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Meet Angela Maciel of The Hungry Hatch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Maciel.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
The Hungry Hatch started from the desire to provide Kansas City with healthy street food options in 2018. At the time, I was working as a Technology Integration Specialist at West Platte School District and on the weekends, I would help my husband on his food truck. However, at every event we attended, I wasn’t able to find a healthy option to eat. After a full summer on the food truck scene, I fell in love with serving food to people.

I decided to start my own food truck focusing on people who have healthy lifestyles and/ or dietary needs. In the fall of 2018, I found my food truck and then worked up a menu that I thought would be food truck friendly and fit the concept I wanted to do. The Hatch menu consists of a variety of wraps, rice and quinoa bowls, salads inspired by different places around the world. It can accommodate several lifestyle diets such as gluten or dairy-free, keto, Mediterranean, paleo, vegan and vegetarians.

I enjoyed my job supporting and collaborating with teachers training and assisting them in integrating technology into their lesson plans and they were the first to collaborate and support me with trying out my new menu concept ideas!

In the spring of 2019, I put in my resignation notice with the school district, invited my daughter, Katie, to join me in this new adventure and we worked a full season together doing 130 food truck events from April 25 to November 5. By March of 2020, our food truck was about 70% booked for the season when COVID hit. We quickly switched our focus over to serving neighborhoods for the 2020 season along with a few private events. This year we feel very blessed to be mostly booked for the season with our food truck.

Because of our popularity and reputation for healthy, delicious food, in October 2020 we were approached by Parlor KC to bring our concept to downtown Kansas City where we are already building a large following with a repeat customer base. Having a brick and mortar has allowed us to expand our menu and try out new additions to our concept by adding all-natural smoothie bowls and cold-pressed juices. After seven months at Parlor, we closed our spot due to COVID challenges. Shortly after closing our spot at Parlor, we received an email from the City Market in downtown Kansas City that a restaurant location was opening up in June. This was a huge opportunity for my business and for my family so we decided to take it. We plan to be open in July with our restaurant.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My first food truck was over 35 years old and 18 ft long. I had never driven a truck before it my life so I had to learn to how to maneuver it into tight places. My very first event, I had to parallel park in between a Tesla and another car! Also, it had some major mechanical issues that happened while we were traveling to/ from events. For example, one of my wheels almost fell off coming back from one event and another time while driving to another, a 8 ft long pipe dropped on the ground from my truck while I was stopped at a stoplight and it was undrivable. These repairs took time and required me canceling events and financially costly. I also had to learn how to deal with tow trucks & mechanics which was intimidating as a female. My commissary kitchen was located at the City Market. With an 18 ft truck, I had to try to find parking close by to load/ unload all food and supplies for each event. One time I circled the City Market for almost 30 minutes with my truck waiting for parking. Which was 30 minutes I needed to have to prep/ cook the food to be on time for our event!

Another obstacle I had was coming up with the menu. I don’t cook at home and don’t have much experience with food. I just wanted to offer something healthy to people who were at events where food trucks were. My personal diet consisted of mostly whole foods and simplicity and our menu is pretty consistent with that. I had to also consider being able to put together meals for a food truck that required fast service and I’ve never made foods for a crowd so figuring out how to shop, prep and cook things in bulk was a big learning curve for me! Because of the types of food, we offer to customers, it also puts a larger workload on us for loading and unloading the truck with all the variety we offer.

For our first restaurant experience, we opened up during COVID and moving into wintertime restaurant business was really hard on me. Our expenses with the restaurant vs the sales we were getting required me to physically be at the restaurant 12-14 hours a day. I couldn’t afford but 1-2 staff to assist me. On my day off, I was shopping and prepping for the restaurant. It was a long and tiring seven months living on hope and trying to be optimistic things would turn around for us as a physical location. By the time spring hit and things were starting to look promising, I had staffing challenges of trying to find enough staff to work the hours we were required to be open at Parlor and run my food truck at the same time. Also, going from a truck menu to a restaurant environment was a challenge for me not having food/ restaurant experience. Our first few weeks, my foods were not the same quality as I was able to offer from the truck. We had to adapt a lot of our methods to give the same quality people experienced from the truck.

As you know, we’re big fans of The Hungry Hatch. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
The Hungry Hatch started from the desire to provide Kansas City with healthy street food options and as of now, we are the only food truck we know of that offers our type of cuisines for customers in our area. Most of our menu is gluten-free and whole-food focused. It can be easily customized for a variety of dietary needs so customers who are attending an event with dietary preferences/ challenges can still find something they can eat while enjoying their event. Our menu is healthy AND delicious and falls into the fast-casual category so a great option for those without a lot of time but still want to eat healthy.

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