CockADoodleMoo is a food truck and catering business operated by Jolie and Doug Rollins. They opened their business in 2014 with the decision to “live fearlessly” and follow their dream. Doug has more than 20 years of experience as head chef at country clubs and Jolie has more than 20 years of business experience in the health care industry. Together, they are a dynamic duo that produce some of the best food you’ve ever tasted served with flair and extraordinary customer service.
I visited their truck this week after corresponding with Jolie by email for a couple of weeks. She was extremely generous with her time answering my questions about her business. After my visit, it is clear to me that this is a business that will be successful long after the food truck movement fades away. The food is all fresh and local whenever possible, so the menu adapts based on what is in season and available. The meat all comes from local farmers. It was absolutely delicious!
The great food is only part of the equation that assures the success of this business. Jolie has a larger than life personality, remembers her regulars and their orders and makes their interaction with CockADoodleMoo memorable. Her people skills also pay dividends beyond her customer interactions, as she has developed a large network of businesses that host her truck for lunch and dinner service. She and Doug also have a great network of local farmers that they work with to ensure the quality of their local raw materials is the very best.
I asked Jolie several questions about her decision to open CockADoodleMoo and how it runs. Those questions and answers are below.
Why a food truck (as opposed to a stand alone restaurant or some other format)?
Work/Life balance. When we go out of town, the truck is parked – no worries about leaving someone in charge! No worries at all!
What are the most challenging aspects of owning your own business?
Not enough hours in the day. [It was clear from our conversation that the 5-6 hours they were open every day was preceded by hours of food preparation, shopping from local farmers, as well as calls and emails to make sure their schedule stays fully booked.]
What do you enjoy the most (and least) about your work?
Most – customers. Helping them decide, telling them stories, listening to stories and watching them enjoy my husband’s creations.
Least – paying taxes.
Was there any specific impetus that inspired you to follow your dream in 2014 to open CockADoodleMoo?
I’d been in healthcare for 18 years and needed a change. My husband had been a country club chef for 18 years, he needed a change. Why then? A tug that told us if we didn’t at least try, then we would regret it forever.
What do you know now that you wish you knew back when you were getting started?
I wish I was a mechanic!
How long did it take before your business was profitable? What strategies did you employ?
We were profitable after 16 months. Knowing when to say no to an ‘opportunity’ is critical to the success of our business. My dad told me “you will take a lot of business where you think you are making money and you won’t. Don’t take business knowing you will lose money”. That stuck with me when someone wanted us to go outside our brand or sell at a lower cost to meet their goals. It wasn’t easy, but I have learned to say NO!
Are there things about a food truck business that are unique and different from other types of businesses?
Our local Food Truck Family is very tight – we call it Co-oper-ti-tion (combine cooperation and competition). We are all individual businesses with our own brands but collaborate and share information.
How do you market and promote your business?
Shop Local Raleigh and RDUMFA are two organizations that we’ve used to market our business. We also rely heavily on social media and word of mouth. [I saw this in action when I visited, as people came up to the truck they mentioned they follow CockADoodleMoo on Facebook and saw they were going to be here.]
What advice would you give to someone (like me) who aspires to start a food truck business?
If you love people and hard work then what are you waiting for???!!!