When I chose to locate Taco Punk in NuLu, my business plan accounted for windfall revenue from large events like the NCAA Tournament, Thunder over Louisville and the Derby Marathon. None of these events produced any significant income. Furthermore, the casual nature of Taco Punk makes it challenging for us to attract significant numbers of customers at night. I knew that we had to change our business model or we were not going to be able to make it. As I have a METCO loan, I contacted the Economic Development council for advice. After presenting my ideas I was urged to create a Kickstarter project to finance developing the side lot into an alfresco dining area and launch a catering program.
By and large, independent restaurants depend on the residents in the immediate neighborhood for support. In times of trouble, it only makes sense to reach out to the local food community for assistance. Competition in my price range is predominately corporate chains with huge economic advantages. Crowdfunding is a valuable resource for small business who do not have access to equity investors to level the field. (By the way, the act of openly soliciting equity investors is against SEC regulations.)
Furthermore, Taco Punk represents restaurant entrepreneurial innovation. Though local purchasing, a transparent, nutrition centered menu, commitment to environmental responsibility and workers’ rights, Taco Punk is leading the Quick Service segment of the food industry. Taco Punk’s business model is a unique product in the fast food market and is very much qualified to be a Kickstarter project.
Gabe Sowder is the owner of Taco Punk. This op-ed was written in regards to this story.
An op-ed by Rae Hodge, who had previously criticized Taco Punk, is here.