Food Truck Owner Does Successful Pandemic Pivot

A Greek dessert served at the 776 BC Olympic Games has been changed centuries last-minute to enable a struggling nutrient truck business to become a nationally-distributed nutrient manufacturer.

The ancient dessert, announced Loukoumades, is similar to a doughnut but is a multiplied all its own. The gives are round bullets concluded with yeast that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Tammy Levent of Palm Harbor, Fla ., announces her initiations “Heavenly Puffs.” She’s quick to say she didn’t invent Loukoumades, but she introduced them to many Florida festival-goers when her family started selling them from a meat truck. The meat truck started as a area hubbub on the weekends, when she wasn’t running her trip enterprise. Now she’s selling hundreds of chests of frozen Heavenly Puffs to restaurants, convenience store and even Greek schools and religious, that resell them for fundraisers.

At first, they were only selling the sugareds, which can be topped with honey, cinnamon, sugar, fruit syrups, Nutella and beyond, in their menu truck. Levent procreated the dough on the spot and they could cook as many as 500 an hour in a $7,000 fryer. They almost always sold out.

But the booming business at both the nutrient truck and the travel agency came to a quick halting when the pandemic stifled vacations along with street commemorations and fairs.

Constitute a Pandemic Pivot

With the additional age on her handwritings, Levent started thinking about something someone told her at the last event she worked, a big 2020 New Year’s Eve party at a Greek restaurant in Tampa called the Acropolis.

“We could just followed with fiats all night, ” she remembered. “The restaurant owner said,’ If you located a practice to represent these frozen for menu busines, every Greek restaurant in the world would buy them.’”

The dough takes time to make and has to be cooked on the spot, because it’s tricky freezing yeast concoctions ahead of time.

“I was sitting at home in quarantine, ” Levent withdrew. “I said to my husband,’ Can you turn on the generator for the menu truck. I’m going out there and I’m going to try to build these things frozen.’”

She spent the next three months making the dough, cooking the Loukoumades in the truck’s fryer then freezing them to find the best process. The secret answer turned out to be vacuum-packing the dough in freezer bags.

Growing a Whole New Business

This first part of Levent’s story explains how, like countless financiers, “shes seen” a need and replenished it. The residue of her outing with frozen Loukoumades is about how she made a business to distribute her product.

After she perfected the frozen concoction, she manager out to restaurants for taste tests.

“I went to the Acropolis and the owner says:’ Oh yeah. They are perfect.’ And I said’ Dude, they were frozen, ’ “ she echoed. “He couldn’t believe it. Diners been in a position to conclude them in two minutes instead of three hours.”The Acropolis and other diners started dictating cases of the frozen treats. Levent knew she was going to need more cavity, and more licensing. She also thought of selling to caterers.

“I remembered a friend of mine owned Delectables( Fine Catering) in Palm Harbor. I walked in with my tests. I didn’t even have an appointment, ” Levent said.

This grid shows two employees making the Heavenly Puffs product and various photos of the product itself.

She talked with her friend and learned their business was very slow during the pandemic. Levent asked to rent a area of the commercial-grade kitchen. For $500 a few months, she self-assured a lieu to realise her make in a equipment that could be used to overstep a Florida state state inspection.

Each state goes, but they all involve menu manufacturing equipment to meet a long list of specifications such as sneeze lookouts, three-compartment capsizes for soaping paraphernalium, floor ditches for sterilizing chambers and food storage a minimum of six inches above the floor.

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Once she was licensed, Levent continued selling to restaurants and supplemented convenience store to her target inventory. Others in the wholesale business told her to focus on one or the other because each product expected different approaches such as different package, labeling and marketing.

“I was told’ You can’t.’ I said’ Don’t tell me I can’t. How will I know which one is going to sell more, ’ ” Levent said. Word spread, and a salesperson approached her asking to rep the produce to diners out of state on commission.

Turns out diners sell better, but Levent has get her produce in food market, extremely. Heavenly Puffs are sold in virtually 50 eateries across the country and 10 retail markets.

Levent was surprised at all the record-keeping required in case an ingredient in the Heavenly Puffs is recalled.

“As a manufacturer, you have to write down the heap number of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, everything on a log. You have to say this batch went to this pallet and it was shipped to” which store or restaurant.


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Another discovery, but more on a positive observe, is the low cost of shipping on airlines. A Greek school in Chicago heard about her frozen Loukoumades and prescribed 10 specimen to sell as a fundraiser.

“I called Southwest cargo. I transported 10 cases of this product for precisely $200, ” she said.

Heavenly Puffs now has nine employees who make about 4,200 gives a date. The “Puff Truck” was picked to have a spot at the Super Bowl Experience festival in Tampa. Without having frozen treats on hand to fry on the spot, there would have never been enough Loukoumades to meet the demand at this weeklong event.

“Since we started, we’ve originated close to half a million puffeds, ” said Levent. “I would have never developed this if we didn’t have COVID.”

A woman wears the super bowl logo on her face mask.

Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance reporter and writer in St. Petersburg, Fla ., and generator of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps and Lessons Learned.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which assistants millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal storeys, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 graded The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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