have like avoided having overnight shifts, like there's like things that would have just made my life easier. But that said, doing it the hard way. Taught me the ins and outs of all the things that can go wrong. You're gonna have something someone always has something they're gonna get into. Yeah, I think that food science, and then it would have been cool to just have a little bit more money to start. I'm always I always look back and I'm like, people are people, you know, see me and they're like, oh, yeah, you're, you know, after this business, would you start another one? And I'm like, hell no. But maybe then I say hell no, it just maybe I would if I had more money. Having actual capital to start, it would have made things easier. But then I also think like, if I did, then I could have fallen into a lot of mistakes, it would have just been lazy because I would have not cared as much like oh, if this doesn't work out, or if this is a waste of money if I just buy this equipment on a whim. Like, if I don't search for the best price of this or you know, whatever, like you just kind of get less discipline. So there's also pros and cons to that. I'm big into bootstrapping. I mean, I started my business with just a couple $1,000 And that's why I tell people all the time, like getting in the personal chef business like go buy your China at IKEA or even like Goodwill, you know, like, you don't have to have all this stuff. The first step does not be hire a graphic designer to do your logo and get your car wrapped and buy like all this like fancy equipment. It's like go to a store and buy some $15 pots and pans and like just start cooking for people and go from there. Yeah, it makes you have to make decisions. And that's I think important. I think at some point you need like, there's also the flip side of like when you don't get capital when you need it and being undercapitalized is also dangerous at some point. Do you have goals? Are you someone who sets goals, either short term or long term? Yeah, I think I do. But I don't have like, again, like I don't like tie it down. Then the follow up is like what are those? Do you have a plan? Like is there something that we haven't talked about yet? That's on the horizon that you're like, kind of working on? It's not super secret? It's not super secret, but it's obviously Like, our goal is to go beyond New York, it's to bring it always has been from the very first pitch deck, if you will to bring breakfast tacos to markets that don't have them, and doing it in a way that makes sense for that market, because I think everyone sits around scratching their head, like, why don't we? Why don't we have breakfast tacos? And it's like, well, because Texas is a unique market. And and also New York is a unique market. And then maybe there's areas of the country that could be a little bit more like, you know, rinse and repeat. But yeah, you have to, I guess, you know, know, your audience know, your strategy and do it, I guess, enter markets in a way that works for those places. So going beyond New York is definitely on the horizon for us and figuring out a way to do that efficiently is the next is the next big challenge. I think we I think we know but I will I'm sure we'll learn some things along the way. So the goal is to you know, have King David tacos Be it a national brand in the next 10 years that would be that would be sick. I would love that bring bring some breakfast tacos to the DC market. Do you see what is definitely next like that's what I would consider a regional and it's a it's a big enough urban market that I think you guys are ready for Marcus tacos and your lifestyle lends itself to the grabbing breakfast taco. Yeah, well, the thing I'd say is, you know, the traffic here is atrocious. So what you have to do is get up ridiculously early to get into the city well, before your job probably start something Do you have time to kill? Like, that's what I find like, I'll have a early like an 8am meeting in DC. So I have to leave my house at like 530 just to beat the morning rush. And then you're in the city. And it's like, well, what am I going to do for the next hour and a half, and I ended up just like parking my car somewhere and hanging out. It's like, having a place where you could get a breakfast taco would be amazing. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I think we can do that. And like, you know, in Philadelphia, I think Chicago would be a great one for us. But then, you know, it is a question of how do you do that in places that do have less density or don't have such like a concentrated rush hour in the mornings. But you know, back to the taco drop thing and having KDT in your home. That's very much within our wheelhouse. So it might be that you know, you have these kind of more dense urban cities that you can do King David tacos at retail partners at coffee shops and cafes. And then for the people in Nebraska, you know, you can find Ktt frozen out. Well, I love when people share resources. So I always ask, Do you have any resources that you love and this could be a book and app a course you've taken like something that's helped you in your business? Do you know who has been a major it goes this like food science element of my business? Serious eats? And Kenji Lopez all right as I get them, you guys, I did it. Right. Okay. J