When did you start California Wrap Runner? How did you get the idea?
California Wrap Runner was started in 2011 in Santa Barbara, California. SB is a small “big” town on the central coast of California with about 80k residents and probably just as many tourists on any given day. The city is known for good food and stellar hospitality. Being a big fan of eating healthy and playing hard, I set out to solve the fast food on the go craze that is set to destroy the health of Americans. I’m a huge fan of salads. Not little fast-food salads with a couple carrots, iceberg, and ranch dressing. Salads that leave you satisfied and feeling like you ate a hearty meal. Nothing ticks me off more at restaurants than when I try to order healthy and am presented with a salad portioned for a 12 year old girl. Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean staying hungry. That’s when I came up with the salad to go, wrapped up in a tortilla with homemade sauces, savory meats, and catchy names. They taste great, are easy to walk around outdoors with, and are a great healthy alternative to burger and burrito land.
Why start with food trucks? Why decide to open the brick-and-mortar?
This is the short version. Our small business in SB started out catering to the 1-mile radius that we called downtown via bicycle out of a kitchen inside a car wash. The city’s unwillingness to support local small businesses, and the health department’s stick-in-the-mud regulations drove us out of town and in search of a place that would embrace and support our ideas. Denver was on a short list of health-conscious cities that we considered. Moving our business model to a larger and very different city meant making some adjustments. No longer could we be hyper-focused to a 1 mile radius if we wanted to cater to the entire city. As we crafted our business model, it became clear that a food truck would give us the most exposure for our proverbial buck. At the heart of our business is catering and we needed to reach as many people around the city as possible in order to grow our business. Being stuck in one location, in one neighborhood, with a select demographic wasn’t the ticket for us to succeed in Denver. The brick and mortar was always on the back burner but not tucked away in the closet. We knew that eventually our catering needs would outgrow our food trucks in terms of storage and production capacity.
Talk to me about growth: How much has the company grown (in terms of revenue) since it opened? How many employees do you have?
Our business has continued to double in both sales and the number of events we’ve catered year after year after year. Our staff is always evolving depending on season, events, and demand. Typically there are 2-3 people on a food truck for a lunch shift.
What makes this restaurant a good option? How does it stand out from competitors?
It boils right down to our core beliefs. Eat great, and play hard. The better you eat, the better you feel. And the harder you play, the more satisfied you will be in life. The food we serve satisfies the most intense cravings while packing a serious amount of nutrients and bold flavors. If you are looking for a healthy meal that is tasty, satisfying, healthy, and easy, you will be hard pressed to find anything that compares.
We’ve had a lot of success in Colorado, and we’ve served quite a few two-handed wraps. Through our expanded reach and continued growth we hope to inspire more to eat great and play hard.
Anything else to add?
We are pretty pumped about Tuesday the 24th of October. Not only is it a big milestone for us, but it will also be our largest most involved philanthropic contribution to date. We always try to give back to our community when possible, it’s important to ownership, and it’s important to our staff. This Tuesday we will be donating 100% of our proceeds to the DAWN clinic. The DAWN clinic is special to us as it caters to Aurora (our new residence) individuals who are unable to obtain healthcare by other means. It’s also special in that it is run 100% by university students. The same students that will be supporting us on a daily basis. We have been promised that all of our proceeds will go directly to patient care. It feels good all around, and we are incredibly excited for this event. Our goal is to sell 1500 wraps over lunch which is about double that of our busiest lunch ever.