In 2010, my dad wanted a Food Truck to cater the Christmas Service at our church, so I hit up Twitter and contacted the most popular trucks to see who would respond back. The first person to get back was Gigi. At the time, Buttermilk Truck had to be one of the Top 3 Food Trucks in L.A. so I was thrilled! Gigi and I met for coffee in Downtown L.A. and we’ve been friends since. She graduated from LMU with my wife (but they didn’t know each other then), spoke at my network event and even reviewed my book before it was released! Gigi also got married a couple years ago to her Elementary School sweetheart, Ryan and just launched a product line! I think you’ll really enjoy her story:
1. Tell us WHY & HOW you got started with the Buttermilk Truck.
I started the Buttermilk truck around the time of the food truck boom in Los Angeles 2009. I always wanted my own business in the food industry and when this lower start-up cost opportunity came along I took the plunge. Besides breakfast being my favorite meal of the day, research and surveys played a large role in the concept and menu for Buttermilk. As with any business, research into your industry is needed. With the gourmet food truck industry being fairly new, alot was learned along the way. Some information was available like where to get a truck, where its stored, health permits and insurances etc. Where to park, city permits, business licenses were a process for the industry.
2. Why did you make the transition from a very successful Food Truck to a Product Line?
We were very successful the first two years and the last two we were able to maintain a strong brand name. As with any industry, competition comes into play and in this case over-saturation. Los Angeles is large but there is no need for the amount of gourmet food trucks that are out there. Profitable locations became a problem, as well as profit margins. As a business owner, it is so important to go over your financials at least quarterly and see the health of your business. We saw a great opportunity in our product line and decided this was the best decision for us.
3. As a pretty much ‘one-woman show,’ how do you stay focused and keep your priorities in order?
I would not consider myself a one-woman show anymore. As business owners we learn that we cannot do everything. Although I am busy, there is a way for everyday operations to run without you or at least spend minimal time doing so. Focus should be on the opportunities for your business and eventual growth. Daily lists and goals are essential to success, keeping an appointment book and staying organized. Also there are only so many hours in a day, so if you can’t get to something don’t rush a half-effort job. Put it on the list for the next day above your other tasks and get to it then.
4. What do you envision as the bright future for Buttermilk Inc.?
I strive for our product line to be national and international in retail but also used in many avenues of food service. Every product has to have numerous avenues. We will grow with intention and above all remain profitable.
5. What’s one piece of advice you want to give fellow entrepreneurs?
Network, network, network. You would be surprised the amount of helping hands that are out there. You are not a one person show. You may not be able to afford employees but see what makes sense for your business, maybe you can outsource a daily task etc. Your goal should never be to get by, but to grow with intention.
Founded in 2009 by Pastry Chef, Gigi Pascual, Buttermilk Inc first started as gourmet food truck- proudly serving their famous Breakfast dishes to the streets of Los Angeles.
Buttermilk is now making its way into homes and restaurants. In 2013, Buttermilk expanded their brand into gourmet products, debuting a Red Velvet Pancake Mix based on their most popular menu item on the truck. Recently Gigi has developed a purple yam pancake mix as well partnering with donut shops in LA and OC.
From her pastry Arts and business background running her parents family business, Gigi will continue to grow Buttermilk as a nostalgia brand bringing families together to share the most important meal of the day, Breakfast.