Kenji Lopez. All I was like, I see it on my front of my cookbook every day and I like haven't I don't say it out loud ever. So Daniel grits er, who is the current culinary director has been on my podcast, we have a three hour we did a three hour podcast together because I just wanted him to come and nerd out about food science. And we sat on a Sunday night and we taught I broke it up into two episodes. And we talked from like eight to midnight one night on Zoom and just recorded this because I just want to nerd out you know, we talked about olive oil and poly phenols and like all this like really nerd stuff. I'm like, this is the one for the food nerds. I gotta I'd love to get Kenji on the show. He's, you know, got so much going on now with his new Walk Cookbook and everything. Yeah, really good. That's one of my favorite resources is serious eats. Yeah, when I had to get educated on something like you know, we just even though we are very focused on breakfast tacos, we introduced happy hour at our location, just three days a week, using all of the same stuff we already make. But the one thing we needed to add was rice. And I was like, you know, I do not understand rice. Really, I don't understand rice. And I went to see receipts and read all about it and then went downstairs we got a rice recipe together and two tries. So it was it was good. They're very helpful. I'm always talking serious eats what do you hope to give to the culinary industry or the food industry? Is there anything that you think on a kind of a higher level you can share? I guess if I was to say what I hope my My impact is if there is an impact, it's kind of twofold one not take yourself so seriously, like you know not be afraid of holding some eggs. And saying like this, you know can be delicious and it's not so much about like, is this what you expected? But is it about is is this delicious? And do you like it? And I know and There is a place for food that is nutritious, fulfilling, wholesome, and maybe like wrapped in a foil and everybody can be okay with that it doesn't need to be looked down upon so and that's for grabbing go food in general, I think that it can be done well. So you know not to take food so seriously in the sense that you feel like you're in a cool contest. The other part would just be to like this a great conventions. I feel like I talked to one guy who we worked with, it's too long of a story to get into. But we were in them in a totally different capacity, but he is a chef. And I asked him, I was like, So what do you what do you think? Like, he's a renowned chef. And he was like, well, he's like, I if someone had asked me if this was possible, I would have said absolutely never. We were working with them on construction, some things It wasn't even food, but I was like, I'm curious. And like, you've seen our operation, like what do you think's going on? He was like, I just never thought it was possible to hold an egg like this. You know, I said, I've talked about tacos on the show before like, that's kind of like all I really want to eat i i never worked in super fine dining. Like, I've never worked in a Michelin restaurant. You know, I find some of that stuff. Interesting. I like to go to nice restaurants. But at the end of the day, like, Texas food is what I want. Like, I want tacos and barbecue. Like I joke that we like we went to Texas just so we could eat barbecues and talk barbecue and tacos, you know, and I'd much rather go get like a couple four or $5 Tacos than drop like $300 on a you know, 10 Yes, meal somewhere. And yeah, I think a lot of people are kind of seeing the light on that. Not that fine dining dining are ever going to completely go away. But I think there's a time and a place for it. It's wonderful. Yeah, I mean, I went I went to live in Madison Park before they went vegan. We got you know, in off the waitlist a few years ago for my birthday. And it was delicious. It was I was like fascinated by the it was true art, you know, people moving around the room was artful, like everything was artful. But I ate a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos afterwards. And that's not a knock on them. It's just like, that's not like a meal that I can have all the time. You know, but it was awesome. What they what they accomplished. That just being the pinnacle of food is I think maybe what needs everybody needs that we see Pentacles in different areas. Well, if you look at you know, we just had the James Beard Awards last week. And best chef Mid Atlantic, a Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia selling tacos. Yeah, so South Philly barbacoa. So you know that that's kind of the thing I like to see where it's like, we're not just getting these super fancy restaurants. It's like if the best chef is, you know, woman selling tacos out of a small restaurant in Philly. I think that's a step in the right direction. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate you. I really appreciate you dropping in and spending some time with us today. For sure it was fun. And to all of our listeners. This has been Chris with the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. Thanks so much and have a great day. Go to chefs without restaurants.org To find our Facebook group, mailing list and check database. 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