The first time Bryan Lewis encountered the sweet, decadent taste of “Leige waffles” during a trip to Europe with his wife, he probably didn’t realize how much the delicious Belgian treats would affect his future. Four years later, Lewis and his brother are now the proud co-owners of Press Waffle Company, the first authentic Belgian waffle food truck in Dallas, Texas.
Press Waffle Company specializes in a variety of Belgian waffle treats that include Nutella, strawberries, whipped cream, and/or bananas, as well as coffee and espresso drinks with beans sourced from locally-owned Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters. Currently, the company is still working to build momentum and will not officially open its “doors” until after its Kickstarter campaign ends on August 14.
After that—well, you’ll have to get in line.
The idea for Press Waffle Company began taking shape when Lewis and his wife returned from Europe and started planning their wedding.
“When we came home we wanted to do a ‘waffle bar’ for dessert at our wedding and could not find these specific waffles anywhere,” says Lewis. “We even gave a few caterers some recipes we found online but no one could replicate what we had experienced in Europe. After all that, I knew there was an opportunity.”
From that point on, Lewis began his research for the right recipes and the best structure for his business, finally settling on a food truck due to the lower startup costs. While the inspiration for the company might sound whimsical, Lewis has actually dedicated more than two years of his life to number crunching and market analysis to ensure the viability of this undertaking—not to mention more than a year perfecting the recipe. In short, he saw a need and turned it to his advantage.
Still, Lewis admits that he is very fortunate to have the support of his family in getting his company off the ground, particularly his brother, who was reportedly “dragged into it” once Lewis had made progress with the recipes (what are brothers for, right?).
“I am extremely blessed that my business is family-owned in that each member of my family owns a part of the business because they invested in me and the idea,” says Lewis. “That is something I know not everyone has access to.”
Even with the support of his family, however, Lewis deemed it smartest to stick with a food truck model, since start-up costs are closer to $100K as opposed to the $400K typical for a brick and mortar storefront.
It also helps that food trucks have grown steadily in popularity across the U.S. in certain major cities. Austin, Texas, for instance was home to almost 300 food trucks by mid-2015, and is considered one of the top ten major food truck cities in the U.S. Of course, food trucks that specialize in Belgian waffles are still in the minority anywhere you look.
Despite the lower costs, running a food truck business is no small undertaking. “The problem with food trucks is that, at least in Dallas, the infrastructure is not there to support the trucks. The health codes, lack of available commercial kitchen space, and lack of reputable commissaries for food trucks has been extremely difficult to navigate,” says Lewis. “Also with a food truck we are responsible for booking all of our business.”
But Lewis has a plan: social media.
While social media is important for any small business in today’s highly connected society, it’s especially vital for the food truck industry. The ability to quickly update followers, post times and locations to the whole community, and drop in a few mouthwatering pictures of freshly prepared menu items is game changing, allowing the wandering food trucks to more effectively compete with established, stationary restaurants. “We have put a lot of focus into building an audience before we hit the road,” says Lewis.
So if you find yourself in the Dallas area and you are absolutely craving a delicious coffee and a sweet waffle treat, look them up at www.facebook.com/presswaffleco. Or, stop by their grand opening party on August 27th at the Texas Ale Project for free waffles, games, music, giveaways and Texas Ale Project brews. Your taste buds will thank you.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .