P.J. Fiske on His First 365 Days Operating a Kona Ice Truck | FTE Episode 033

In today’s episode P.J. Fiske from Kona Ice in South Minneapolis joins me on the other end of the microphone and shares insights from his first 365 days of being in business. Fiske’s story is a bit different than any previous guest of the program in that he leveraged the franchise model to create his business and explains the reasons why this was the right choice for his situation.

Additionally, Fiske was very gracious articulating his experience operating a successful business thus far sharing how he’s approached the challenge of operating business that sells shaved ice in a seasonally cold environment like Minnesota and explains his step-by-step system for identifying causes or non-profits that need additional funding. This is a terrific opportunity for more food trucks and creates a lot of “win-win” situations, which is what it’s all about at the end of the day.

In addition to the featured interview, I answer listener emails and play the first message on my voicemail hotline live on the show. All this and more in episode 32 of the Food Truck Empire podcast. Also, if you could leave me an iTunes review it would be greatly appreciated and help me spread the word for FoodTruckEmpire.com.

Quotes from the Show

serving shaved ice

Everybody needs money and everybody needs joy. And I think we give both. – P.J. Fiske on one of the reasons he chose Kona Ice.
My conversation is usually very brief and it’s usually: Where do I park? And who do I make the check out to? – P.J. Fiske on the process of pitching non-profit organizations that would like additional funding. 

What You’ll Learn

  • Ideas on making a shaved ice business more profitable in winter months
  • How researching opportunities at 2 a.m. on the internet led Fiske to discovering his current business.
  • How Fiske generates revenue for his business and helps community initiatives through charity events
  • Different ways a mobile food business can identify charity events to sponsor. Just one example that Fiske shared was keeping your eyes open for organizations doing charity car washes and other events. Writing down the names of those groups and finding a contact person to pitch a partnership.
  • Why the ability to hustle is critical in the first year of operating this business.
  • The reasons Fiske decided to become a Kona Ice franchisee, including a clear structure for operating the business and an identifiable brand / truck
  • Why Fiske considers his business to be an “event truck”
  • How Kona has been able to donate over $12 million nationally to worthy causes and charities
  • Fiske’s experience working with other franchisee’s in the area
  • The revenue split possible for trucks and charities

Mentioned During the Podcast

Kona Ice of South Minneapolis – The official Facebook page for P.J. Fiske’s business. Like his page and follow where he’ll be next in the Twin Cities area. You can follow the Kona truck on Twitter as well.

Kona Ice – This is the official corporate website. Find out if there’s a Kona truck in your area here.

Kona Ice Franchise Site – Get more details on owning a Kona truck here. (FYI: FoodTruckEmpire.com has no relationship with this company. This is here for informational purposes.)

Twin Cities Street Food – P.J. gave a shout out to this Twitter profile that regularly posts menus and location updates for local food trucks. Follow if you live anywhere near the Twin Cities.

Truckily – This is a free app that P.J. recommends signing up for. This app allows food truck owners to post their menus, prices, and location. It also enables hard core foodies to more easily track your location. I’ll be checking out this app in the near future and reporting back.

Twin Cities Pride – A huge event here in the Twin Cities that Kona Ice was part of.

Need an Insurance Quote? – Complete the 4-minute form and find out if you’re paying too much for truck insurance or if you don’t have the appropriate coverage for your business.

Kogi BBQ – Listener Michael is hoping to get an interview with Kogi BBQ for a school project and wanted my thoughts on the idea.

Voicemail – Call 206-309-4660 … Yes, I have the number up and it’s working correctly this time. Give me a call, leave a message and get featured on the show. It’s that easy. Thanks to Jim from Wisconsin for being the first caller!

  • St. Hahn

    I’ve got a Used Kona-Ice truck for sale. My son can no longer operate it and I cannot either. The new truck plus franchise fee is over $120,000. Why not reduce your startup costs by buying a ‘Used’ truck for around $75,000 with $5000 of startup supplies? If you have a truck you can take it anywhere in the USA, register it with Kona-Ice in an open territory, and you are up an running for $55,000 less in startup costs. Kona-Ice Reno LLC is where you go for information. Send me a note. You do not have to operate it in Reno but you can! I wish I had known this before I bought a new truck for $87160 plus $15000 in 2014.

    • Rebecca Waddell

      I’m very interested in your offer. Do you still have the truck for salt?

    • glenn fasullo

      Is your kona ice truck still available?

    • Kent

      I’m interested in possibly buying a used Kona Ice truck

    • Ryan Behnke

      Hi. Did you sell your Kona truck?

  • Rebecca Waddell

    I’m interested in purchasing a used Kona Ice truck. Does anyone have one for sale?