Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Austin.
Hi Brian, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Growing up my family was dysfunctional, to say the least. I took an interest in cooking because my grandma would always make something special out of the little ingredients we had. My culinary teacher in High school, Carol Hausler, knew my situation and went out of her way to get me a job at a hotel restaurant. I loved it because it got me out of the house and into a place of structure. I was hired at Silo Elevated Cuisine in 2001 and worked my way up to Sous Chef and then Chef.
I worked closely with the Executive Chef, Gary Boatman and the owner Patrick Richardson in creating specials, hiring, ordering food, and ultimately making sure the kitchen ran smoothly. With years of working at Silo, I developed the training and knowledge that I will forever be grateful for. I had always had a dream of opening up my own business and with the training and skills I learned over the years there, I now felt that I was ready to do so. I didn’t want to be 70 years old and regret not going after my dreams, so as fearful as I was to jump ship, it was time.
I started Doolittle’s very small with two tables and a small grill. I set up in front of any bars that would have me. A good friend, Mark Garza, believed in me and decided to build me my very own hotdog stand. We started to set up in front of apartments, HOAs, and businesses. An opportunity came up to purchase another hotdog stand and decided to have two going out at once. We are now in the process of getting our food truck.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road. Leaving a comfortable job for the unknown was extremely scary. Fear and doubt play a big role in starting a small business. You want to have certainty and security when there is none. One of the biggest struggles was going from a steady paycheck to not knowing if you were going to jobs that week.
Knowing the percentages of small businesses that fail was also something that was in the back of my mind every day.
On top of this food costs, inflation, hiring employees, and learning about the many expenses I didn’t even think were extremely hard. My wife and I had to learn how to do every single thing when it came to opening the business and we are still learning every day.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Doolittle’s Mobile Kitchen & Catering is a Chef-Inspired Gourmet Hotdog Stand. Basically, we are street vendors in Chef coats! We have a three-pronged business including private Chef services, street vending, and catering. Our private Chef Services consist of small intimate dinners for up to 20 guests. Our street vending includes gourmet quarter pound all beef hotdogs with made-from-scratch toppings and lemonade.
Our catering services we serve weddings, anniversaries, business events, etc. What sets us apart from others is Chef has over 20 years of experience in the culinary world which he brings to every single one of his events. We are extremely proud of our quality of food and our culture in the workplace. The reason I serve hotdogs is they represent happiness. Think about the last time you ate a hotdog. It was probably with friends or loved ones at a fun event. This is what we want to create for you.
What do you like and dislike about the city?
The best thing we love about our city is pretty much everything. Everything is here in San Antonio! We have theme parks, beautiful malls, great parks, museums, the Riverwalk, The Pearl, and I could go on. The best thing about our city is the people and the food scene here.
San Antonio is a big city, with a small-town feel, with great people, and amazing food. Since we work outside we are going to have to say what we least like about our city is the heat. We also have the best Mexican restaurants in Texas!