Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adam Sobel, Founder of The Cinnamon Snail, located in Red Bank, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Cinnamon Snail was launched in 2010 as the country's first organic vegan food truck and rose to become one of the country's most sought-after food trucks. The Cinnamon Snail was nominated 5 years in a row for The Vendy Award (which has been called the "Oscars of Street Food") and has won the Vendy Cup, People's Choice, Maker's Mark Challenge, and Vendy Hero Award (for their outreach efforts, serving free meals for months after Hurricane Sandy). In 2014 The Cinnamon Snail was the #1 highest-rated place of any kind to eat in NYC and the #4 highest place of any kind to eat in the entire USA on yelp.com. For almost its entire run, The Cinnamon Snail dominated Buzzfeed's top 10 list of best food trucks in the USA.
My customers land in a few different categories:
- Students - people looking to expand their skills in vegan cooking who take my online cooking classes.
- Consulting clients - restaurant owners, caterers, food truck operators, and food manufacturers who hire me to create vegan menus or recipes for them.
- Catering clients - people planning a vegan wedding or event that they need to be pulled off with finesse.
- People who eat my food - anyone looking for seriously flavorful plant-based cuisine!
Tell us about yourself
I have cooked at the James Beard House, represented the USA at the World Street Food Congress in the Philippines, and taught cooking at the Institute for Culinary Education, De Gustabus Cooking School, and independently online. I have appeared on the food network, Cooking Channel, PBS, and several networks. I am the author of the popular cookbook Street Vegan. I have a small vegan family who I live with in NJ. We rescue and rehabilitate domesticated and wild animals. I am a Hare Krsna devotee and spend time practicing meditation and yoga.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Beyond any type of material success, I would view my biggest accomplishment as a business owner as helping people transition to a plant-based diet. I see this work as a matter of life and death for animals who would otherwise be eaten.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The story of my life is about the difficulty of finding balance. That is made even more extreme when you are your own boss. It's very tricky to achieve the perfect harmony between business, self-care, and family responsibilities. I am trying! But it's always a work in progress that I could do better with.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Running a business is hard work, and it only makes sense if you have a goal BEYOND making money. When your work is driven by passion or a cause that is more important than materialism, then it's easy to succeed and feel good about your work
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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