July 5×5 Night
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July 22, 2024 11:59 am

About this idea
Neko Taiyaki started in July of 2023 after 5 years of slowly dreaming, then planning, then building. Sam spent a year in Japan teaching English and fell in love with Japanese culture and food. When he returned to Grand Rapids, he made it his goal to open a food truck and bring people taiyaki. In 2023, we wanted to test the market and see if anyone even cared about what we were making, and to our delight, people LOVE our waffles. Since last summer we have done a handful of events and pop-ups and every event has drawn more of a crowd than the last. Now that we've validated our proof of concept, it's time to grow. We're actively looking for a food truck so that we can have a more regular schedule, vend at larger events, and visit more places around Michigan.
Impact
Our impact is to introduce a new aspect of Japanese cuisine to the people of West Michigan. We're providing a niche treat for foodies, families, and Japan lovers in a way that celebrates and respects Japanese culture, while also providing a unique Michigan twist on this street food.
What I'll do with $5,000
The $5,000 will be used to build out specific aspects of the food truck, mainly the most important part... the taiyaki maker used to cook the waffles. We are looking at purchasing a special maker directly from a manufacturer in Tokyo that supplies authentic taiyaki restaurants in Japan. The cost on that is roughly $3,000. An additional $1,500 will be used for a solar powered battery system for the truck. And the remaining $500 will be put to use immediately while we're still using our tent pop-up to purchase more cooking equipment and signage for our setup.
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