We had the good fortune of connecting with Jean-Louis and Yvette Ledent and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jean-Louis and Yvette, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My wife Yvette and I are originally from Belgium. Food trucks became very trendy and popular about 6 years ago here in Columbia SC so we decided to start our own business because we had the feeling that we had the perfect unique product to be served from a food truck: the famous Belgian Waffles! We wanted to share a little part of our culture and give the people around here the chance to experience what we can find in our hometown, Liege, Belgium,
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We started “The Belgian Waffle Truck” 6 years ago in Columbia SC. We bought an old truck and converted it into a Food Truck. We are very proud of the fact that we actually did about 80% of the job ourselves; cleaning, planning, designing, building… Just as any other businesses, it took a little while before it became profitable. We worked a lot of hours and took our truck all over town to show and promote our product. It was not easy and we were exhausted. With all that work and effort, we started to built a regular customer base. More and more people started talking about “that new truck” in town. Social media found us interesting enough to write articles about our waffles! We became very popular because we kept the authenticity of our product. Our waffles are cooked fresh, to order. People who travelled to Belgium and tasted the waffles there know that they can find the same experience here in Columbia now! And because we want more people to find and taste our waffle not only in Columbia SC, we are now franchising our brand in the form of a “Belgian Waffle Cart”, www.thebelgianwafflecartcompany.com. People can contact us from our Facebook page.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course, it would be hard to do so these days due to Covid 19 but this is what we would do under normal circumstances. First, we would tell them to bring enough sunblock if they visit us during summer! Columbia is a very nice University town. We would definitively show our friends the University Campus and all the University buildings, stopping at the “Horse Shoe”, where students and staff hang out. The Capitol is also a place we would take our friends. The guided tour is very interesting and full of Columbia and South Carolina history. We would visit our friends Sandra and Greg at their very nice coffee shop, “Curiosity Coffee” on North Main Street for a nice espresso or an adult beverage. Columbia also offers a nice range of breweries, our favorite being “Swamp Cabbage Brewery” where Doug and Maria are brewing a nice white IPA beside other varieties. We would show our friends the football stadium, situated closed to the brewery. We would take them to the “International Corridor” area, where they will find all kinds of international cuisines and restaurants. This is where we go for our south of the border grocery shopping or to eat at “Kimchi”, a Korean restaurant. Lake Murray is also a very nice place to visit all year long. We would probably take them to the “5 points” area to listen to an open air concert one night. This is a very nice area with a lot of places to shop, drink or eat. This is where we go for a Pho when we are in the mood for Vietnamese Cuisine. On Saturday morning, we wouldn’t miss the chance to take them to the “Soda City Farmers Market” on Main Street. 3 full blocks of crafts, fresh farm produce, international food trucks, music and entertainment. Columbia Zoo is also a very nice place to visit. It they were to come Holiday Season time, we would take them to the parade of light at “Saluda Shoals Park”.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We wanted to thank the people of Columbia SC for your constant support. We wouldn’t be where we are without you!
Facebook: The Belgian Waffle Truck