Owners Terry and Dawn Hall created Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen out of their experiences, knowledge, skills, and interests. The founders had 30 years of experience in the hospitality busi- ness. They traveled extensively across the United States to meet the requirements of their careers in hospitality. They were the children of small business owners and have restaurant experience combined with formal hospitality education.
Terry and Dawn recognized several patterns in their travels:
1. The availability of fresh, natural food is far less than the need for it.
2. Declines in small-business viability. 3. Theinverserelationshipbetweentheavail-
ability of healthy food and the level of obesity.
When their daughter, Mayer, was born, Terry and Dawn decided that they wanted her to eat only healthy, fresh foods. They were frustrated by how dif- ficult it was to find the food they wanted when they ate in restaurants. And, they wanted flexibility in work schedules and the opportunity to support their com- munity. This led to the idea of creating a mobile res- taurant serving the fresh, healthy foods they desired.
After the initial frustration of being turned down repeatedly by mainstream banks, even though they had related work experience, savings, excellent credit, and no debt, the Halls learned of a financing resource in their community that had different parameters. They secured their initial fi- nancing from Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE Capital), a Cleveland, Georgia-based com- munity development financial institution. ACE had a combination of its own resources and funds from Create Jobs for USA available and was look- ing for borrowers like the Halls. The loan process took seven days for approval. With the funding from ACE, Happy Belly was able to get rolling. The Halls remodeled their commercial kitchen, pur- chased a food truck, and hired some dozen people.
Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen is part of the highly competitive Atlanta food-truck market but has some distinctive twists. The Halls don’t call their business a food truck, rather a “curbside kitchen.” They have a corporate sponsor, the Big Green Egg, producers of the high-end grill that is pictured on the vehicles. The menu changes fre- quently, depending on what is fresh and local. Orders are taken on iPads by staff in front of the
kitchens, rather than from windows in the truck itself. Also, the company has a full commercial kitchen in nearby Smyrna, Georgia, that they use for catering. These factors combine to permit their providing a great variety of fresh, healthy food.
It was the Halls’ intention to keep the money earned in the local community. They donated 5 per- cent of profits to the local Boys and Girls Club and purchased locally whenever possible.
Happy Belly targets customers in Fulton and Cobb Counties and focuses on its core value of healthy eating. The Halls partnered with Adam Verner, a local farmer. This is part of what they termed “farm to street,” a play on the farm-to-table movement. They were named one of the 10 Healthiest Food Trucks in America in Shape magazine and expanded to two trucks serving the Atlanta area, along with an increasingly successful catering business. 5 questions that need to be answered 1 How did Terry and Dawn Hall identify the market for Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen? What process did they follow to analyze opportunities? 2 What knowledge,skills,and abilities did the Halls have before starting their company? 3 Why might Shape magazine have named Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen as one of the 10 Healthiest Food Trucks in America?How would they be healthier than most food trucks? 4 How is this business tied to a social mission? What do the owners do to demonstrate their commitment? 5 Identify four critical resources for Happy Belly and how the owners secured them.