This 2-truck fleet consists of the Sweet Treats truck, which is a sleek, hip ice cream truck that caters to the young at heart, and the Dessert Truck, which is designed to make you feel like you are at home in your kitchen; it is equipped with a refrigerated display case, freezer, a kickin’ sound system with outdoor speakers and a flat screen TV. They aim to bring back the childhood memory of chasing after the old ice cream truck with money in your hand to buy your favorite ice cream bar, but they have taken it to a whole new level. This duo serves a variety of mouth-watering treats such ice cream bars, gourmet cupcakes, brownies, cookies, chips, soda, and also water, Gatorade and Monster Energy drinks.
1. Who are you and what is your background? When did you open for business?
Sweet Treats is made up of Chris and Jennifer Saint, husband and wife duo!
CONTINUED…. Chris’ background was in Private Investigating and Jennifer’s is in Property Management and Real Estate. We have been in business for 3 years!
2. Why did you start a mobile food truck? And why desserts?
About 8 years ago, Chris had to have emergency surgery because there was a tumor wrapped around his spinal cord. It was so big that is was causing spinal fluid to fill in his brain so they needed to operate immediately. Without going into too many details, they removed the tumor between the C2 and C6 vertebrae’s which left him with severe motor damage after the surgery. He was completely paralyzed from the neck down when he came out of surgery, which was a miracle in itself because the doctors did not expect for him to even make it thru the surgery. After a very long difficult recovery, Chris is now completely independent with the exception of the use of one hand, he has no feeling in most of his upper body, and is in constant pain—but he’s alive! He could not go back to his previous profession of being a private investigator so we were looking for something for him to do to keep him busy. One day we were sitting around at a BBQ and somehow we got on the subject of the old-school ice cream trucks and how great it was running out to the curb when you heard the ice cream jingle. That gave us the idea of bringing back the ice cream truck but catering to adults! The food truck craze had not taken off back then so the concept was pretty foreign to us. Well, that was 3 years ago and we have now expanded to having two ice cream trucks and our new gourmet dessert truck. It just made sense to keep the “Sweet Treats” theme going!
3. What’s your favorite thing about running the business and what is your biggest challenge?
Our favorite thing about running our business is interacting with our clients—who doesn’t love the Ice Cream Man?? With the new dessert truck, we LOVE being able to support other local small business owners who have amazing desserts and taking them out into the public! Being mobile gives everyone greater exposure and we work with some amazing people!! The most rewarding thing about our business is being able to support Life Rolls On which is a part of the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation, who help people with spinal cord injuries learn to surf, ski, and skateboard again. A portion of all of our sales goes to support this amazing foundation! We also take the trucks to their Southern California Events and donate treats to all the volunteers and participants.
Our biggest challenge is probably dealing with the maintenance of our trucks! It sucks when they break down and you are out for the count! We try to love them as much as possible but we definitely work them hard.
4. What are some things that are different than you expected about running a food truck?
I think just owning a small business in itself is harder than we ever expected!! Anyone who thinks it’s easy to be in business for themselves, has never owned their own business. We feel like when we take two steps forward, we get pushed three steps back! There is always something to deal with but it’s never boring!
5. What is your most popular item/flavor?
On the Ice Cream Truck it’s Snow Cones for kids and Haagan Daaz for adults. On the dessert truck, I would say it was the Red Velvet cupcake from Cupcake Love, and the Black and White Cookie from San Diego Desserts coming in a close second.
6. What is something “off the wall” that you would love to put on your menu but aren’t sure people would go for?
We are getting ready to debut “Chocolate Covered Bacon” and I am sure it will be a big hit! We love anything that is crazy and would get people’s attention!
7. We get a lot of people on SD Food Trucks Facebook page asking for advice on starting a truck. What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of starting their own food truck business?
The best advice we can give anyone is to know what you are getting into. Owning a food truck is a huge responsibility. You must have a good business and marketing plan and be prepared to work your butt off! The most important thing is to have the commitment to it, even when you’re down and out. Never give yourself permission to quit.
8. What did you think of the TV series, “The Great Food Truck Race”?
We loved it! We thought it brought good exposure to the Food Truck world. We are jealous that we could never be a part of it because we don’t make our own food but if there is not a Food Truck from San Diego on the next season, we will be upset! There are some AMAZING Food Trucks here in San Diego that deserve to be on the series and would WIN!
9. Clearly, tools like Facebook and Twitter are important to the mobile food vendors. How has social media affected your business?
Both Facebook and Twitter have had an incredible impact on our business! For the first two years we did not do any type of advertising (with the exception of our website) and the majority of our business came from word of mouth and referrals. Now that we have FB and Twitter, we have already seen a huge increase in business just because the “word of mouth referrals” can spread so much quicker now.
10. What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten had from a food truck? Which truck was it and where?
Jennifer—I have to say it is the fish OMG Burrito from Tabe BBQ! ADDICTED!
Chris—Asada Fries from Tabe and the Smoked Bacon Dog with Satan Fries from Devilicious.
11. Some people get excited about finding a truck and trying something new. Why do you think food trucks really capture peoples’ imaginations?
Because Food Trucks aren’t afraid to take risks! The crazier the menu the better and people support that. That is what is so great about having such a variety of food trucks, there is something for everyone and you will never get bored! If something on the menu doesn’t work, you change it! I think Food Trucks have more creative freedom then the brick and mortar restaurants.
12. If you could start another food truck that was completely different from Sweet Treats, what kind of truck would it be?
That’s a secret! But there would be lots of deep fried food involved or peanut butter, we can’t decide!
Sweet Treats can be found at http://sweettreatstruck.com/ and http://sweettreatstruck.com/what-we-do/dessert-truck.
(All photos taken from Sweet Treats Facebook or website.)