September 5, 1955 in Avondale Estates, GA, two neighbors, Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner, opened the first Waffle House. They named the restaurant after the menu item that brought in the most profits – the waffle. Today, they are open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. According to their website, 145 waffles are sold PER MINUTE.
One restaurant with over 2,000 locations in 25 states may be onto something. As their naming strategy suggests – waffles are profitable.
Brief Waffle History
Waffles originated in Belgium with the first known waffle recipe found as early as the 14th century. American tasted their first waffle during the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington. Popularity for this golden cake took off at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Queens, New York.
Waffle Food Trucks & Success
Even though another definition in the English dictionary for ‘waffle’ means to “to speak or write in a wordy, vague, or indecisive manner” – there is nothing vague about the success of many waffle food truck owners.
Wafels & Dinges
In 2007, Thomas DeGeest left his stable corporate job at IBM to start one of New York City’s first gourmet food truck – Wafels & Dinges. He only uses only Belgian made waffle irons and offers both authentic waffles: both the Liege and Brussels. In 2010, he is waffles won over Bobby Flays on the show, “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay”. Four years after opening, Fox Business News titled their May 2011 segment about the food truck, “The Million-Dollar Waffle Truck”.
Their popularity grew so that mid-2013, they opened their brick and mortar location. In 2018, they ranked in the top 1% of the New York City Restaurants on Trip Advisor. From one Waffle Food Truck they have grown to five carts, two food trucks, two brick and mortar shops. They use their food trucks and carts for both catering events and parking in designated locations still serving the public like they did in 2007. In a summertime weekend, they can sell up to 10,000 waffles.
Thomas DeGeest says, “Food trucks are enormously popular because we offer something unique to consumers – affordable, high quality meals. Our food trucks specialize in one thing, making waffles, and we do it very well. Specialization is the key to success in our business – you have to do what you do better than anyone else.”
The Waffle Bus
In 2012, a new way of serving up sandwiches was born. The Waffle Bus, owner Phi Nguyen, traded the bun and bread for waffles and waffle fries when he started his first food truck. From there this Philippines-born and Houston-raised entrepreneur proved the concept was a hit. Annual sales in 2017 for The Waffle Bus totaled $956,000. In 2018, they announced that they were buying a 2,100 square feet brick and mortar location (opening Summer 2019). February 2019, they announced a second Waffle Truck will be driving the Houston streets.
Waffle Food Truck Prices
We have highlighted only two entrepreneurs who both left their corporate jobs to start very different waffle food trucks. With so many options for using this mid-century created menu item, the variety of waffle truck concepts is limited only to your imagination. Maybe you are ready to invest in a waffle truck. Besides the profitability, the other question is, “how much?”
Food trucks prices can start at $75,000 and can go up to $200,000 for a new truck. Cost depend on type of vehicle, equipment, features and accessories.
Ready to invest in a waffle truck for your entrepreneurial dreams?
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