Win tickets to The Fresno Grizzlies, the... Enter Now
Coming soon: Benaddiction food truck
The way James Caples sees it, there are two ways to go in the food-truck business. You either have a food truck that you run until you can get into a brick-and-mortar restaurant or you start a fleet.
Caples is a fleet guy.
He entertains himself by coming up with names for trucks he might one day own. There’s the Chinese food truck called Wok This Way. The sandwich truck would be called Enter the Sand(wich) Man. There’s a truck that just sells grilled cheese — the Fat Bottom Grilled Cheese truck.
But first, there’s Benaddiction.
That’s the breakfast truck he’s starting with his wife Natalie and their friend/Paris-trained chef Jason Valencia. Earlier this month they got some attention by successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign, where 145 foodies, fans and friends pledged more than $20,000 to get the business up and running.
“The banking system isn’t made to start up businesses,” Caples says. He tried to get a traditional loan for start-up capital and got turned down. It’s pretty much impossible unless you have a substantial amount of savings to put up as collateral, he says. And saving that kind of money is pretty much impossible when you’re working day-to-day just to get by. So, the Kickstarter went into a savings account to act as collateral to secure a loan and buy a truck.
Of course, buying a used food truck isn’t like buying a used Hyundai — only it sort of is.
You start on Craigslist. That’s where Caples started anyway. He also checked with the Mobile Food Truck Associations that some cities have. But he’s being picky. He’s travelled from Redding to Los Angeles, looked at seven trucks so far. He’ll be checking out another three today. If none of them work, it’s down to San Diego to see another.
Once rolling, the truck will usher in a “breakfast revolution” taking basic American breakfast classics and making them accessible day-to-day. So, sausage and pancakes get the corn-dog treatment. French toast becomes bite-sized and tossed in pulverized breakfast cereal. Eggs benedict they turned into a sandwich — a series of sandwiches actually. These are the Benaddictions for which the truck is named.
Here’s the thing: Caples loves, LOVES, eggs benedict. On his last day working at Red Robin, before he started working full time on the truck, eggs benedict is what he made for his co-workers, complete with martini-shaker-made Hollandaise sauce. It’s also the thing he can’t really find in town. He hears Pismo’s has a good eggs benedict, but he’s never been there early enough on a weekend to find out. Add that passion to Caples' experience in the restaurant biz, and the idea for Benaddiction was a no brainer. You do it as a food truck because that’s the future of the industry, Caples says. For all but the fanciest of places, at least.
The whole thing was actually the Caples’ “someday plan” — the thing they said they would do in five years. “Then three years later, it was ‘five years from now,’ ” Caples says.
And then their 3-month old daughter Caylie died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and a word like "someday" lost all its meaning. So the five-year plan became “now.” They wanted to have the truck operational in time for her birthday — which would be tomorrow.
“We’re a bit behind schedule,” he says.
But Benaddiction will be up and running by mid-August. The truck will be out at the Manchester Market on Fridays and at the community college campuses — Fresno City College and, hopefully Willow International. Caples also hopes to have at least one stop a week in Clovis.
“There are people out there, who are like me, young with young kids, and they are saying, 'I am tried of corporate restaurants.' Let’s try something new.”