Exeleon Magazine

GRAB YOUR BRO-RITOS: Interview with Founder Marcus Crawford

Marcus Crawford

What is necessary to be an effective and prosperous entrepreneur? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

To be an effective and prosperous entrepreneur, you must have foresight, determination, and patience. Your success will take time and a solid strategy. Lots of people want to crush it quickly, but when you understand that your path is a process that requires calmness, clarity, and endurance, then it will be easier to win.

In terms of leadership, I try to continually motivate my team. When things go right, I let them know they did a good job and that’s what we expect. When things don’t go right, I let them know it’s ok because not all efforts always go as planned, but I then require everyone to figure out how to prevent a similar negative outcome from happening again.

Being able to support and encourage your team is essential so that they understand how their actions and output affect our overall picture, yet at the same time I don’t want them to be afraid to make mistakes. Believe it or not, mistakes are a necessary part of the journey in order to come out on top.

Talk to us about your growing up years and your association with food.

As a kid, I always looked forward to the holidays because the presentation of amazing food was always so vast. Everyone showed up with different homemade dishes that we all savored and bonded over. I didn’t begin cooking until years later, but I always understood how important vibrant flavors were to the eating experience.

With that appreciation of and emphasis on flavor in mind, my goal with Bro-Ritos was to excite the palate, overjoy our customers, and provide them with an experience that inspired them to want to talk about our food – especially among their friends and on social media!

This emphasis on serving menu items with outstanding and memorable flavors was crucial to gaining customer loyalty, generating excitement, and locking in a big competitive edge.

What led you to start Bro-Ritos? What makes the brand stand out from the crowd?

I was working a 9-5 job and legit hated it. Being an employee was never my goal, and I wanted to find a way out. I always wanted to own/operate a company in the hospitality field and eventually found my way to a food truck. It was an affordable way to start a business that I could learn and earn from.

As an astute student of restaurants, I always tried to understand how my favorite eateries created an outstanding customer experience. From flavoring to interior design, to branding, and to staff greetings – it all adds up. I took note of which approaches were most impressive and kept them in mind for when I would launch my own business.

I wanted to create a vibrant, fun, and dynamic brand with a superior menu to match. We discovered there weren’t any dedicated burrito trucks with a strong branded presence in New Jersey when we started Bro-Ritos, so we used that opportunity as our niche to gain market entry. It became the perfect brand and business for us to develop and we have been gaining and growing since we launched in 2016.

As a young entrepreneur, what have been the biggest challenges when it comes to running a food truck business?

Our toughest challenges have been unexpected: blown engines and transmissions, a glitchy generator, distributor caps needing replacement, and – oh yeah: a GLOBAL PANDEMIC!

In each case, I sat back, focused, and responded with action and patience. I prefer to move quickly and methodically to find solutions, but I don’t want to defeat myself by dissecting and overthinking the issue at hand. Each of our challenges has cost us thousands of dollars, but hey – that’s simply part of doing business.

What does a day in the life of Marcus Crawford look like? How do you ensure work-life balance?

In the beginning days of Bro-Ritos, my days were from 7/8am to 8/10pm. I would handle admin work when I woke up, then I got the truck ready, took it to the serving location, worked the event, moved to the next location, then headed back to the commissary to clean up (both me and the truck).

When I finally got home, I did more admin work then collapsed! Now, I’m able to have a regimen in the morning where I work out, read, and make sure to have breakfast before I handle anything business related (unless it’s an emergency).

My partners facilitate most of the truck operation, while I continue to handle admin (scheduling, client communications, paperwork, finances, etc.) and some operations. I’m able to start my day around 7:30am and thankfully I’m not always stuck doing stuff into the night because I’ve created a system where I’m on top of it all.

What would be your advice for entrepreneurs in the ever-changing and demanding QSR market?

Do your research. Understand your market. Learn from your customers. Analyze your competitors to see where they’re ignoring, overlooking, or not understanding opportunities. Things change quickly in this industry. Big companies close daily, and others find innovative ways to stay open, expand, and superserve their customers.

How do you plan on continuing to expand and scale the brand in the coming years?

We’re going to stick to our winning script. We want to continue developing our hub and spoke model and expand beyond NYC and NJ to Atlanta (which we’re currently working on).

Our long-term goal is to create a nationwide Bro-Ritos food truck network. Once we prove the efficacy of our model in the Atlanta market, we’ll be able to roll it out to other states across the U.S.

BroRitos duo

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