Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
It takes a village to fund a food truck.
Around $10,000 in the case of Sonoma County’s Awful Falafel. And that’s where you come in.
Local chef Gabe Nahas is among millions of of entrepreneurs using the web to secure micro-donations of anywhere from $5 to $5,000 from friends, family and well-wishers to get their business off the ground. Referred to as crowdfunding, sites like Kickstarter.com and GoFundMe.com allow anyone to raise money for a cause by gathering small amounts of money — usually donations of $25 or so — online.
Nahas, who has worked for top area chefs including Petite Syrah’s Josh Silvers and Zazu’s Duskie Estes and John Stewart, has spent years planning his Middle Eastern kitchen on wheels. “I’ve been cooking since I was 14 and I’ve always wanted to open my own restaurant. We decided to take the food truck route, ” said Nahas. (Oh, and the name? Gabe says there aren’t many English words that rhyme with Falafel and like his menu — which features everything from kebobs and shawerma to camel meat — is about not taking food too seriously. The falafel won’t actually be awful).
Slated to hit the roads of Sonoma County this April, Nahas sunk most of his savings into the purchase of a converted 1984 Chevy P30 several months ago. But it still needs a generator, paint, a special fire extinguisher, commissary rent, insurance and additional repairs. So Nahas went to the web.
In just three days, he raised $345 with personal donations of between $20 and $100. The payoff was that those supporters could see where the money went instantly when Nahas posted a picture of his new fire extinguisher, purchased with donations.
Donators also get the satisfaction of special perks for their donations. $50 gets a meet-and-greet and a meal for two on the truck; $100 a meal for four; $500 a dinner for four at your door, and anyone willing to donate $10,000 gets “just about anything” including cooking lessons from the chef, a multi-course meal and “even camel rides in your backyard!”
Okay, so maybe camel rides are a bit far-fetched. But having a community of eaters chip in a few dollars to get another local food business the jump-start it needs? Delicious.
Want to help? You can donate to Awful Falafel’s GoFundMe.com site here: http://www.gofundme.com/hvhh0&aff=GFMse