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Exploring Life & Business with Kyle Hollenbeck of Aioli Gourmet Burgers, Modern Tortilla, Oakwood Fire Pizza, and BlT Kitchens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle Hollenbeck. 

Hi Kyle, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
We started out with one food truck 8 years ago. We have grown it into four restaurant locations, 10 food trucks, two commercial Kitchens (Another on the way), and a full catering company. It has not always been easy from food trucks breaking down, employees quitting on you, or dealing with a pandemic but we have always managed to get it figured out. When we started this business, we just wanted to bring gourmet burgers to people off a food truck. We are now working towards creating shared kitchens to allow other small business owners grow and start their dreams. We rent to over 50 vendors and with the addition of the new Kitchen we believe we will more than double that by the end of 2022! 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
When dealing with any business that becomes a success there is always going to be bumps in the road. The problem with our business is the bumps might put your food truck out of commission or keep you from getting to an event at all. We have towed our food trucks to people’s wedding to just to make sure we got people fed. We once had a generator catch on fire at an event and we literally sent burgers from our restaurants and pizza from a delivery place to make sure the people still were fed just to make sure no one went hungry. In moments like those, you do not think about your business or the loss of revenue or potential future business from the client. All you are focusing on is getting the people fed and the safety of your staff. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Aioli Gourmet Burgers, Modern Tortilla, Oakwood Fire Pizza, and BlT Kitchens?
We started out as a food truck business and branched off into multiple concepts. We then grew our catering company and needed a place to get all this done (the back of the 1800 sq ft restaurant was not cutting it anymore). We bought a large commercial kitchen and it went from us having a space to grow our business to allow others to grow as well. We have won several culinary awards (Best of Phoenix, Phoenix New Times, Placed in World Food Championship, Business Partner Winning Chopped, Arizona Restaurant Association, Slider Throw Down, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and more) but I think we are most proud of the what we have done during this pandemic. Feeding First Responders, Not letting any staff go to being slow, giving small business owners a chance to grow their businesses, and everything we have done since the start of the pandemic. 

What matters most to you? Why?
Keeping our employees employed. What this pandemic has show taught us is that our employees can be resilient and the ones who have stuck through it with us are more like family. If we can make it through these last two years, I do not see anything stopping us. 

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