Name: Syl & John Gonzalez
Business/Location: The Guac Spot Food Truck & Catering/New Jersey Area Mobile Business
Your Specialty: Deliciously Chunky Guac & Avocado Inspired Eats!
What problem does your business solve: We pride ourselves on giving our customers the freshest, unprocessed guacamole possible. Unlike most store-bought guacamole, which rarely resembles fresh avocado due to processing and pasteurization, ours is always made fresh, with chunky bits of hass avocado, tomato and onion, without preservatives or fillers.
What makes your business unique: We scratch-make everything from our IPA BBQ Sauce and Drunken Jerk Seasoning to our Avocado Ice Cream & Avo-Bacon Cannoli Cream and even fresh bake our Avocado Chocolate Chips cookies on the truck throughout service. We scratch-make everything except our breads We focus our creative energies on creatively incorporating avocado into the foods everyone loves, sometimes with a mexican flare, but ALWAYS with a twist of our own cultures, culinary experiences, and representing NJ. I believe we are also one of the few NJ food trucks that sells packaged product at farmers markets.
What’s your story: My husband and I started our little business when we got tired of giving our all to unfulfilling corporate positions. We started out just wanting to share our guac with people and get it into stores, but realizing the processing required to put it on a store shelf led me to getting creative in the kitchen to create prepared items to pair with and highlight the freshness of our guac. Playing with avocado in other savory and sweet applications helped me round out our catering and food truck menu - and was just plain fun!
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: PERSEVERE. This business is seriously hard work, but push on! If you have a true passion for what you are creating, keep going, keep sharing, and don't get discouraged by inconsistent events or sales, red tape you never expected, or competition. Take pride in your product and hold that tight to the core of your being so it is not easily lost in the face of inevitable critique or self-doubt. Know to expect the obstacles and push them back with continuous learning.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business: I wish I knew the challenges of finding and working at a good commissary kitchen in New Jersey.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it: One major challenge is the time and expense required for food truck permitting and how differently food truck permits are handled from restaurants in NJ. We apply and pay for permits in each town/city we visit, each time we set up to sell in most cities. In 2017, we spent 25 times what the average NJ restaurant spends on their annual permit. There is a "ONE State ONE Permit" initiative in the works by the NJ Food Truck Association, and we are whole-heartedly supporting it and hope it builds momentum.
What are you most proud of about your business: I am most proud of the reactions to our food that we get from our customers. We have some very loyal customers who track us down for tacos or guac at every event we do. It's challenging to build a such a dedicated customer base with a mobile business. It's been so humbling and validating!
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? I think my husband and I would both agree that we have met and continue to meet some of the most unique, yet like-minded people, creative people along the way of building this business. I once heard someone say that 'a restaurant kitchen is like the island of misfit toys' and it feels good to be part of a professional community where you always fit perfectly.
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