Ronan Guilloux of Captain Crêpes used to be an engineer. After two years as an engineer, he quit his job and decided to follow his passion for cooking. He started at a cooking class in Paris while working part-time in a traditional French restaurant called L’Assiette. After completing his degree, he worked in a creperie and a waffle café in Paris and Fukuoka, Japan. “When I moved to New Zealand, I took it as a chance to experiment being my own boss and a crêpes-based food truck seemed like a good idea,” said Guilloux. Now, Guilloux runs not only a food truck but a bricks-and-mortar café, too.
In addition to Guilloux, he has enlisted the help of some of his old friends. “We are three business partners: Adeline, who looks after the events booking, the marketing and branding and the business development, Alix, who is our financial director, and keep us on tracks, and myself the chef and day to day manager.” Sometimes, as needed, Guilloux will also hire help depending on the event.
Guilloux believes that the flexibility of his products helps to create a unique point of difference. Selling both sweet crêpes and galettes, a savoury, buck-wheat version of a crêpe, Guilloux can alter the ingredients per the customers’ request. He said that with this range, he could cater to almost any customer, at nearly any time of the day.
As his product offers flexibility, so too does the food truck itself. “With a food truck, you can go where the crow is. With a bricks-and-mortar place, you can just do your best to drive people in.” Being a man with a finger in both pies, Guilloux says that ultimately he would like to be able to get the best out of both the food truck and the bricks-and-mortar store.
Guilloux noted his appreciation for the Auckland Food Truck Collective. He said that it is a great community that supports each other and are always willing to help other vendors out. Additionally, he said that the Food Truck Collective organise events, so people are regularly able to find gigs through the Collective.
The food truck life suits Guilloux because he can be his own boss. Although it can be tough, he said, it is also very gratifying. “I may not have to answer to a superior, but it places me at the ‘responsibility frontline’, including hiring and managing staff, and it isn’t always easy.”
Across the food truck scene, Guilloux noted that people are becoming increasingly focussed on generous and healthy food. He said that while the classics like burgers and fried chicken wouldn’t go away, if someone comes into the market and can cater for people that are mindful about their diet, that vendor will have success.
Currently, Guilloux is working hard to ensure that the café is sustainable. “I would love to establish a brand that would be a classic for Aucklanders. Two brick-and-mortar stores, and the truck that could keep driving around as a flagship would be ideal.”