BC Cafe, the brick and mortar version of caveman-themed BC Tacos food truck is celebrating its first anniversary on Saturday, May 17.
We asked the cafe's Brett Chiavari what challenges and highlights he experienced in the past year, and how the cafe differs from his food truck experience. Here's what he said.
Clean Plate Charlie: What have you learned from opening BC Cafe?
Brett Chiavari: Wow there is so much. I've basically learned how to run a business. This is a on a much grander scale than the years when it was just the truck, for sure. I have more employees which means scheduling and payroll. I'm the accounting department, I'm human resources, I'm the catering manager -- I'm doing it all. This is where my previous hospitality background comes into play. I've taken the bits and pieces I've learned over 13 years of being in the industry and applied it to running the cafe and the truck simultaneously.
How is a brick and mortar different than a food truck?
We have had the truck for three years now, and we've developed a reputation. We have our die hard followers, so when we do the food truck events in Hollywood, Plantation, or even the breweries like Due South and Funky Buddha, we pull up and people are waiting for us. It's so awesome to be able to go to your customers. The restaurant is different. We have to get people to come to us. It's been really fun to see which kind of marketing works, what doesn't work, and how to get people to come to you.
Which experience is more fulfilling -- the restaurant or the food truck?
Both are fulfilling in their own way. You get immediate reaction on the food truck. There's nothing like watching people eat your food. They take that first bite. Their eyes close. They nod their head, and then offer a bite to someone else because they "have to try it." It's awesome! But when the restaurant is packed, music is playing, everyone's eating and having a great time, you get to see the atmosphere you created. The experience they are having is because of you, and that is an amazing feeling.
What do you have planned for the next year?
Well, like we have always said, we weren't planning on slowing down anytime soon. We are still having great success with the truck and looking forward to that continuing. And the cafe just keeps getting better and better. The response we've received from the tacos on the truck and the amount of traffic we get at the cafe for taco night, I can see a BC Tacos brick and mortar featuring all the tacos off the truck, plus a nice mix of our taco night tacos at the cafe. This is something we would like to have in the works by next year.
How has your life changed in the past year?
Well, I have definitely gotten busier! Haha. Sleep and days off are few and far between. But in all seriousness, it has been a whirlwind. The contacts I've made, the opportunities I've had, the events and things we have done has been incredible. I'm constantly impressed by the loyalty of our "cavemen and -women". The support they show us is the reason we're still doing what we do. I've also started to delegate more. I have my two chefs Leo and Paul who run the cafe and the truck, respectively. They have been great additions and a big help to me. I've had my baby for three years this month so for me to let go is a big deal. Ultimately, they understand my vision, how I run things and they truly believe in the concept, the brand, and the vision.
BC Cafe is celebrating their first year in a big way. On Saturday, May 17 from 5 to 10 p.m., feast on special Cajun tacos like the NOLA BBQ shrimp taco served with fried green tomatoes and Old Bay aioli and the oyster po boy taco served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and Cajun remoulade (both $5 each). A live DJ will spin from 6 - 9:30 p.m., and Funky Buddha will offer their brews on tap.
In addition, you can sign up for the taco-eating contest, which starts at 8 p.m. The contest is open to the public, but arrive early to secure your spot.