If you shop at the Gilbert Farmers Market on Saturdays, you're most likely familiar with the Morning Kick food truck and its famous breakfast burritos. The husband-and-wife team, Scott and Mindy Waldron, have been at the food truck business for the past three years.
Neither of them had any formal training. Her background is in teaching, marketing, and graphic design; his is in sales and catering. So why a food truck? Inspiration came from their 2-year-old son, a famously picky eater. One time, Scott’s mom made a casserole dish that became the only food the little one would eat.
“We made this dish so many times we joked about selling it,” Mindy says. That's when they first looked into food trucks. Scott’s grandfather found one in Tucson, brought it to Phoenix, and fixed it. Thus was born their foray into the world of serving food.
The couple made casseroles in a commercial kitchen and sold them at events. The dish also became their entrance into the Gilbert Farmers Market. One of the items they offered was casserole wrapped in a tortilla — a breakfast casserole.
As the business grew, so did the need for more space and a bigger truck. With the bigger truck came the idea of all-day breakfast burritos. Since there weren’t too many first-meal trucks out in the far east Valley, Morning Kick filled a need. Mindy says, “We wrote a burrito menu and it just took off.”
The casserole burritos are no more, but other choices have emerged. The most popular is the Cowboy Burrito, a 14-inch tortilla packed to the brim with crispy applewood-smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, and jack cheese. What’s more, all the burritos have a special addition: crunchy tater tots. In fact, the tater tots are what set Morning Kick’s burritos apart. There are add-on options as well. The salsa is made in-house daily with fresh ingredients. The coffee is from Peixoto, a crop-to-cup coffee roaster local to Chandler.
With increased popularity, Morning Kick was ready for another expansion. The couple considered a second food truck, which proved difficult to manage. Instead, they chose brick and mortar. “It had to be in Gilbert because that's our town,” Mindy says. They found the ideal spot on Chandler Heights Road, expanded the menu, hired extra people, and went to work. Morning Kick Breakfast & Cold Brew opened in January 2020.
You've probably been expecting this next part.
Just as the business started to blossom, Morning Kick had to close its doors because of COVID-19-imposed limitations.
To stay afloat, the owners scaled back hours, let go of some of their employees, continued catering, and started cooking out of the truck again — right next to the new restaurant. “The hardest part,” Mindy says (there’s a long pause, followed by an exhale), “is having to cut it down so much. This is not just about us. We have people whose livelihoods depend on us.” She’s applied for the Paycheck Protection Program but hasn't heard anything back. “I’m worried if we might have missed the deadline,” she says.
Once, the two divided their forces between the truck and the restaurant. Now, Mindy stays home with the kids because of lack of childcare and Scott manages the truck. “We always have an owner on-site," Mindy says. "We are about consistency, customer service, and good quality food that's always fresh, made to order."
The Waldrons' commitment to the community remains strong. In fact, they instituted a burrito-for-burrito program in April, where they matched people’s donations up to $200 and delivered burritos to front-line workers. Chandler Regional Hospital received 40 Morning Kick burritos.
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It's now been announced restaurants can resume on-site dining on May 11. But according to Mindy and Scott, reopening is much more difficult than people imagine. To follow social distancing regulations, yet keep the current prices, they have to downsize. More distance means fewer tables.
For now, customers may place to-go orders online, by email, or phone. Additional cashflow comes from tips, gift cards, and hiring the business for catering.
“We want people to know that we are still here for the community, trying to keep the momentum going," Mindy says. "And we would love your help."
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version.