Brothers Shaun and MIchael Swaleh hoped appearing on the Food Network's Great Food Truck Race would help them start their truck, Tikka Tikka Taco, after a disappointing Kickstarter campaign. Then they came in second.
A second-place finish meant not scoring their own mobile restaurant. Then Michael Swaleh was served another blow: his brother, who had planned on running day-to-day operations while Swaleh kept his corporate day job, pulled out a day before the finale of the Great Food Truck Race aired and moved to California.
Swaleh didn't give up, but instead tried another Kickstarter and experimented with selling tshirts and spice kits from the Indian food truck concept to raise funds. Unfortunately, Swaleh realized he can't do it alone.
"I spent six to nine months looking for somebody to manage day-to-day operations and secured a loan to buy a truck. But without anyone to run, there was no point," Swaleh says. "It's sitting there, waiting for somebody. I get catering requests on a weekly basis — there's high demand, but we can't deliver it."
Ideally, Swaleh says, he's looking for someone with enthusiasm and resources to buy in as a minority partner and get the food truck off the ground. He sees the truck as just the beginning: It would jump start a bricks-and-mortar space, which he and his partner would eventually franchise out all over the country.
"It's frustrating because it really is a good idea, but we can never get it off the ground [due to] a lack of resources and time. I've been cooking for a long time — my dad's a chef, and a love of cooking has led me to this," he says. "You get these reactions at Tikka Tikka Taco. [People are] shocked. It's something they've never had before, they can't believe it. It's not good food, it's game-changing food."
Since he hasn't been able to find the right business partner, Swaleh says he's now more flexible on someone becoming a majority partner or even buying the concept outright. Not many food truck plans come with a demand for the food, a social media following and national exposure, he says.
"[Tikka Tikka Taco] has its own competitive advantages built in. I never had the cash or manpower to do it myself — this is really a team undertaking to make it what it should be," Swaleh says. "It's a heck of an opportunity, and people really like the food. It could give somebody a huge head start on starting a new truck."
For more information about Tikka Tikka Taco, contact Michael Swaleh at email@example.com.