Today we are chatting with Daniel from Street Feast Mobil. A mobile catering company that has grown from one truck to three in 2 years and going strong. Daniel started the business in his late 30’s and has never looked back.
1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m 38, married with two beautiful girls and like many people have a mortgage. My wife has her own design business too. So life can be pretty busy.
2. What has been your career path, before getting to where you are today?
I worked at Woolworth’s when I was in school and when I finished. I then went on to do various things from driving trucks on the construction of motorways to working in bars, which led to jobs within sales for various alcohol brands. Which is what my last job was.
3. How did you get started in the catering and food truck business? Was it intuitive or a physical event?
To be honest the idea of a food truck business came about from a conversation in the driveway. I was talking to a mate that had a business that had a food truck regularly come around and he said he was disappointed with the service and food. He then asked, so what did I think about starting one. As they were looking for a fresh approach and I always wanted to do something like that.
4. Do you have a business partner? If so how important do you think a partnership is?
The mate that the discussion was with is my business partner. It’s been very important in getting the business off the ground. As I think on my own I wouldn’t have been able to get the business growing as fast. As they have helped both financially and with making some initial decisions in getting it started.
5. What do you think has been your toughest physical and mental challenge in starting your own business?
It was and still is getting up at 3:30 am every day.
6. What do you feel is a great quality to have as a person, for someone who wants to get into doing what you do?
Being able to communicate with all types of people.
7. What mentors do you feel you have learned the most from? What have they taught you?
My Dad. Just work, go out and get it done. This has also been the same as my business partner. It’s very much a don’t procrastinate and get out there and do it theme amongst them both.
8. What is it you love or are most grateful for when it comes to running your own business?
Not having to answer to a boss and being able to do what I think is best at the time and if it doesn’t work, getting to learn from it. Though one of the misconceptions sometimes with running your own business is that you don’t have a boss, which you don’t directly. Though I see everyone I deal with including my customers as my boss. As to be honest I think it is harder to be sacked by a direct boss then it is by your customers or network if you let them down.
9. When you were younger was there something you did or thought about regularly that looking back you realise you always wanted to be involved in the food industry?
I’m not a deep thinker so I can’t think of anything in particular. Having said that I have always enjoyed and still do enjoy just throwing different things together and seeing what it tastes like.
10. What do you feel prevent you from starting a business like this in the past?
Finances. Being able to spread the financial risk with a business partner. Especially in the beginning, has been invaluable.
11. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given around starting a business?
Do your research. Make sure that there is a potential market
12. Did you have to do any formal education or training before starting your own business?
Just practical life experience and common sense.
13. Do you feel getting into business later in life has had its benefits? If so what do you feel they are?
It can do. But I think the biggest benefit has just been life experience.
14. How important has networking been to you in starting a business and why?
There is definitely a case at times for not what you know, but who you know. As I do think it’s important and I think it has helped me over the long run. Although I don’t necessarily use my network to build my business as it is very much just customer focused.
15. Did you or do you use a business coach? If so wh]o and how has it benefited you and your business?
No, I never have. But I do think that if you choose to use one, make sure that they are specific to your industry.
16. How do you juggle family life and business life?
With great difficulty. It can be very hard at times
17. How did you manage financially starting a business later in life? Do you have any advice around finances for anyone wishing to start a business?
I was lucky enough to have a business partner that helped out financially. If you can’t afford to do it on your own, you need to either start small or find an investor.
18. A big part of what interests you is about giving people actionable steps to create self-awareness of where their interests lie within any given field. Could you tell me some specific things that someone could go out and do that would help them know if this is something that they would love to pursue?
Go and get a job in a café or food truck even if it is part-time around what you currently do. I just had a guy apply for a job today to drive one of our trucks. He wants to start his own coffee van business but wants experience and for me, I’d rather employ someone with that mindset and try to make it beneficial for them to stay, then employ someone who is just looking for a job.
19. Finally, What’s your advice for anyone wanting to start a business later in life?
Always hire people that are smarter than you. I try to always hire someone that makes a better coffee than me. Do your research and if your business is customer focused it sometimes doesn’t matter what you like, it’s what the customer likes.
Well Daniel, thank you for talking with us at What Interests You!
Find out more:
You can see more of Street Feast Mobil online at http://www.streetfeastmobil.com.au