Name: Steven DiPasquale
Business/Location: Amanda Bananas/Pier 13 Hoboken and catering throughout NJ & NYC
Specialty: Soft serve frozen fruit, a healthy alternative to ice cream and frozen yogurt
What problem does your business solve?: Our soft serve base is 100% fruit. Nothing is added, so it's dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. Whether you are lactose or gluten intolerant or have any nut allergies, you can have Amanda Bananas. Eating healthy can still taste good!
What makes your business unique?: Amanda Bananas is made fresh to order every time. We are mobile, so we can go anywhere —festivals, indoor office events, house parties, etc.
What’s your story?: After a 15+-year career in the restaurant business, my business partner Amanda and I had a desire to bring a fresh, new, healthy and delicious product to our community which made opening Amanda Bananas exactly the right fit for us. Our very first day was July 4th, 2012 at Fireworks on the Hudson. We still can't believe we got through that night without having a "soft opening."
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: You get what you pay for. Do it right the first time...it will save you a lot of time and money down the road.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: I wish we started with a mobile truck instead of a trailer. I did not realize how difficult towing a trailer could be.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: Weather. We are trying to do more indoor catering and we are searching for the perfect "food hall" location.
What are you most proud of about your business?: I’m proud that people recognize our brand and search for us. I’m also proud of our continued growth.
Last year, we had an amazing opportunity to open a pop-up in Osaka, Japan. It was very humbling to travel 7,000 miles to see people eating and enjoying our product! In addition, we just licensed out our first Amanda Bananas Truck and hope to franchise by the end of the year.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur?: I love seeing repeat guests. I’ve also watched the children in our town grow from babies to seven year olds, that's pretty cool!