A food truck operator in Little Rock is so bullish on Bentonville that he’s relocating the business — and himself — to the city.
Hayne Begley says Delta Biscuit Co. will open Saturday (April 9) at 900 S. Main St., across from Thaden School. Acai food truck Sambazon most recently occupied the site.
Begley’s mobile food truck opened in November 2019 and serves biscuit-centric breakfast and brunch fare at events throughout central Arkansas. He told the Business Journal he didn’t take the decision lightly to pull up stakes for Northwest Arkansas. He said it’s in the business’ best interests.
“We had an amazing first year [in 2019] and were full-on busy as we could be going into , and then COVID hit,” he said. “We survived and feel fortunate because so many didn’t. Little Rock supported us, and we made it through. But at some point, you look at the reality of the situation. Outside of big events, the Little Rock market was down significantly over its [pre-COVID] activity. And for various reasons, it was challenging to find a permanent spot in the mornings.”
Begley, 40, said he’s partnered with Northwest Arkansas businesses Airship Coffee, Hawk Moth Brewery & Beer Parlor and Wright’s Barbecue for pop-up events in the past. Once he started seriously considering relocating, he found plenty of support for the concept.
“We’ve got wheels, so at the very least, we can come back [to Little Rock],” he joked. “There’s no harm in trying. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Northwest Arkansas and have friends there. And I love it. I enjoy being outdoors and mountain biking and all the other great things going on up there. And I’m in a position where I don’t have a family or kids, so that made a move fairly easy in that sense.”
Begley is a native Arkansan who grew up in Bald Knob (White County) and graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. He worked in various restaurant business operations before getting serious about starting his business in 2016.
Begley said he has another restaurant concept he’s launching this summer in Northwest Arkansas but wasn’t ready to discuss those details. He said his long-term goal is to make Delta Biscuit Co. a regional operation with multiple locations in Arkansas. That may include brick-and-mortar stores. And even a return to Little Rock.
“I love the idea of creating an Arkansas-based concept that you have to come to Arkansas to get,” he said. “When I travel, I’m always looking for something great and something local [to eat] that represents the city. We can all go to Cracker Barrel or Waffle House, but I’d rather [eat] something local.”
The entrepreneur explained how Delta Biscuit Co. can become a sustainable business.
“I have cooked on lines before where you make $12 or $13 bucks an hour, and that’s not sustainable,” Begley said. “How do we do this, so the ones who are putting in time and effort and really making this happen have an ownership stake? That’s kind of where we are — growing the business to a point where if you enjoy working here and like what we’re doing, you deserve a part in it. It’s not for me. It’s for every single person who works for the company. It can change their life, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.”
Including Begley, Delta Biscuit Co. has two employees. That person is moving to Bentonville, too, so the business philosophy must resonate.
Begley said 98% of Delta Biscuit Co.’s menu is homemade or sourced with local ingredients. That will continue in Northwest Arkansas.
After this weekend, Begley said he’ll make needed adjustments to determine the food truck’s operating hours moving forward.
“Probably [be open] four days the next week, and then four to five days a week to start,” he said. “We’d love to be open six days a week.”
You can keep up with Delta Biscuit’s opening plans in downtown Bentonville, and find a menu, on its Facebook page.