Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Small Vendors Vying for SF Street Food Festival Prize

This is Part 2 of our feature on small vendors competing for the Third Annual San Francisco Street Food Festival prize. You can find Part 1 here.

One of the wonderful things we have noticed while following the voting for the public's choice at the 2011 San Francisco Street Food Festival is how many innovative and previously unheard of vendors are getting exposure to a wide audience simply by having their names on the ballot. While the prize of free La Cocina preparation time, a shared booth spot at the festival on August 20, and Small Business Assistance from Wells Fargo Advisers to the top four finishers is a wonderful kick start for any food entrepreneur wanting to get his or her business off the ground, getting the public to know about a new frozen treat, a holistic smoothie or an international hand roll that gives back is a great benefit just by itself. With that in mind we wanted to share some stories from three more small vendors in the contest.

Jason Angeles, the owner of Frozen Kuhsterd, wants to appeal to your sweet tooth with his array of frozen custards. "I am your diet's worst nightmare," Angeles told us. Frozen custard is to ice cream what Elton John is to the average piano player: richer, more exciting and hard to ignore. Because of the addition of eggs and a stratospheric butterfat content, "Frozen Kuhsterd is and will be the last thing you want in your mouth on a given night!" And with flavors like Red Velvet Cake Batter and Blue Bottle Coffee, it's easy to see why. "Blue Bottle Coffee [frozen custard is] better than any coffee dessert you've tried," Angeles said.

On the other end of the health spectrum, Heather Scott wants Purple Plant Smoothies to be an integral part of her customers' healthy lifestyles. "People love it, because it not only tastes great, but it leaves people feeling energized and healthy. It's a win-win!" The former Division I cross country and track runner, who is also a certified personal trainer, realized that exercise alone wouldn't lead to whole body health. The whole fruits, roots and greens in her smoothies are a part of that, too. "Dating Kale is probably the most well-received smoothie blend we make," she said. "It's a classic that incorporates just enough sweet, while containing one of the healthiest greens: kale."

Jessica Shain is interested in giving back to the countries that inspire the flavors for her Maki-ing a Difference Abroad fusion maki hand rolls. "People will love the hand rolls because we are taking sushi, making it hand held, and giving back a portion of the proceeds to a foundation in the country the fusion flavor was inspired by." For the SF Street Food Festival,  a contribution will be made to the Touch a Life Foundation, benefiting underprivileged children around the world. "People eat good food and get to give back effortlessly. It's a win-win situation."

Being part of the festival is an exciting opportunity for vendors who are just getting started. "The timing of the SF Street Food Festival couldn't be better, as our smoothie cart will just be up and running by mid-August," Scott said. "It would be a great launch event for us, and it would also be a chance for us to connect with people in the community."

Frozen Kuhsterd's Angeles, who recently served up his Cereal Milk and Dirty Chai custards at Coffee Bar's SF BBQ Rib Throwdown, hopes the festival will help him connect with future loyal customers. "It would mean our chance to continue to build the brand and our following, in hopes of getting appropriate funding for a store location."

For Shain, the opportunity to appear at the festival is all about maximizing impact. "I would really be able to make a name for myself," she said, "so when my truck is ready, I could hit the street with people having a better idea of who I am, and what I'm about."

Just as important as the exposure to be gained is the expertise provided by Wells Fargo Advisers. "I'm excited by the prospect of working with Wells Fargo," Shain said. "Almost all start-ups like mine require an experienced financial partner to help navigate through the early days."

As with her smoothies, Scott is looking to create the perfect blend of team members. The advisory services "would be helpful in getting me to better manage the company's finances. We get the most value from having specialists on our team who are focused in on areas where I'm not as skilled."

Angeles wants to use the assistance as a boost to quickly stand on his own. "Instead of waiting for the 'silent investor' to step in or patiently waiting for the funding to build up as we go along," he said, "I might be able to take destiny into my own hands and find ways to fund the store location on my own."

Whatever the vision or motivation, the goal is the same: to bring each owner's unique take on street food to the public and let the rest of us enjoy the results.

Voting ends July 28th and uses Facebook's social plugin to record tallies. To see small vendors like two bites, Ooh La La Lumpia (featured in Part 1 here), Frozen Kuhsterd, Purple Plant Smoothies, Maki-ing a Difference Abroad or any of the other competitors at the festival on August 20, cast your vote now!

San Francisco Street Food Festival (@streetfoodsf)
Frozen Kuhsterd (@frozenkuhsterd)
Purple Plant Smoothies (@ppsmoothies)
Maki-ing a Difference Abroad

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