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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Provo's waffle truck was started by a motivated father, encouraged by his family

By Sarah Petersen, Deseret News

Published: Tue, July 29 7:00 a.m. MDT

 Adam Terry was a man looking for a way to pursue his passion and provide for his family. Now two years later, Terry runs one of Provo's most successful food trucks, Waffle Love.

Adam Terry was a man looking for a way to pursue his passion and provide for his family. Now two years later, Terry runs one of Provo's most successful food trucks, Waffle Love.

(Waffle Love Facebook)

PROVO — In the past few years, Provo has become home to a vibrant food truck scene with more than seven trucks operating regularly in the area and more than a dozen gathering for the "Food Truck Roundup" on Thursday nights.

One of the these trendy trucks is run by Adam Terry, a 31-year-old father who began looking for a way to pursue his passion and provide for his family two years ago.

Today, Terry owns Waffle Love, one of Provo's most successful food trucks. But it wasn't an easy feat. Terry spent many stressful days worrying about his business and his family before he found success.

Terry was a recent graduate of Utah Valley University with a degree in business and working as a banker in January 2012 when his company made cuts. As one of the newest employees, Terry was let go.

"At that point in time, I was married and I had three kids, and we were living in a one-bedroom apartment in Provo by BYU," Terry said.

"I guess you can imagine that as a father you want to be able to take care of your wife and kids, and a one-bedroom apartment is just not good enough. I mean, you can do better, from a father’s standpoint."

So Terry began searching for employment.

"I was desperate, but they say necessity is the mother of invention," Terry said.

"It wasn't just like, 'Oh, I lost my job. Lets go start a waffle truck. … I worked all sorts of different random odd jobs, and I applied to anything and everything. If anybody would offer me a job, I would have taken it. And I did take a lot of weird, random odd jobs just to do whatever I could.

"But then a restaurant that had gone out of business was up for sale. I didn't have any money, but I put together a proposal."

Terry had always enjoyed cooking, and having worked in many restaurants, he knew what was important in building a brand. Terry's proposal for a Belgian waffle shop was denied, but it only fueled his desire.

"After putting that proposal together, I was like, 'This is my passion. I can do this. I am going to do this. … There are no food trucks in Utah County. I'm going to be the first food truck,'" Terry said. "I was determined to do it."

Although Terry was eager to pursue his concept, he knew his wife, Melissa, was hesitant.

"She's one of the greatest pieces of Waffle Love," Terry said. "But she was very opposed to me opening my own business. Things had to happen a certain way for her to really get on board with me starting my business, like losing my job."

One night, Terry's wife expressed her concerns about the truck potentially failing financially. It was then that Terry promised to do everything in his power to make it a success, and he was confident that with time this business could provide for his family.

"From that moment on, she was all in. She designed the truck, the outside, the paint job. And her and my family painted it. And then she's been behind my social and my marketing ever since we started," Terry said.

"It was just so good to be able to say that she was behind me all the way because it didn't matter if I sold 13 or 30 or 200. ... She was all in."

With $5,000 from his wife's grandmother and good credit, Terry began to build Waffle Love. After purchasing a truck for $1,300, he built a commissary kitchen inside. Terry also ordered waffle irons from Belgium and perfected his batter.

At the time, Provo did not have any laws in place for food trucks, so Terry worked with city employees to make his business legal.

"They were so cool in the beginning because they were so open," Terry said. "They were just like, 'We don't have a law about this, but we're going to build one, and while we're building it just make sure you have a business license.’ ”

Waffle Love had its grand opening in July 2012 at the Springville Art City Days' farmers market. Based on sales at the farmers market, Terry determined he would have to sell 100 waffles a day to break even.

"I literally had to sell waffles and then use that money to go buy more ingredients to be able to make more waffles to sell those waffles," Terry said.

The next time Terry tried to sell his waffles was on a regular business day during the week.

"I just went out and parked on Provo Center Street and sold 13 waffles. ... I wasn't able to sell 100 consistently every day for months."

Days went by as Terry found new places to park his truck and tried to sell his waffles, often having the police called on him. But it was during those hard moments that Terry turned to his faith.

"I'm a Christian man," Terry said.

"I believe in Christ. One of the things that helped get me through the toughest times when I was first starting my business was just the statement: 'I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me' (Philippians 4:13). I think I recited that to myself probably a million times."

Now, as he celebrates the second anniversary of Waffle Love, Terry is humbled and grateful for the success he and his family have found.

"When I was first starting, there's no way that I would think, 'Before you reach your two-year anniversary, you're going to have three trucks here in Utah, a store here in Provo, an Arizona truck up and running and be building more trucks for other places.' No way, no way I would have thought that," Terry said.

"I'm just so grateful, it's amazing. It's crazy to think about it like that, actually. Every now and then when I sit back and think about it like that, I'm just amazed, and we feel so blessed."

Find more information about Terry's Waffle Love trucks in Utah County and Salt Lake County, St. George and Arizona on waffleluv.com.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com | Twitter: @Sarah_DNews

Recommended
1. BYUalum
South Jordan, UT,
July 29, 2014

I've never seen this waffle truck around, but I loved this success story! The American Dream is still alive with these guys, no dependence on government food stamps or welfare checks, just a dream, some upstart $$, working as a team, and pure grit (hard work).

"You didn't build that!" Ha! Proved that wrong again!

Congratulations!

2. Floyd Johnson
Broken Arrow, OK,
July 29, 2014

Well done. One of the things he has done well is excellent use of digital advertising. He has a very nice website which looks like it is updated weekly, and a great Facebook page whith frequent updates.

His truck is open 50 hours a week. With all of the other tasks associated with this type of business, is he working 80?

3. andyjaggy
American Fork, UT,
July 29, 2014

People seriously called the police on him? People in this valley need to lighten up, they were probably concerned he was going to lower their property value or something, we are very concerned about that you know. Great success story.

4. Reader
Sandy, UT,
July 29, 2014

Waffle Love waffles are scruptious! We always watch the website to see when a truck will be close to us.

5. rok
Boise, CA,
July 29, 2014

I would have liked to have read in the story about what he did differently to succeed, to go from 13 waffles a day to the 100 he needed in order get by. Was it a certain location or marketing or what? Kind of skipped over that.